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F R A N C E', S P AIN..,;^ P O R T-U G A L ,


'•/ / )
^ '.Collector-s Office, December 10^ 1852.. .
; S I R i ' I . transmit herewith a report on the fisheries, by Lorenzo
Sabine, esq., which he has prepared for the department;
l a m , sir, Very respectfulty, your obedient servant,
. ~
P . GREELY, Jr.,
. .:


Secretary of the Treasury,. Washington, D . C.

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' .
'FuAMmGrYiAM, December 6, 1852.
S I R : I submit herewith the report which I have prepared, in ac- cordance''with your instructions of the 2d of February last.
Mpre than twenty years have elapsed since I formed the design of
writing a work on the American fisheries, and. commenced collecting
materials for the." purpose. My intention embraced the whale fishery
of our flag in distant seas; the fisheries of pur own coas.ts, lakes, and
rivers, as,;,weU- as those which we prosecute within-'British jurisdibtibn,
under treaty stipulations ; and the' fisheries pf the Indian tribes within
the limits/of the United .States.. That a part of my plan has now
been executed,'is owing entirely to the interest and zeal which yoii'
have manifested in the undertaking^
Our first interview upon the subject was caused by a cpmmunication
to you from the Treasury Department, in which the Secretaiy conA
veyed a request that a report of liniited'^size should be furnished from
your Own: office. During our conversatibn, you expressed a desire to
look over my collection of documents and statcrpapers,- and they were
accordingly deposited with you for pxatnination. On returning them
to me, yoii were pleased .to give a favorable opinion of their value, and
to say that you would at once suggest and recbmrnend to Mr.CorvvJii
the expediency of employing me to ^ write a paper' somew^hat more,
elaborate than he had contemplated.
• ' B •"•

S. Boc. 22.,


Subsequently, you announced to me that the Secretary promptly
adopted your views, and submitted the whole matter to 3^our discretion.
I undertook the task with all my heart, and with' a determination to
complete it, if possible, in a manner to meet the expectations of the
department and of yourself. finished.v Whatever the judgment
pronounced upon it, I have still to express my grateful acknowledgments to Mr. Corwiri for the kifidness whieh has allowed the,partial
gratification of a rong-cherisfaed wish, and to ybu.for the briginal suggestion, for your countenance, your sympathy, and your personal superyision..



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If I may venture to hope that, as''the result of my labors, an import-*
ant branch of natiohallndustiy will hereafter be better understood.and
appreciated, by such.ofoiir countrymen as have never devoted particular attention to its histbry, I ih.ay ryehture to repeat that all coiiimendation rightfully belongs to ypu.^
, ' Nor would I forget that• my-thaiiks aire also.due'tp William A. Wellman, esq., your principal deputy collector, who, at our second interview, geherously relinquished,his own favorite plan of wilting a report
upon our cod and mackerel fisheries, and' expressed a decided wish
that the duty should be transferred to me,' as w e i r as his readiness to
afibrd me all possible aid. His knowledge, a;nd experience have beefis'
of material assistance. I aiii indebted^ to him for importaBt facts which
were to be obtained of no .'other persbn, for informatipn .w^hich has corrected my views and .opinions in several particulars, and for^ statistical matter of great'value.
/ . . ^^
I have the hbnbr to bej "^sii", your obedient servaBt,.'
^' • '
' •• .; •-",. • ,'•' .•
P H I L I P G R E E L Y , Jr.,


Collector of the Customs port of Boston and Cliarlestown.

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"'' T h e French were the first European cod-fishbrs in t h e Anierica;r^,
seas. There is a tradition aniong the fishermeh: of Bis.eay that their
ebuntrymen visited Newfoundlani before the time of Columbus. It is'
said,Indeed, that the, great diseoverer was informed of the fact by a
pilot who had been engaged in the enterprises. The story, im probable
a s i t is, seems tp haye been treated ;with respect by some writers of the
sixteenth century, but may be dismissed now. as one whiGh'Tests upois
no cle^r and authentic: testiirioifiy,
: But that the Newfoundland jfisheries were known to the Biseayaiis
and Normans as early as the year 1504, is quite certain. , Whek
Cabot discovered our coiitinent, Europe, including England, was Catholic |. and during the fasts of the churphj the -pickled herring of Holland
was the principal food. ' T.he cprisiiiBptioR of fish was immense;* aiid
; * pocuuients which show the, immense consiunptibn of fish are to be rhet with;by t f e
Students "of History e.very\vh€Jrie.^ The •foliowkig'.ikcideiiis,-,^elected frosi a numl>e"rj jyiil•fikSS.
dently illustrate the statement in the; text.? :
'' ^
• . ' :

a Doc, 22.


the Dutch,-having enjoyed the mpnopoh'' of the supply, had become
inime:nse!y rich. The knowledge cPminunicated by Cabot and the.
voyagers who followed hini, that the. waters of America contained, not
only an abundance, but :niany varieties pf fish, gave rise to an excitement OB the subject of fishing ha.rdly less intense than is, witnessed; atthe present time relative to mining. Persons of the highest rank, OIM^;
not engaged in commercial pursuits, became shareholders in adventures,
to the new fishing-grounds. -And: though t h e Dutch refused to abandon
the particular fishery by which theyohad obtained both wealth and .celebrity, yess'els wearing ;the flags, of-^France, England, Spain, and
Pprtugal canie annually in' search of the cod-^—as:we shall, see—-for
nearly a century before a. sirigle. European colony was fouiided iu
America, north, of the ancient hmits bf t h e United States. '
Of the incidents "of the French fishing vpyage of 1504 I-have, npt
beeo^able to .find any account; but there, is meiition, four 5^ears, latey,:
®f Thomas^ Aubert, who came from' Dieppe to Newfoundland, and:
,who,.preyipus to his- return, explored the river ;St. Lawrence. , W e
^learn, further, that the fishery-increased rapidly, and that,^ in 1517,
.quite'fifty ships of' different nations were-emplQyed in it. .' ;
/ The flag of France was probably the most numerpus, since, in 1527,
an Englisfi captain at Newfoundland wrote to his sovereign, Henry
, y i l l , that in the harbor of St. .John alone he found fishing: eleven, sail
of Normab and one Breton. . .Francis 1, at.this period,.was; engrossed•
by a .passionate and unsucces.siFul rivalry^ with Cha:rles V of Spain^
, aiiid could hardly attend tovso humble an Interests, '^But Chabot, a;9miral of France, acquainted by his office .with the fishermen, OH
whose vessels he' levied some small exactions- for 'his private emol^- silent, interested F^aifcis:in the-, design pf exploring'and colonizing, the
-iiew world." Jacques Cartier,* of St. Malo; who was considered.the
best'seaman of his day, was accprdingly iiitriisted with the' cbiiimand
af an expedition in 1534v '
The Fi'ench'.appear to have had establishments o.n shore, for th,e
" The bill of fare ofthe feast, given on the marriage of Henry IV to his Q^ieen =JpaQ, of
;Navarr0,. at Winchester, in 1403, 'is yet in existence. Written on parchment,' remarks a~
<3hronicler of euiibus things of vth'e olden time;' and the banquet consisted of six courses—three.
of stud fowl, and f/tree' o f Jish, In the ^first,course of Fyslie/ were ' Salty fyslie,\ an^
^.Breme samioun rostyd-' .' Of:the comforts of t\k(3poor,' 16th century, says an English, journal,
-'* we may form a tolerably correct notion from the iuxunes registered in the household book
of the great: Eaii-of.Nbrthuinberland.' .'From, this document it appears that, in one of -th©
mo.s;t noble and splendid establisliments of the kingdom, tlie^ retainers and servants had- but
spare and jjnVholsoniediet—salt-beef, mutton,' arid Jish three-fourths of :the year, with" little ojo
ao vegetables; so.that,a«; Hume says,, 'there cannot be- anything more/erroneous, than -the
magnificent'^Ideas formed of l/te roast beef of old England.' Nor does it; seem that' my lord
-smdlady' themselves fared much better than their 'retainers,'''since for their- breakfast th^y.
had ' a quart of beer, as,much wine, tioo pieces of.saltfisk, six red herrings, four irMte'ones, ar/d
d dish of sprats.' ;"InEngland,:in.the sanie. century; 'the .first dish brought to table on Easter
day was are</. herring riding away on horseback;' that, is, it was, the-cook's,duty to set this
fish'in corn saHad,'and make it look like a man ridmg on a horse.''-- "'
* Jacques Cartier was a native of St. Malo: "Francis I sent 'hin^i on his first voyage in 153^^Me made ai second voyage iii 1535; and, wheri.ready to.depart from France, he went, to the
cathedral^ with liis whole company, to receive the bishop's benediction. J\iany of his comn
|>amons:were yoiing inen of distihction-. He came to the;French possessions in America a
:third time in 1540, as pilot; and in command of-, five ships, under Fraiicois de la Ro'que, lord of
Soberval,:\yho, comnaissioned as governor of Canada, .was intrusted ..-with the supreme
iihoritj- ^ Cartier published [m acdomit of Cajiad^ after -his ^secon,d voyage.


S. Doc. 22.

purposes of the fisheiy, in 1540; but we have no certain information
with regard to them. In 1577 the}^ employed no less than one hundred
and fifty vessels, and prosecuted the business with gieat vigorv-and
Success.' After the: accession" of Henry IV-—the first of the Bourbons'—and. under the auspices of his illustriousiiiinlster, Sulfy, the Newfoundland cod-fishery was; placed under, the protection of ihe go^^erament.:' _
'"~ • - ' • • '
' . ..r
, , ' • , . - ; 1609,.so constant and regular was.intercourse with pur
fishing-grounds that Sc ay ale t,, an old fisherman,- had. - made forty
voyages. • •
" --- •'.
• • . - • . , - ' • . .
Without statistics in the,early part of the seventeenth century, we
only know, generally, that there;was a material.decline in -Ihis distant
branbh of, industry, caused, possibly, by,the-civil commotions at home.
But in the year 1645, though the number of yessels employed was fifty
less .than in 157.7,. the fishermen of France were deemed by English
writers to^be formidable rivals;of their own.- • Disputes and. bloodshed
had then occurred—precursors of long and distressing wars'for the
mastery of the fishing-grounds. ' —
• .
, .Meantime the successes, the.'explorations, .and the representations'
of the'hardy adventurers to our waters'for .aii'article of food for-the
fast-days of the cliurch h'a^d led to the most important pohtical results.
The limits of this report do not permit minute statements; and^ I w i l l
only remark that,-when-Cartier—already'referred to-—made his first
voyage, the design ofthe French monarch was merely to found a:, sin gle
colony in the neighborhood: of the fishing-banks,, but that the Information of the countiy:communicated t o Francis pn the riavigator's return,:
cpnfirming, as it did the descrip'tions of the.fishermen of Normaiidy"
and Britta-ny^ induced a more extended- plan, and the ppssession, for
permanent colonization, of thevastreglPhfi-oni; which,, afier the voyages;:
and discoveries of Poritgrave, of Champlain, and pthers, were .formed
the colonies of Canada and Nova Scotiaj and, in due time, CapeBreton.
Thus it is historically true that Frarice was., directly indebted "to^/her
fisheries:for her possessions in America.^ .•'.•:,'• ..
The right to these possessions was soon disputed.' In ari age when.
kings claiiiied,.each for himself, all. the "lands and seas that his subjects
saw. Pr. sailed 'over, and when:-charters ,and grants were framed IB
perfect-ignorance of the domains which,, they transferred, ^ almost in
levlt}?-, to. fayorites, it could not but sometimes happen that the subjects
of different crowris. received patents of .precisely the same tracts of
country, and that, on fines where Frerich arid Englisli: grants, riiet,- the
boundaries, y^^e'respva-guely and uncertainly described as to produce
long and bitter contentions., v;
-'^ . - " . " ; ^
• : '
.Such, indeed,- yvas, the .case to an ^extent^to disturb the peace of the
Golonists of Arnerica.for more than a centuiy. : As most of the'contrb-.'
yersiesirorii^this source are connected with our subject, a notice of .theni.
is indispensable.;/
; ' ':./'•[' "
'• •
' The first difficulties occurred in;the cpuntry known fpr a long time
as. "Acadia,;', which may be described, generally, as embracirig t h e
whole of tlie present colonies of,.Nbva Scotia-and. New .Brunswick,,and
Maine, betw'een.thp .Keripebec "arid^tlip St: Croix riyers: :It is sufficiently definite for bur purpose 'to -say that this immense territory-was

S. Doc. 22.


claimed by both crowris, and that the subjects'of both—the one resting'
on the Enghsh grant to Sir Wilham Alexander, and the other on the'
French patent to De Monts—settled upon it, and fished, in its seas, as .
inclination led them.
, ,
: The treaty of vSt. Germains, In 1632, hushed for awhile the earlier
'disputes, since Charles I, who-had married a Frerich" princess, re-.
signed by that Instrument all'the places in Canada,' Nova' Scotia, andCape Bretoiioccupied by persons who owed allegiance to.him; yet, as
the English pepple condemned-the cession, and as neither lines nor
limits were defiried, new contentions arose,' which,., as we shall see,
were terminated ority with the extinction of French power iri this hemisphere. In fact,:. historians of acknowledged authority. consider the .
treaty, of St. Germains as'arriong.the prominent causes pf the American
Revplution, Inasmuch as the disputes tp which it gave rise disturbed,:
. finall}^ the' relations between England and her thirteen
' Twent3Hwo years elapsed, and' Cromwell, in. a time rof profound,
peace with France,: tbok forcible .possession of .Nova, Scbtia, claiming
tliat its cession by Charles was fraudulent.|* He erected it into a: coloriy,
arid orgariized a government.' It was, considered highly valuable, and
Englishrnen'of r a n k a s p r i e d t o Kecome its propiiet airy lords from the
-moment of .its acquisitiori.
.• '
• ,.. ; .
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. Th.e.Frerich.cour'tremonsb'.ated, without changing the purpose.of the
protector:. But, after the restoratipn-of the Stuarts, and-by the treaty^
of Breda, -in 1667, this coloriy passed a^second time to France.*- Though •
St. John, Port Royal, L a Heve, Cape Sable, as well as Pentagaet or
Penobscot, were specially.named in the cessibn, the general bounda..ries were'not, mentioned, and the soil and the fishing-gi^ounds were
again the- scenes, of collisions, reprisals, and fierce quarrels. A Aird
ti^eaty—that'of London—in 1686,-' confirmed the' two .powers In the.
possessio:n of the-.American cplonies respectively held at the commericement of hostilities., but left the extent .and limits-: of all as unsettled as, before.
^ . ^ :•
' ' • ; .-. .
.' • .
Sagacious men in N e w Erigland had now .seen for 57'ears that the ex-'
pulsion of the French Xy as, the only measure that w.ould' secure peace
in the .prosecution -of the fisheries, .and they endeavored to erilistthe
sympathy and co-operation of the.mother'country. The war'between
France and England, -which followed the ;accession pf .William and
Mary w^as no sooner •proclaimed at .Boston' than the ^general court of
* Edward Kandolph, the first collector ofthe customs of Bostonjin a Narrative to the Lords
of Trade and Plantations, in 1676,'says that " The French, upon the last treaty of peace concluded between the two- crowns of England and Fi'anCe, had Nova Scotia, now called Acadie,
delivered up to them^to the great discontent and murmuring of the government of Boston,
tliat his Majestie, without their, knowledge or consent, .should; p a r t with a place so profitable
to them, from whence they drew great quantities .of .beaver and otherpeltry, besides the fishing
for cod. Neveiiheless;"-lie adds, "the people of Boston have continued a private trade with
the French and Indians inhabiting;those parts -for beaver skins and other commodities,-and
have openly kept upon the .said coasts." ' '~''•.'••.
He says further, tha;fc:''Monsieur:La Bourn j goveniorvfor. the French king there, up'on pretence.of some affronts and injuries ofiered him by .the government of Boston, did strictlx
iiihibit the iuhabitants any trade "-syith the .'English, and moreover layd in imposition of, lour
hundred codfish upon every vessel that should fishupon the coasts, and such, as refused had' their fish and provisions seized on and taken away." By the " Boston goyernment," Randolpis: means the government of Massachusetts.

186 ,'


S; Doc; 22.

Massachusetts commenced preparations for the conquest of Nova Scotia
and Canada. Sir William Phips, who was born and bred aniong the
fishermen of Maine, was intrusted with the command of ari expedition
against both. ^ He reduced the first,.and established a gbvernment; b u t
his enterprise in the St. Lawrence was disastrous. It is of interest to
•add, that, the first'paper nioney emitted in America \yas issued by
Massachusetts to defray the expenses of these military ^operations.
At the peace of Ryswick,^ in 1697, it was stipulated that mutual.restitution should be made of all conquests duririg the war ; and, much to
the dissatisfaction of the English colonists. Nova Scotia returned onqe.
more to the undisputed possession .of the French. The strife'in"America: had been avowedly fbr the- fisheries, and for, territory north and
west;'arid' this treaty, which, with the" ekception of the eastern half
of Newfouridlandj secured to France, the whole coasts,'the islands, arid
the fishing-grounds from Maine to, beyorid vLabrador and Hudson's
Bay,, besides Ca:nada aridfthe valley of the Mississippi, was regarded
as dishonorable to. England and-want only injurious to colonial industry
and peace-. , - ; " / ' • ' ' - ' ' • • " • ' '
,-. '
:.". '
•- '•
The evil consequences of the; treaty of RyswickVere soon manifest;
A year had.riot'elapsed before-the. French' government pro'mulgated a
claim to the'sole ownership . of the fis.heries.>. In 1698," a frigate:bou'nd
from France to Nova , Scotia furnished the master of a Massachusetts
vessel with a translated' order frpm the-kirig, which authorized the
seizure, of all^vessels not of the French flag that should be found
fishing on the coast. . General publicity of the order followed, and its
executipn'was rigidly enforced.. Bonaventure, in the ship-of-war Envlux,.
boarded arid,sent home eyery Eiiglish 'Colonial vessel t h a t appeared, on
• his cruising-ground ; • while Villabbri, governor of Nova * Scotia,^ in an.
official despatch to:the executive' of;Hassacliusetts, declared that in-^
structioris from ihissroyal master demanded of him the seizure of eveiy
American fisherman that ventured, east of: ihe Kennebeck I'ive?:, in Maine.
The claim was monstrous.. If I.^understandits extent, the only fisheries
which were to be^ open and free- to vessels of tlie English flag were
those westerly from the Kennebeck to Cape Cod, and those of the. westy
ern half bf Newfouridland. It seems riever to have occurred -to a single
French state.s man that the ^supply of fish in.bur seas is-inexhaustible;,
and that, .feserving certain'and sufficient co,asts for the exclusiye use of
their own :pedple, other coasts might have'been secured to their'rivals,.;
without injury to any, and with advantage tb all.. : In fact, evidence that
such a plari wassuggested by our fathers, or bythe; ministry *'at hbme,'"'
does not,;I.think, exist. On both.'sides.the strife was for,the monopoly
arid-fbr the mastery.
,-. .
• Richard, Earl Bellamont, arrived in Bcston in 1699,* and,-having
assumed the- administration of affairs "in 'Massachusetts, pointedly ;re"ferred. to these pretensionsrin.k' speech to. the general court, and to the'
execrable treachery of the Stuart who .had parted last with Nova
* It was a new^.thing to see a.nobleman at the: head of the goverriment of ^Massachusetts,
and he; wds received'with the - greatest :respect: " Tvventy companies of soldiers, arid a vaat
QOncourse of people inet his lordship and the countess, and .there was; firework and good
^mk'all mght." He. die<l in New York in. 1701.; He'was an enemy of the Stuarts. , • ,

S;,Doc. 22.


Scotia and * the noble fishery on its coast." But his Jordship could
afford no redress.
. In the first year of the reign of Queen Anne, the two nations were
again involved in war. Among its causes was the claim of Fra:nce to a
. part of Maine and to the whole of the fishing-grourids. iTlie people of=
New England,: driveri from the Acadian seas by the conimon enerriy,
needed no solicitation frPm.the mother country to engage, heartily in the
contest.. Ori the other hand, erriploying ."armed, vessels'of their own,
they were hardly restrained, in their zeal and success, fi'om hangirig,
.as common pirates some of'.the French officers who had been the instruments of interrupting their pursuits in the forbidden waters.:•/ Nor was this all.. ' They attempted the conquest of Nova Scotia, and,
equlpplsd a fleet cit. Bostori. The\enterprise failed. Promised ships,
from-^Erigland three years later, but-disappointed, a second expedition
failed also* '•".^" ..'.-:,:/ .'••.''-'-.: ^ • : ; ' .•,'•••'•-.:"••. •;.- - • ' ,
•At last,-in 1710, Noya Scotia became an. English cplony; 'Its reduction was a duty assumed -by the rriinistry,vwhile, in truth, if wa:s accomplished principally by colonists and colbnial resources./ Of the lorce
assembled at Boston,: six ships arid a corps ,of marines.were,-.indeed,
serit from .Englaiid;. but the ; r.eiriainder, thirty' vessels arid four regimentjs, were furnished ,hy the, -four' riortherri colonies.- Strarigelt was
that Anne, the last of her family who occupied the throne, should have
permanently annexed to ,the English crown the^c^lony a.nd the "noble
fishery.-'- which :all bf her line had sported with so freely and so disasr
..- '. • . • ; ;. ...'; •' • •-"•':_
•: ' .
.:-1 have barely glanced at'events^which occupy hundreds of pages of
documentary andYWTitten history. ., Whoever has examiried the trans-,
actions thus briefly noticed has ceased to wonder that the. vStuarts were
so pdious in New England. I know of npthing riiore disgraceful to ttiein,
.either as rulers or as private gentlemen,.than, their dealings with Sir
; William Alexander, their :owii original, gra.ritee of Nova Scotia, with
the claimants under-Jiim, and with.their subjects in America, who "bled,
veigri-after reign,, and throughout their feigns,, to rjd, themselves of the
calamities entailed, upon-them by. the treaty of St. Gpr'mains, and who,
in the adjustment,' of European questions, .were, defrauded of the fruits
of their exertjoris and sacrifices by the stipulations 4n the treaties of
Breda of, Loridonjvaiid Ryswick. : ' ; , . - • : ' . ;
;' •
The conquest of one,French colony achieved, the^ ministry, yielding
to importunities frpm-America, projected .ari enterprise; fpr the reduction of'Canada: also---in.which,, as usual, the colonists were to :bear a
large share of the actual burdens. After unriecessary,:everi inexeusa.ble,'delays on the part of those intrusted with the manage'ment of the^
"affair in Englarid, a fleet arid k land force finally departed frbm Boston
for the St. 'Lawrence; >A riipre:miserable termination t o a military operation of nioment can- hardly be found:in histoiy. . . ' " T h e whole design," wrote the celebrated Lbrd-^Bplingbroke,;"'was formed by rne ;",
.Arid he-added, " I haye a "sort of paternal concern for the: success of
it.".' But.hpW .coiild, he bave thought'^-" success •';possIble ^ ,
The general appoirited to command thp-troops'\vas Imbwri among
his bottle-companions as '^'honesf Jack. H i l t , " and was pronounced b y .
the Dukeof M^rlborbuglito be "good f nothing." - The admiral Was^


S. Doc. 22.

SO ignorant—so inefficient generally—as to imagine that " t h e ice inthe river at Quebec, freezing to the bottom, would bilge his vessels,"•
and that, tP avert so fearful a dis'aster to her Majesty's ships, he "must
place them on dry ground,in frames and cradles,, till the t h a w ! "
He was spared the calamity, of wintering in ice. one hundred feet in.
thickness ! On "the passage up the St. Lawrence, eight of vhls ships
were wrecked, and eight hundred and eighty-four men drowned.. But
.for this, said he, " ten of twelve thousand meri:must have beenJeft to
perish of cold and hunger': by the loss of a part, 'Provideiice saved all
the rest." . Of course, an expedition consistirig of fifteen,ships-of-war
aiid forty transports, of troops fresh from the victories of Marlborough,:
and of colonists trained to • the severities of a- northern climate," and
sufficient for. the service,; under such^chieis, ac'cbmplished nothing but a
hasty departure. -,, ; ; , • ; , : " •
r'\' . " ; - .
- .
Peace was concluded in 1713. .Down to this period the French
fisheries had been more successful, probably, tha;n those conducted by
the English or the American eolonists. '
.'-.''•'" ^ *
.Their: own account is, indeed, that,' a t the .ppening ^of the century,
their catch of codfish was equal to the supply"^ of. all continental or
Ca:tholic Europe.. By the' treaty of Utrecht,; in the - year just mentioned;: Erigland pbtained what she had \so'long contended lor,, as^her
statesmen imagined—namely, a .supremacy in,- or monppoly :of, the
fisheries of our seas. • ^ -.
- ; . .' .
".; • . .
- - ..
: On the coast of-Nova-Scotia,-or Acadia,:the Frerich were utterly^
•prohibited:from approaching within thirty leagues, beginning at'thp Isle
of Sable, and therice ,riieasuring -southwesterly.;" while the unconditional right of England to the whole of Newfoundlg.rid', and to the'Bay
of Hudsonand its borders, was formally acknowle.dged.
.. -r
< . Yet, at Newfoundland,'the privilege of ^fishing on a- part of the eastern coast frorn Cape Boriavista tp the nPrthefn point, and thence along
the western shore as far as Point Riche,'was-granted to the>subjects of
Louis.. ' It is to be observed that England reserved the exclusive use of.
the fishing-grounds considered-the best, and also the'territbrial jurisdiction ; that the Frerich .were: riot perinitted to settle .ori t h e soil,'.or
erect an}^ structures other than fishermen's huts.and stages ;. and that
,the old and well-understood^method of fishing was tb be continued with- out change. . ; ' - . ' ' "'-" - ' • .'
; ;'
. .,- . - ' •
By, one party this adjustment" of a vexe^, question-was deemed fa^
vbrable to Eriglaiid and just to P r a n c e . ' . But another party insisted
that, their rival,, humbled by the terms' of the peace in other respects,
should have beeri,required in this-to submit to her_;own doctrines and '
to an uneonditiorial.exclusion .from the Americari seas. :The opporientsi
oi the treaty did not .view, the^.dase. fairly.: The cession of Acadia was
supposed to. include the large island of ;Cape Bretori ; and,' this, ad-^
mitted,.the French were to be, confined- to, a region frpm which their
further, or ;at least considerable, interference, with\vessels 'wearirig
• the Eriglish/flag waS:-hardly possible: while, :with, regard to t h a t Very
region, it should be recollected, that,-though Eiigla-nd claimed Newfpundland by the'dlscovery of Caboi; and the possession-of Gilbert, no
strenuous or'long-continued opposition had been:made, at:anytirrie, tO;
dll :nations fishing, or even forming settlements, there"^; and that France

S. Doc, 22.


•was entitled to special consideration, inasmuch as her establishments
for conducting the fishery had been held without interruption fbr more
tha:n half a century, and had been recognised at the peace of Ryswick.
Besides, she had captured several. English posts in addition,-arid,'in
:fact, was in" actual possession of a large part o f t h e island and its valuable apperidages.
. '
The party in opposition assailed the ministry in'terms of bitter de^
nunciation. It-was'said that they " h a d been grossly imposed upon,'.'
that they "had directly given to'France all sheAwanted," and that the
cpricessiorisyvere "universally, and justly condeniiied." Such are' sbme
of the words; of reproach that appear in an official report. In the political ferocity of the time,. Lord Oxford ^was;impeached; arid ."it is
among the charges against him that, "in defiance of an-express act of
Parliament, as well as in contempt of the' fi^'equent and earnest representations, of the nierchants of ^ Great Britairi and of the cominissioriers
of trade and plaritations," he, Robert, Earl of Oxford, and^E.arl Mortlirier,* had advised his sovereign that; " t h e subjects.of Frarice should
have the liberty of fi.shmg and drying fish in'Newfoundland,''
. '
, His,lordship was committed to the.Tbwer, and tried for high tr.eason;
but such-has beeri the -advance of civilization and of the doctrine of
'humanbrotherhbod, t h a t a n act which was a flagrant crim^e in his own
age has .become one honorable to his memory. The great principle he
;thus maintained in disgrace, that the seas .of British America: are not
to'be held by-^British subjects' as- a"'moriopoly, and,,tp the exclusion of
all other; people, has never- since been wholly disregarded; by any
British''minister, and w e ' m a y hope will ever mow appear in 'British
:diplomacy'tp iriark the .progress of liberal: principles. an,d. of *' man's
humaiilty to man.", -: '. :•'../
.,'.: ;
, . . ^ ^
: '
. T h e loss of .Nova Scotia caused but^a tepiporary iriterruption of the
French fisheries.. Withiii a. y e a r o f t h e ratification of the, treaty of
.Utrecht, fugitive ^fishermen^ that colony and of Newfoundland settled
^on Cape-B retbn. arid re suiried their business J . I haye. reiriarkedr that,
.as;the Eriglish understood the cpssion of;Acadia, "according to its
ancient boundaries"," this islands was-held to be a part of it. The
.'French contended, on .the other^ hand, that: Acadia was a 'continental
,possession, and.did not:e"mbface, of course^ an island sufficient of itseli
to fprm' a colony. The settleriient.andfortificatiori of Cape Bretori was
thereforp undertakeri immediately, 'as;^a governnibnt measure. Never
has there been a better illustration ofthe facile charaPter ofthe French
p'ebple than is. afforded by the .case before us. '. .Wasting no energies in
useless regrets', but adapting themselves to theclrbuiristarices'of their
:* Robert Harley, Earl of Oxford, and ^Eart Mortimer>'a distinguished minister .of state in the
feign of Queen Anne, was born itf 1661. °; " After^ the peace" of Utrecht,- the .tory.statesmen,.haying no longer apprehensions'of danger from abroad, began to (Quarrel among themselves
: and the"two chiefs, Oxford and "Bolingbroke, especially,'became persorial and political* foes.' ,
: Soon after the succession-of George I,'Oxford-was inip'eached of high" treason hy-the House of
, Commons, arid was comriaitted to the Tower.-; The, Duke of: Marlborough "was among his
. enemies. Bolingbroke' fled to the contirient. Oxford' was. tried before, the House of Peers in
1717, and. acquitted of' the criines alleged against him. , Pie was the friend of Pope, Swift,
., and other literary men of the time. - He died in 1724. . His son Edward, the second Earl of
Oxford, arid Earl Mortiriaer, was also a great arid liberal patron: of literature and learned men,
- and completed the valuable collection of manuscripts Which he commericed, and which is noW;
in, the British Museum.
-' • "" ; ••
.. * ^'

S. Doc.. 22.


position, they recovered fi'om their losses with ease and rapidity. Iii,
1721 their fleet of fishings vessels was larger than at any former ppriod,
and is said to have been quite four hundred. ^
Reference to the m ap will' show th at C ap e B re ton arid Nova S coti a
are divided by a narrow strait. T h e meeting of vessels of fhe two fl.ags
was, unavoidable., . Therevival of old grudges, collisions, and quarrels,
was. certain;,, but no.serious difficulties appear t o have occurred pre•.yious to; 173^. , ^. \
• "'_- • . \ , ' '' •'••"- . .
^ ,.^' ; . <
In 174'4, Erigland and Frarice were still again' involved.' in' war.
Amorig the earliest hostile deeds, were the surprise of the English garrison at Canseau, Nova Scotia, and the destruction ofthe buildirig3,,the •
fort, and the .fishery, there:, by a ;fprPe from Cape Breton, and tlie capture at Newfoundland of a French ship, laderi with one hundred and
fifty tons of dried codfish, .by a'privateer beloriging to Boston., These,
.however, are incidents of rip moment,.and may be^disposed of in a word..
.l%e:French fisheries'had cpntinued prosperous. They' excited eriyy
and alarm. . Accounts which are considered authentic,.but which I am.-.
conipeUed to regard as somewhat exaggerated, show that they employed
. nearly six hundred .vessels and .upwards of twenty-seven thousand riien.;
and that the annual produce was. almost a million arid a.half quintals
' of fish, bf the value pf riiore thari fpur and a half' mlUlons Pf dollars. '
"More than all else, the fishery at Cape Breton was held to* be in violation ofthe treaty .of Utrecht; for, asV has been said, that island .was in ~
the neyer-yet-defiried cburitry, Acadia. < ^ , -v '
. . • ; • .„ .
Rbbert Aiichniuty,* an eminent, lawyer of Bostori, and judge, of thb cburt;pf ad.miralty, when sent t o England^ as agent of .Massachusetts'
on the que^tipri:of the Rhode Island boundary, published a pamphlet
. entitled "The impbrtanqe'^ of Cape Breton to the British nation, and. a
plan for taking the place," iii which he 'demonstrated;that Its conquest
wpuld put the English in" sole 'possession of the fisheries of North Ariierica; would give the cplonies ability tP; j^rchase manufacfures o f t h e
mother countiy of the value of .ten millions^ of dollars annually; would
employ-many thousand families them eairning nothing; increase English .
mariners arid shipping';: cut off all cbmmunlcatibn between France and
'Canada by the river St; Lawrence,-so that, in the fall of CJuebec, thp,
French would bedriven from the'continent; and, .finally, open acoirespondence with the' remote Indian;:tribes, and. transfer the fur -trade toAnglo-Saxon hands. ; AU this was to follow the re.ductlon/and possession
of a cold, distant, and inhospitable island. Such was the sentiment of







' • ' ' • • ' • , / .



;In 1745, the conquest of Cape Breton was undertaken.. Ylewed as
a mflitary enterprise, its capture is'the nibst remarkable eyerit in our
coloniairhistory.^ Several colonles^soutb of, Npw Erigland were invited
*Robert Aruchmuty vvas of Scottish descent, but was.educated at Dublin., He came;to -Bos:tO|i' when young, and was appoirited judge of the court of admiralty, in 1703.: Tnl740, he " ^s
;a: director of the "Land Bank,", or bubble,'which ^involved the father of Samuel Adams and
•'Hiaiiy others-in ruin.. He^was sent tp:'England-:on important service, and,\,while. there, pi'Ojeete.d-an expedition"to Cape^Bretpri. After his;return,-he was aprpointed judge of admiralty
^^ second-time. • He died iri-1750. His;son,-Samuel,a graduatie of Haiward "(Jniversity, -was
" an'Episcopal'ininister in'New- York; arid his grandson, Sir Samuel Auchinuty, a- lie untenant
general-in the British army,:and'died in 1822. The A-uchmutys of the revolutionaiy era adhered to the'side of the crown"
^ ~
• ;
• -'•/•'.•^-•

' £ Doc. 22.


tojoin the" expedition, but none would consent to waste life in a project
so mad;, and Franklin, forgetting that he was "Boston-born,." ridiculed
5 it in oncvof the wittiest lettersbe ever wrote. In Massachusetts, and
elsewhere at the North, men enlisted as in a crusade.. Whitefield made
a, recruiting bouse of the sanctuary. To ^ show liow the . images in the
Catholic churches were to be .hewn down, axes .were brandished. and
borne about; and, while Puritanism aimLedtp strike a blow at Catholicism,, t h e concerns of the pr.esent life were not forgotten. Fisherriieti
panted for revenge on those who had irisulted them and , driyen them
from-the fishing-groundsv 'Merchants, with Auchmuty's'pamphlet iii
their hands, thought>of the iriereased s^le and the enhaneed price of
New England fish in foreign market's. Militaiy officers whp had seryedin Nova Scotia, in the preyious vfar were ambitious of fiirther distinctibii
and preferments Such were the .motives. \' \ <
William Vaughan, who was'extensively engaged in the fisheries, and:
whose honi'p was hear Pemaqiiid, in'Maine,/claimed that, .while listen-,
• ing to the tales of some.of his own fishermeri, he ^conceiyed the design
of the expedition..' Governor-•Shirley,'^ -of. Massachusetts, "embraced
"^plari.s, and submitted them to the general court. By this body they
' y^efe rejected. ^ Renewed by the 'goverripr, and insisted upon' by the
merchants,.they vvere finally adopted by the^vote ofthe speaker, who
had acted previously in opposition.t
• '.
. Tnstantly Boston became the scene of "busy pre^^
' \ William Pepperell, of Kitteiy, in Maine, and the son of a fisherman
of the Isles of Slioals, assumed comnia:nd of the, expedition. The
merchants of Boston furnished a large.-part of the arnied;yessels and
transports. The fishermen of Plymouth were' the first:troops;to arrive.
Those of .Marblehead: and ,Glbucester, arid those who-had; been, em- .
ployed, by Pepperell, and Vaughan, followed in'rapid sucees.siori..
Lumberers,iiiechariip's, and husbandnien completed th^ forcp.
/ Louisbourg was, thp' point of attack; fpr Cape Breton, would fall
with its capital withput another blow. This city was named .in honor
bf the king. -Twenty-five years;aiid thirty mlllioris, of livres .were resquired , to . complete' it. Its walls -were built .of bridks' bi:pught .from
France. More than two hundred pieces of caLiinon wpre mounted to
' defeiid it. ^ @6 great was its. strength:that it was called, the "Durikirk
of America.'' It .had nunrieries and -palaces, terraces and ga:rd.eri3.
Tlmt such ,,a city rose, upon .a :lone, desolate i'sle,,. in the,.irifancy of
Anierican bolonization, appears incredible;. ' E x p
alone fourid
in the fishing enthusiasm-of t h e fperiod.
. •
i . \ : ^
The fleet, sailed frorii Boston in;:March. : Singular to remark, of a
military order, .Shirlpy's instructions required a^
pf x p ^ lines fbr useori the^passage^ so.that:thetro€^
mpossible, on thb;products of the sea. ,
- .
* William' Shirleyj Govismpr of .Massaehusetts, was a^.native - of England,, and- was.;bred: 'to
.^elaw. He came to Bostoii' ahout/the; year 1733r and was appointed governor iri 1741. In
1755,.he was coriiriaander-in-chief of ;the-Biirish.forces = ha-America. He:died-in::Eoxbury,-;Ma»sachiisetts, in 177.1.
.: ' ,• .
., ' <
-t Mr. Oliver, a Boston member,'broke:his legon hisway'to the house,-and'was not;presei!jL^
His vote would have caused t h e rejection, of ;the. plan'a second time. The .members,delibef?ftted under the first oath oY secrecy administ^rexlto a legislative assembly in Ameiioa.::.


. S. Doc. 22.

A more undisciplined and. disorderly body of men never disem
barked to attempt the reduction of a walled city. The squadron com-,
manded by Warren, and ordered by the ministry to co-operate with
Pepperell, arrived in time to share in^the perils and honors bf the siege.
The colonial fleet and the ships of the royal navy kept up a close
blockade. .The, colonists on shore J; without a regular encampment,
lodged in huts built of turf.and bushes.i With straps- across, their
. shoulders, they:dragged cannon in sledges over morasses impassable
with .wheels. ^Making jest, of .military subprdinatipn, they, fired at
.mark's, they.fished and fowled, wrestled and raced, and chased after
balls shpt from the-'French guns: Badly sheltered^ and exhausted by
toil in mud and waiter, and by exposure in a cold: and foggy climate,
^fteen hundred became sick and unfit,for duty. Still the siege; was
conductedwith surpassirig energy, with some skill,-: and. courage seld'pm.
equalled^ Nine thousarid cannon-balls and six.hundred bombs,were
' discharged by;the,assailants.' T h e Frerich commander submitted on
the forty-ninth day of the investriient. ," The victors centered the '^^ Dunkirk of the western world " amazed at-their own achieyeriient.
• . A single'day's delay in the surrender might,have resulted in.discomfiture and defeat, ^and iii exterisive mo^'rtal sickness,. sirice, within a few'
hours of the capitulation,: a stbrm-of rain-set in,'which, in the ten days
it' continued,' flooded the camp-ground and beat down the huts: which
the'colonistsabandoried for quarters within, the, walls\. , .
.^ .- . .
. : Pepperell and his compainions'were the most fortunate of men. Even
-after the'fall of t h e city, the French .flag (which was. kept flying'as:;a
decoy) lured' :within their grasp ships ;with cargoes of rrierchandise
wbrth rnore than a million of;dollars;' The exploit was conim'erided;iri
:the highest and loftiest terriis. • Even thirty years afterwards, .Mi;. Hartley* said", in the House of Commons, .thatthe colpnistsV*'took Louisbourg •
from the French single-harided, without any European' assistance---as
inettled an enterprise as any in pur liist0fy--an everlasting'memorial
:to the -zeal, courage, and^everarice of the troop's of New England."f
These:kre the mere/outlines of the' accotmts of .this extraordiriary
. affait.l . Several of our books . of history contain full deta:ils; but the•

* He was one of the British coriimissioners of peace in 1783. '
/''' .
' t Horace Walpole calls-Sir. Peter Warren 'f the. conqiier6r;of'Cape Breton," asd says that,
he was "richer than Anson, and absurd asVempn." - .Walpole,also quotes a remark of Marshal
Belleisle, who, when.he.-was told of the taking of Cajpe .Breton, said, ."he could believe, that,.
because the ministry had no'it." , Walpole adds: " We are making bonfires for'Cape'
Breton; and thundering over Genoa, while our armyin Flanders is rimnirig away and dropping
to pieces by detachments taken prisoners eveiy day."" . ;. • ..; .
X April 4, 1748," a committee of the House'; of Commons came to the following resolution: ^
' " i^esoZzjefi?, That :it is the opinion, of this committee that it is just and reasonable "that the
^several provihces and coloriies of Massachusetts Bay, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Ehode
Island be reimbursed t h e expenses they.have been at in taking arid securing .tothe proWTI'of
Great Britain,the island'of Cape Breton and its;dependencies." :•
.'\ •
Mr:'Burke, remarks on tliis resolution'that "these expenses -were immense :for such coloriies ;
ItHey were above: £200,00,0 sterling-—money first raised and advanced on their public credit." ,
'. William Bollan, collector :otf the customs for Salem and. Marblehead,, who married a daughter
-of Governor Shirley, was sent to'England t o solicit the reimbursement.of .these expenses. He
obtained; the sum of £183,649 sterling,"after a diftiqult arid toilsome agency, of three years.
, He returned to Boston in;1748,.with'six; hundred arid fiftythree-thousand ounces of silver
:vand ten tons of copper. This .money, was landed ofl'Long Wharf, placed in wagons,-and
carried through the streets mid much rejoicing. ..
> -' '
;. - , : •

S. Doc. 22.


correspondence of Shirley, Pepperell, and Warren, which is preserved
in. the Collections ofthe His'torical Societ}^ of Massachusetts,-as well as
the letters and riarratives of subordinate actors, should be: read in coniiexipn.






:A century has elapsed. With the.present condition of Cape. Breton
in"view, we.almost ima,gine that we hold iri our hands books of fiction
father than the records of .the real, when We read, as we do in Sniollet, that the conquest, of Louisbourg was " the mostimj)ortant achievement
of tlie war of 1744;" i n t h e Universal History, that '' New England gave
peace to Europe by raising, armirig,' and. transporting four thousand,
men," whose success '''proved an eqitiyalent for cill the successes of the
..French upon thc continent f and'; in Lord; Chesterfield, that,' " i n the end
It/produced peace," and. that the "noble duke at the head of the admiralty dec! ared:that, " ij^ France was master of Portsmouth, he would hang
the men who shbuld give Caye Breton in exchange/^
The peace of Aix laChapelle., iri 17.4S, was dishonora.ble to Englarid
at home and. in her colonies. Of the adjustment of the questions which
relate to our - subject, I may remark, that she not only restored Cape
Breton to France, and "submitted to the huriiiliating condition of sending two persons of rank and distinction to reside in that kingdom as
hostages until that island and other conquests should be actually surrendered, but consented also to omit aUmentipn of the right of English
'Subjects to navigate the American seas without being liable to search
. a:iicl molestation, though that pretension on the part of the Frerich was
one of-the originaf causes ofthe war, as well-as the basis of the attacks
.made on Walpole's .niinistiy,' The results 'of the peace to England
were, an imriiense debt, the barreri glory of-supporting the German
sovere.ignty of Maria Theresa, and the alienation of the affections of
the people of New Englarid, who saw/evidence thkt the hou.^e of Hanover, like the Stuarts, were ready to' sacrifice their victories and their
interests as.": equivalents" for-defeats and disa.sters in Europe..
The fa,ll of Louisbourg,and the general hazards of war reduced the
.-number of French vessels employed/iri the fisheries itpwards of four
hundred, in. a single year;—to follbw. the received accounts ; while, of
the • one hundred which still remained,, nearly the whole, probably,
.made their fares at Newfoundland. Tbis'^branch of industry was destined to a slow recovery ofprosperity;: for, in 1756, w e record still
-another war between Frarice and:England.' ': •
. • Among the causes of hostilities on the part of the latter power, as announced in the royal declaration, werethe aggressions ofthe French-in
Nova Scotia.* In that region, and on other coasts frequented by fish- '
ermen, the war was attended with many .distressing circumstances.f
* Mr. Huskisson, in a spee'ch in Parliament in 1826,"said: " Sir, the war which began in the
year 1756, commonly called the Seven Years' War,.^was', strictly speaking, so far as relates to
iJiis country and to ttie Bourbon governments pf France and Spain, a war for colonial privileges,
colonial claims,'•and eoloniat ascendency. In the course of that war, skill and British
valor placed in the hands of this country Quebec ancl the Havana. By the capture of these
; fortresses, Great Britain became mistress of the..colonial destinies of the. w-estern world."
t The first conquests of Briti.?harms in America in, the Frerich war"were the French fort of
Beau Sejour,'in the Bay of Fundy,; and, two other posts in the same region. Colonel Monckton,
the'conqueror, gave the name of Fort'Cumberland to Beau Sfejour.-

l a
















--...:. •


^ /


. .S.; Doc.' 22.


- ^

-Without space for dptSLlls, I can only give a single. example 'at Newfbundland, where M.. de Tourney, in command of a French force of four
ships-of-the-line, a bomb-ketch, and a body of troops, landed at the
Bay of Bulls, destroyed t h e English settlenients of Trinity and Carbonear, captured several vessels, destroyed the stages and implements of
fi,shery ofthe inhabitants, and,; appearing off' St. Jphri, the capital of t^e
island, demanded and obtained its surrender.
Omitting notice of niiiior events, we come, in 175'9, t o t h e second
siege of Louisbourg. The"force emploj^ed was immense, consisting of
twenty ships-of-the-line, eighteen frigates, a large fleet of smaller vessels, and ari army of fourteen tJiousaiid men. ^ The success of this expedition caused great rejoicings' throughput the-British empire. The
French colors were deposited/in. St. Paul's, Lqndon,, and a forni of
thanksgiving w^as-ordered to be used iri, all the churches ; while in'New
England, prayers and" thanksgivings'were, solemnly offered on the do-mestic altar and in public worship.
^ .;
General Wolfe comma iided a detached body of two thousarid troops,
and was high"l.y distinguished.^' He sailed from Louisbourg the-following j^ear, at the head of eight thousarid men,;to " die satisfied" .on the
Plains of Abraham. Well niight he utter these words! H e was the
victor in orie of the decisive battles, of the wbrld! In; the hour that the
British troops entered Quebec, the rule of America passed from the
Gallic tp the'Anglo-Saxoii.^race. ^ Between the death of a Jesuit father
arid the breaking up of a French settlement in Maine, and the treaty of
Paris, w^asjust a centuiy and a half . W e have seen how large'a part
of'the period- was devoted to, war. " The contest-was at ari end. " The
Gaul resigned the mastery ofthe -New^ World to'the Britori.t
if "Wolfe," says Horace: Walpole, ".who was no "friend of; Mr. Comvay last year, and for
whom I consequently have no aflection, .has great^ merit, spirit, and alacrity, and shone
extremely ^at Louisbourg."
. .- "• .
t It may-be said that Great Britain' has hardly had a moinent's-.quiet with Canada since the
day when Wolfe,,rose from a sick bed to "die: ha.ppy"^ iri.planting her flag ,on -the walls of
Que"bec. -AVe "cannot stop to trace the reasons, for this state of things, but must confiue'our
remarks to the course of events immediately following the conquesi): After the fall of Quebec
and the reduction ofthe -entire .^country, but-befoi'e the final- cession, there arose an exciting
controversy among some ofthe leading statesmen ^of-the time;-whether Canada shd.ii]d be retained or restored to. France/and the island of Guadaloupe beadded to the'British dominions in
its stead. There seemsxto iiave been a prevalent f^ear that,'if Canada were kef)t,the..Golonies, rid
of all apprehensions from the French,- would increase at an alarming rate, and finally .throw ofi"
their dependence on the-mother: countiy. A tract was published iri support of this viewf "supposed to have Jjeen written either by Edmund" or Wilham Bui-ke, to Which Franklin replied in
his ha,ppiest and ablest manner. Franklin's answer, in the judgment of Mr. Spark's, "was believed to have had great weight'in the ministerial councils, arid to have been mainly instrumental in causing Canada to-be held at the peace.",
• '"
In the course of the dispute, the charge was openly made that the treaty of peace which restored'to France the conquests of Bellisle, Goree, Gaudaloupe, St. Lucia,, "Martimque,'and Havana, which guarantied to her. people the use of the Ne\^lbundland' fishery, and wlVicn retained an,acquisition of so doubttui value as Canada, was the result of eorrupt bargaining.
• Lord St. A^incent (a gTeat naval captain, and hardly inferior to Nelson) was of the Qpinion,'
even In 1783, that Canada o^ught not to be retained by England. Lord Brbuglmm, in his-historical sketches,'relates t h a t , " when Lord Shelburne's peace (1783) was si.gncd,'and-before
the terms were made public, he sent for the admiral,^aiid, showing them, asked' his opinion.'
' I like 'them very well,', said he, ' but there is a great 'omission.' '' In what?', ' In leaving
- Canada as a. British; province.'• ' How.. could we, possibly give it up?' inquired Lord Shelburne. ' Hpv/ can you hope tO; keep it ?' replied the -veteran warrior:' with. an. English republic just established in the sight of Canada,, and with a population of a handful of English'
settled among a body of hereditary Frenchmen, it is impossible; and, rely on it, you only re-..

.S. Doc- 22.



Inview=^of the PAST and the FUTURE, our fathers were " S A T I S F I E D . "
It remains to give a summary of the exertions of the northern cblonists to'achieve the conquest of Canada. So.nuinerous Were the seamen and fishermen of New England on board ofthe ships-pf-vvar, that
her merchants were bompelled to navigate their own vessels with Indians and negroes. More th ain fpur hundred privateers were-fitted out
during the contest to raya,ge the French West Indies and^distress the
commerce of France in all parts of the world; and it was asserted in
the House of Coni'mons,.without contradictipn, that, of the seamen
employed in the British navy, fen thousand were natives of America.
For the attack, on Louisbourg and Quebec alpne, the number furnished
b y t h e shigle 'colony of Massa:chusetts was .five hundred, besides the
"fishermen who were impressed.* A single-example pf-the pecuniary
burdenS; of \,those who personally bore no part in hostile deeds will
suffice. A Boston gentleman of fortune sent one of his tax-bills to. a
frierid in London for his opinion,'aiid received for answer that /'lie did
not believe there was 'a man in all England whp paid so riiuch, in proportion,-for the support of gpvernment." I fiiid. it stated that the
ambunt assessed, in taxes of every kirid, was nearly half of the payer's
-v . ^
In this rapid notice of the events which .preceded and led to the, extinction of "French power,^I have" not exaggerated the: importance attached to the fisheries. . Few ofthe far-sighted saw? even in the distant
future,, as we really see, in New France,-and that half-faibulpus coun' try, Acadia, the, building of ships to preseryeand increase the maritime
strength- of England,:wheat-laiids to, rival our own, the great lakes
uriited with the bcean, arid upon the St. Lawrence and St. John soriie of
the principal timber-marts o f t h e world. .'Nay, among the wisest, the
Indian Was forever to glide in his canoe on the waters—forever to roam
the dark, limitless forest.,' In a word, the vision of most was bounded
by the fur trade pn the soil, and by; the fish trade ojn-the;:sea.
A single remark upon'the influence: of these events'in producing'the
Revolutiouj. limited. as is the plan of this, report,-cannot be omitted. In,
the "paper stuff'" emitted by Massachusetts to pay off "Phips's men,"
We see, the gerrii ofthe "continental money." In the levying of taxes,
in the i:aisiiig'pf troops, and the geiieral independence.of the colonial
asseiriblies during periods ;of war, \ye'firid explanation bf the wonderful ease of the transition of these bodies into "provincial congresses."
In the many armies embodied and fleets fitted at Boston, we learn why
tain a running sore, the source of ^endless disquiet and" exp^ense.' - ''Would the country bear
it? have you forgottein Wolfe and Quebec?' asked his.lordship.. ' N o : it .is because I reniember'both. I served with Wolfe "at Quebec. Having lived so^lorig, I have had. full time for
^reflection on this matter; and my clear opinion is, that if; this fair occasion for giving up Canada
is neglected, nothing biit difilGulty,in either keeping or resigningvit, will ever after be kno\^Ti."'
This-remarkable prediction has .been.tulfilled, as every one who is familiar with Canadian af- v
fairs will admit.
* "The Massachusetts forces," in 1759, says,Hutchinson, "were of great ser-vlce. Twentyfive hundred.served in garrison at Louisbourg and Nova.Scotia, in the roem of "the regular
troops :taken from thence to serve under General Wolfe. ' Several' hundred, servedori board
the king's ships as seamen, and the reiiiainder of the six thousand tive hundred men voted in
the spring")served.-under General Amherst. - Besides this force, upon ax-)plication of General
Wolfe, three hundred more were raised and sent to Quebec-by the lieutenant governor, in
the absence of the goverrior atPeriobscot;-" • .'


S. Doc. ^ 2 .

the people, familiar with .military men and measures, almost recklessly provoked collision with the troops sent by their'own sovereign to
overawe and subdue them.
In truth, the prominent actors in. the wars^oCl744 .and.of 1756 were
the prominent actbrs in the struggle of freedom. Thus, with Pepperell at the siege of'Louisbourg were Thornton, who became.: a signer of^
the Declaratipn of Independence ; Bradford, whp commarided a continental regiment; and Gridley, who laid out the w^orks on Bunker's
Hill. On the frontier's:of Virginia and in thewest, in the last-mentioned
,\var was the illustrious Washington.- Engaged in;one or both of the
French wars were Lewis,: Wolcott,'Williams,-, and Livingston, who
^vere signers of .the Dbclaration of Independence; and Prescott, who
commanded on the memorable l7th,of June. Among those who became
generals in the Revolution were Mbntgomery, who/fell at Quebec;
Gates, the .victor at Saratoga; Mercer, who was slain at Princeton*,
,and who, in the. estimation of some, was -second only to Washingtori;
Mbigari,,fhe hero o f t h e "Cowperis;" Thomas, who
Canada after the fall of Montgomery; James Clintpri, the-father of De
Witt Clinton'; Stark, the victor at Bennington; "Spencer,;Israel arid
Rufus /Putnam,: 'Nixbn, St.. Clair, • Gibson, Bull, 'Chg^rles Lee, and
burke. There were also'Butler, the second in command at Wyoming; and'Campbell, a distinguished colonel; and,Dyer, chief ju;stice
of .Connecticut-; Craik, direc tor-gen eral of the American hospital,' a.nd
the "old;and intimate friend":of Washirigton; Jones, tlie;physician of
Franklin; Johri Morgan,\,director-general and physician-general of the
army; aijd Hynde,,the: medical adviser of Wolfe, who was with him
. when he fell,-arid accom'pEmied Patrick' Henry against Lord Duiimore.
It. was ;in Nova Scotia and Canada, and on the Ohio, then—-at Port
'Ro3^al, Canseau;. Louisbburg, .Quebec, the wilds of Virgiriia—
'and in putting-down French/pretensions, that our fathers acquired the
skill and experience necessary, for the successful assertion of their own.
We pass .to consider the terms of the treaty of 1763. Iri reply to
the propositions. of the court of London,, the French' ministry, at the
commencement of the negotiatipns in 176.1, consented to guaranty to
• England the possession of Canada, provided Englarid;would restore
the island'of Cape Breton, and confirm the right of French subjects to
take and-cure fish in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, as well as on the baiiks
and in.the island of Newfoundland;, The fortifications of Louisbourg,
the court of Versailles, lio\yever, suggested should be destroyed, and
the harbor laid open for common use. These, teriiis seem to have been
the ultimatum of France.
In reply-, the British ministry insisted:,upon the unconditional cession
of Canada, with all its dependencies^ and the cessipn of Cape Breton and
all other'islands in the Gulf'of St. Lawrence. They replied, further,
that the important privilege of fishing and curing cod on the coast of
Newfoundland, a-sprovicled in the treaty of Utrecht, they had not
designed tb refuse, but merely to connect with/stipulatioiis relative to
Dunkirk; and that the island of St. Peter would be ceded to France
upon four indlsperisab.le conditions: first,' that,the island should notbe
- fortified, or troops.:be stationed upori it, under .any'pretext whatever;
second, that, denying, tlie vessels of other' nations all rights, everi of

S:-.Doc. 2 2 ;


shelter, F.rance.should use the island and its harbor for her own fisherrnen* alone; third, that the possession of the island shbuld not be
deemed to extend in any manner the stipulations bf the treaty of
Utrecht^—that is tb say, ^iA. loco Cap Bonavista non cupato. usque ad'
eitremitatem ejusdem insulcc. seytentrioncdem, indique at latus occidentale
recurrendo usque ad locum Pointe 'Riche appellatum''^—£From the'place
called Cape Bonavista to the northern extremity of the said i.slarid,
, and thence running, westerly tb t h e place denominated Poirit Riche;}fourth, that an/English commissary should be allowed to reside at St.
Peter, and the conimander of the British, ^hlps-of-war on the Newfoundland station have liberty, from time to time, to visit the island, to
see that these four,conditions be duly observed. : ' " ,
" With these prbpositions the French ministry were dissatisfied-. They
desired rights of fishirig in: the Gulf of St.' Lawrence, "while, with regardtp the cession of StJ Peter, they remarked that it was so small and so'
riear Placentla, that, as a.shelter, it would prove altogether illusive, and.
sprve to Greater disputPs. between the two nations, rather than facili-*
tate the fishery of thp French subjects-; and they the cessibn
of Cape Bretori, or of t^^he island of .St.'John,' as .at first suggested, but
expressPd a willingness to accept of Canseau;instead of either. Still,'
if the British ministry, for reasons unknown to-them, could not agree
to the cession-of Canseau, then,they submitted that:Miquelon, an island,
or, as thpy considered, .a part of St. Peter,' shbuld. be included in the
cession of the last-nariied island, for the. two joined together did not
exceedthreeleagues in extent. They said also that they would maintain no niilitary establishnierit at either of the places'mpntloned, except
a guard of fifty men to siippor t police regulations ;. arid that, as niuch as
ppssible with so.weak aibrce,.,they would, prevent all foreign :vesselis
from sheltering, as required'; while they would limit their fishery on the
coast of Newfoundland to the stlpulatioris of the treaty of Utrecht,
. proylded it should be und.erstood that tliey cpuld take and dry^ fish on .
the coast pf St. Peter and Miqueloii. To the conditibn relative-to the
residerice bf the commissary on-'the ceded islands they did not object. .
In /England, opposition to «m/xoncessIbns to France w^as: soon mani- ,
fest.- T h e fisheries in the-Gulf-of St. Lawrence arid on the Banks of
Newfoundland were held tb constitute a great source of wealth tb
>Frahce, "and to be her principar nursery for 'sea:meri. The voluntary
olfer of the .'ministry, therefore, "to cpntinue the privileges enjoyed under; the treaty' of • Utrecht, was, view ed with: great" displeasurb: The fishreries, it was said, were worthj)i6re than all. Canada. The cpmmori, COUUTcii of Londori, as represpritingthe 'cbmiiierciafiri
pf the kingdom,
transmitted to the rriembers :bf'the. House of, Comnions from the city
pereniptory irist:ruc.tions'on the subject o.f the trea:ty; a,nd particularly
that the sole and exclusive right of fishings in the Americari seas should
be reserved to the subjects of the British crown. Such, indeed. Were
the sentiments of a'large party. But their remonstrances were ' disrega.rded. .
: . .
^ The negotiations were concluded at Paris Februar}^ 10, 1763. The
articles of the treaty-'which relate to our subject are t h e following:
'* The subjects of France shall have the liberty of fishing and drying on a part of the coasts of the island of Newfoundland, such as i t i s


S. Doc. 22.

specified in the thirteenth article of the treaty of Utrecht, which article
is renewed arid confirmed by the present treaty, (except what relates .
to the island of Cape Breton, as well as the;pther islands and coasts in
the mouth and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.) And his Britannic Majesty
consents to leave to the subjects ofthe Most Christian :King the liberty
of fishing iri the Gulf of St. Lawrence, on condition that the subjects of
France db'nPt exercise the' said fis.hery but at the dista;nce. of t h r e e ,
leagues from all the coasts belonging to Great Britain, as well tliose of
the cpntinent as those of the islands situated in the said Gulf of St.
Lawrence. . And as to what relates to the fishery on the coasts of the
island of Cape Breton,'out: of said gulf, the subjects ofthe Most Christian King shall riot be permitted tb exercise the said fishery but at .the
distance bf fifteen lea:gues froin^the- coasts/of .the island pf Cape Breton; -and the fishery pri the coasts of iNoya Scotia, or Acadia, and everywhere else out of the said gulf, shall remain on the footing of-former
treaties." ,
., , '
• ,
. • .. " T h e King of Great Britain cedes the islands of St. Pierre and
/Miquelon, in, full right, to his Mpst Christian Majesty, to serve as shelter
to ti!:e French fishermen; and his said Most Christian Majesty engages
not to fortify the said' islands^ to erect no buildings upon them but
merely for the .cpiivenience of the fisheiy,^ and; to keep upon them a
guard of fifty: men "only for the'police." - . / - •
- //
These stipulations'were-severely attacked in' Parliamerit and'elsewjiere. ^'Junius," in his c'elebrated letter to the Duke of Bedford., does
not scruple tP charge his grace with bribery. " Belleisle, Goree, Guadaloupe;: St. Lucia,,Martinique, the fshery, and the Havana," ^said he,
" are glorious, monuments bf your grace's .talents for nego.tiation. .My
lord,, we are top well accjuainted with your pecuriiary character, to thinh'St
possible that sp 'many public sacrifices should have'been made without some
private cornpensations. /Your conduct .carries with it': an internal evidence
beyond all'the legal proofs of a.coui't of justice.^\
Peace had hardly been coricluded- before the French were accused of
violations of the treaty. In 1764, a slobp-of-war carried: intelligence to
•England that they had a very formidable naval forceat Newfoundland;
that they intended.lo erect strong fortifications on St.:Peter's; and thiat
the-English commodore on the station .was without force suffi'clent to
prevent the'consummatipn/pf their plans. The party opposed t o t h e
miriistry pronounced a war with • France to be inevitable, unless t h e
British: government were^di.sposed to-surrender both Newfouridland'and
Canada. The .alarrii—which'Illustraltes the spirit of the tinie,.and the
sensibility of the .English people—proved t b b e without cause, siiice the
French governor gave assurances that nolhing had been or would be
done contrairy to the letter of the treaty;, that he had but a-single small
cannpn mounted, without ..a platfprm, designed merely to answer signals
.to their fishermen in foggy w'eather ; that no buildings or works had
been erected ; and. that his guard consisted of only forty-seven men.
It appeared', how;ever, that the French naval force was considerable,
consisting of one; ship of fifty guns,, another of twenty-six .guns, and
pthers-pf smaller rates. .. .^ , ' .•
, ..
Rernarking. that the French employed- at Newfpundla,nd two hundred
and fiftj^-nine vessels in 1768, and about the same riumber "five j^ears

S. Doc. 22. .


later, we come to the war of our own Revolution. To induce France tb aid
us in the struggle, our envoys were authorized, in 1776, to stipulate that
all the-trade between the United States-arid the French West Indies
should be Carried ^.on either in French or American vessels: and they
were specially instructed to, assure his Mpst Christian Majest}^ that if,
by their joint efforts, the British should b e excluded from any share in
tlii3 cod-fisheries of America'by the reduction, of the islands ^of Ne\yfoundland and Cape Breton j .and ships-of-war should be furnished, at,
the expense ofthe United States, to reduce Nova Scotia, the fisheries
should be enjoyed equally between.them, to the exclusi'^^ of all
other nations'; and that one-half of Newfoundland-should belong to
France, and the other half, with Cape Breton and Nova Scotia, to the
United States.
. ." . •
, •' '
, ;. .
". We niay smile, at—-we can hardly commend—-our fathers for claiming;
so large a share as this notable scheme devised; but the spirit which'
conceived and was prepared to execute so grand an enterprise, additional to the mairi purposes'of their- strife with the inother country, is
t o be placed in strong contrast with the Indifference' manifested now
about preserving oui* tights in the domains which they, thus designed to.
, /^
In -1778, the project Was renewed. ,'In the instructions to Franklin,
he" was: directed to'.urge"upon the French court.the cer'tainty of ruining
the British fisheries on the Banks of Newfoundland,- andconseo ^^ntly
the British marine, .by reducing Ha,lifax and Quebec, Acc( rr^p'^^^yi^.g
Ills" instructions was a plan for capturing these .places, in which the
benefits of their acquisition to France and. the. United States were distinctly pointed put. They were of iriiportance to France, it was said,
liecause "til elfish ery of Newfoundland is justly considered the basis of a
good marine;" and because "the possessiori of these two places necessarily secures tp the, party arid their friends^the island and fisheries."
Among the benefits to' the' United States would be the-acquisitibn of
^twp States to the Uniori," and the securing of the,fisheries joiritly with
France, ^to the total exclusion of .Great Britairi."
An alliance with France secured, a/plari to reduce Canada at least
was accordirigly matured arid a^dopted-by Congress iri the: course; of the
last-mentipned year." . ,It was the prevalent ppinion in the United Sta:tes
that the French ministry not only approved bf this^ measure, but that'
one of their objects.In forming an alliance with us was to regain a .part
or the whole of -the possessions in America which they had-lost in pre^
vious wars, and thus regain their -forriier position and influence in the
western hemisphere. But the fact is novv well ascertained-tha.t they
'were averse' to the desigri against Canada, and that; from the first, it
was their settled policy to leave that coloriy and Nova Scotia dependencies of England. Washington dissented from Congres.sV and pre-,
seiited that body with along letter on the subject. He thought "the plan
both impracticable arid unwise.. Among his reasons for the latter opinion was, that France w^ould engross "the wJiole trade of Newfoundland
wheneyer-she pleased," and "the finest, nursery of seamen
in the w-orld." T h e expedition was never undertaken.
The treaty of commerce between "Franpe and the United, States con


S. Doc. 22.

eluded in 1778, and annulled by;act of Congress iri the j^ear 1800, contained the following provisions :
, - " , A R T . 9. The subjects,iiihabitants, merchants, commanders of ships,
masters, and mariners bf the states, provinces, and dominions of each
party, respectively, s.hall abstain and forbear to fish in all places possessed, or which'shallbe possessed,, by the'other part-)^ The MostChristian King's subjects shall not fish in the havens, bays, creeks, roads.j
coasts, or places which the said; United States hold; or shall hereafter
hold ;• and in like" mariner the subjectSj people,' arid inhabitants of the
said United States- shall not fish in the havens;.bays, creeks, roads,
coasts, or places which-the Most Christian King possesses, or shall here^
after possess.' Andlf any ship or'vessel shall be fourid fishing contrary
to the tenor of this treaty, the said ship or vessel, .with its lading, proof
beirig made thereof, shall-be.^ confiscated. It Is^however,, understood that
the exclusion stipulated in the presentarticle shall take place biily so
long and sb far a:s ^the ' Most Christian King or the Uriited States shallnot in this respect have granted an exemption to^ some other nation.
" A R T . , 10. The United States, their'citizeris and inha:bitants, ^shali'/
never disturb the. subjects of ^the Most Christian King in the enjoyriientand .exercise ofthe right of fishing on the Banks of Newfoundla.nd;. n p r ,
in.the Indefinite arid exclusive right which belongs to them on that pairt;
oft h e coast of that island which is designated by the treaty of Utrecht,
npr in the rights relatiiye "to all and each ofthe isles which belpng to liis
IVIost Christian Majesty—the whole conformable to the true sense of the
treaties of Utrecht arid Paris."
Embarked in war with'the greatest m'arltime.power in the world,
France had need of.all her seariieri ; arid to secure for her ships-of-war;
her fishermen absent at Newfoundland,, hbr treaty bf alliance .with the
Uriited States was kept secret for some'Weeks, to give time for'their
return.. During,^ hostilitiesV St. Pierre and Miquelon,if not almost abandoried by, fishing-vessels, were the scene bf no inciderits to detain'us. '
At the peace in 1783, the whole subject of the French rights of fishing Wcis exarnined and a.rraiiged. As will be se'en, several important
changes were made, and' explanatioris exchanged,' by the two. contract- •
irig'^poweiis; It may be observed, further, that, the y^cit; fishing-grounds
acquired were thought: less valuable than those which she relinquished,
though the priyileges obtairied by ^France, considered together, were much greater than those provided in. the, treaty of .1763. The articles
wliich;relateto tlie subjbct in the treaty,:and iri the "declaration" and
^'counter declaratipn," or separate articles, are as.follow:s : « " A R T . 2. His Majesty the King of Great Britain shall'preserve
iri full right the island of Newfoundlarid arid the adjacent islands, in
the same mariner as'the whole was ceded tp him by the 13th article of
the treaty of Utrecht, save'the.exceptions the ,5th .article
of the present treaty. " .'
" A R T . 3. His Most\ChristIan Majesty, [of France,] in order to
j^reverit: quarrel Sj which have hitherto arisen/between'the two "natioiis
of England and France, renounces the right of fishing, which belongs
to him by virtue ofthe said article of the treaty of Utrecht, from Cape"
Bbnavista to Cape St. Jphn,^[Poinf Riche,] situated on the eastern
coast of Newfoundland, in about fifty degrees of north latitude; whereby

S. Docv 22,

- ^ / 2DI:

the French fishery shaU. commence at the said Cape ;Sti Jbhri, [Point
Riche,] shall go,round by the north,- and, g:oing down to the western
coast ofthe isWid of Newfoundland, shaU have for boundary the place
called Cape Ray,-situated ill forty-seyen degrees fifty minutes latitude.
. •
' . ' A R T . 4. The French fisher'men shall enjoy the fishery assigned
them by the foregoing article, as they have a right to enjoyit by virtue
ofthe treaty of Utrecht.
' " A R T . 5. His Britannic Majesty-will cede, in full right, to his MostChristian Majesty^the-islands of St Pierre and Miquelon.i
. :, .
. " A R T . 6. With regard to the right of fishing in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the. French shall continue to enjoy it conformably to- the 5th;
article of the treaty of Paris,"; [1763.] .
In the "declaration" on the part of/Great Britain, it is said,that—
: " I n order that the -fishermen of the two riations. may riot •
for daily quarrpls, his 'Britannic Majesty w.ill: take the; most positive
measures for preventing, his subjects frorii interrupting,in any manner,
by their competition,, the fishery of^the French, during.the temporary;
exercise oi it which is granted to them, upon the coasts, of the island'
of .Newfoundland:; and he will, for this purpose, cause the fixed settlements which shall be formed there: to be, remoyed.
" His < Britannic Majesty will give orders, that: the Freribh fishermen
be not iricommoded in cuttiiig the Wood nece.^saiy for the repair of their
scaffolds,, huts, and fishing-vessels. The 1.3th article ofthe treaty o.f
Utrecht, and the iriethod of .carrying on the fisheiy which has at all;.
tirries been acknowledged, shall bp the: plan upon which the fisheiy shall
be carried on there. lt:shall not be deviated from by either party—the
French fishermen building only their scaffolds, bpnfining. themselves tO;
the repair of their-fishing-vessels,, and. nbt'wintering there.; thp subjects,
of his/Brita^nnic Majesty, on their part, not mo.lesting, in any manner,
the Frerich fishernien during their fishing, nor irijuring their scaffbldsduring their absence. ' The King o.f Great Britairi, in ceding the.islands
of St. Pierre and ]\I-iquelori to Fraripe, regards them as -ceded for the
purpose of serving as a real shelter tb the French fishermen, and in full<
confiderice that these possessions will not becorrie an object of jeaiousy
bptween the twp nations, and that- the fishery between the said,:
is.lands and that: of Newfoundland shall be limited tp the middle of
the chanriel."
' .
' ,
-In the " counter declaration" on the part of France, it i s ; s a i d t h a t ^ . .
,." The King of .Great Britain undpubtedly places top much coiifidence
in the uprightness of his Majesty's intentions not to rely upon his con-,
stant, atteiition to prevent the islands of .St. Pierre and Miquelon from,
becoming an object of jealousy between the; two nations. As to the,
fisheiy on the coasts of Newtbundland, which ha.s been the object of
the new arrangements settled b y t h e two sovereigns upon this rnatter,
it is sufficiently, ascertained by the 5th article of the treaty of peace
sigried/ this day, and by the declaration likbwise delivered this day by.
his Britannic Majesty's ambassador extraordiiiaiy and plenipotentiary;
arid his Majesty declares that he is fully satisfied on this head. In regard to the fisWy" between the islarid of,Newfoundland and those of
St. Pierre and Miquelon, itis not to be carried on', by ej.thpr party, t u t


S. Doc. 22.


to the: middle of-the channel; and his Majesty will give the most posi-.'
tive orders that the French fishermen,shall- riot go beyond tliis'line.
His Majesty is firmly persuaded that tlie'King of Great Britain will
give like-Orders to the English
, :
The fishery at St. .Pierre, and Miquelon, at the period pf the French
- revolution, was in a prosperous coridition; but the corifusibn and distresses
of civil war soon produced a disastrous change, and: the fishing-grounds ^
W'^ere in a great degree abandoned for several years. In 1792, the •
number of men, employed both at Newfoundland and. Iceland was less
' than thirty-four' hundred.' .The hostile relations:with England'wliich'
- followed the domestic commotions caused additional misfortunes, uiitd
the peace of Amiens, iri 1802.'^
. '
I n t h e year 1800, by a treaty between the United States and.France,
concluded at Paris,- it was stipulated that "neither:party will interfere
with the fisheries pf the other on its coasts, nor-disturb the other in the
exercise of its rlghts^which it riow-holds^ or may acquire, on the coast
of Newfouridland', in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, or elsewhere on the
American coast northward pf the United States. But the whale and. seal
fisheries shall be free to both in every'quarterof the world." 'Napoleon,;
at>this.time, was "prernier corisul of the French republic;"
The French cod-fishery at Newfoundland was hardly re-established ^
. at tlie.pea.ce of Amiens, when renewed hostilities with England occasioned, fresh calamities. Until the downfall of Napoleon; in 1814,. this
branch of distant industry was pursued without vigor, and with severe
l o s s e s . [ '. .

: /.^^ •

f ''

. ,;-_

' •. •

• ,'


At t h e peace, a dejiutatipn of English, merchants and others connected with Newfoundland entreated .their'government to refuse to
France cpntinued rights pf fishing allowed under the treaties pf 1713,.'
of 1763, and of 1783. But the- British ministry,' aside' from, -general
considerations, regarded the restoration: of the-.Bourbons as ari teveiit of
momentous consequence to Europe,,and confirmed to France all her/
foreign possessions exactly as they stood .at the commencement of the
war. ' The Newfouridlaiid.cblonists. haye never ceased to.complain bf
the renewed eorppetitioa which this policy required, them to meet.
They contend that,whateyerwasthe opinion in 17S3,,thefishirig-grPurid.s
along the shores from Cape Ra}^ to Cape John, which are enjoyed b y
the French tothe exclusion of all others', are, in the judgm ent-of every
person competent to decide, the very best at Newfpundland; and they
further insist, by reason: of the advantages possessed by France and
the United States j that the Enghsh deep-sea fishery has been abandoned. . These and similar statements are to be fbund in official papers
and in private. letters, and are never omitted by the colonists in their"
conversa,tions on the subject of their
It may not be unkind to reply "that the French and American fisher* The fishing privileges which were continued to France were again the subject of complaint
at the peace of Amiens. The Right .Hon. William. Windham; in a siieechin Parhament, November 4,1801, said that, by the terms ofthe proposed peace, "France gives nothing; and, excepting
Trinidad and CeylOn, England gives everything;" and in the enumeration of cessions which
'-'tended only to confirm more and more the deep-despair in which he was plmiged in contemplating the probable consequences of the present treaty," he mentioned, "in North
America, St. Pierre and Miquelon, with a right to the fisheries in the jfallest-extent to which
they were ever claimed."
' . - ' .
-. •; - - " ''

S. Doc. 22.



men are industrious, and that there need be'np. other explanation bf
'their success., '
• "VThe insertion here of the thirteenth article of the treaty of Paris in
1814 is riot necessary. As. already intimated, the French were confirmed in the rights which they possessed preyious to the War. The
eleverith article of the- treat}^ of Paris in the followirig year, at the \
general pacification in Europe, reiterates the.confirmatipn... Reference,
therefore, to the-articles ofthe treaty of 1783, to the "declaration" and
"couriter declaration", recorded at length i n t h e proper connexion, wdll
a.ffbrd a perfect knowledge bf the present extent, liniitations, and localities of the fishing-grounds :of France; in the .American seas.
With peace came prosperil:y. In 1816, the French tonnage at -New-.
foundland w^as nearly thirty-one thousand-; the amount in. 1823,,however, appears to have been reduced nearly one-half. It rose suddenly,
and in a single year, to about thirty-seven thousand, and, increasing annually, except in 1825, w'as upwards of fifty thousand in 1829. In
the succeeding ten years the increase was only'five-thousand.
The number of" vessels employed in"i841 and two j^ears later.was
about four hundred; arid the nuniber of seameii in. 1847 was estiniEtted
at twelve thousand. , These facts,^oii which I rely, affbrd proof that the
Newfoundland fishery is now prose'cuted with energy and• success. T o
follow the statemeiits:pf the Enghsh colonists which are to be niet with'
in-official documents, the number bf men, engaged at St. Pierre -and
Miquelon,, and on various parts of the coast bptween Cape Ray an.d
</)ape John, should be computed at tweiity-five thousand. There-is
thp same au.thoril:y for estimating the annual catch of fish at one mil- .
lion of quiritals. '
I regard the yievvs of M. D. L. Rodet, of Paris, as far more accurate. He states that, '^without her colonies;^^ the cod-fishery would "be-,
come nearly extinct f that these coloriies ^''only consume annually eighty
thousand quintalsf^ that foreign nations '^scarcely iaJce a fifth'^\ oi the
catch; and that "it is by submitting to the exorbilant duties, which at
any moment may be changed into prohibition, that.the precarious and
tiifling market, in Spain is retained." -A very largeXproportion, then, .
of the produce of the cod-fisjiery is consumed in Frarice;. and"it is a
sufficient refutation of the estimate of the English colonists to say that,
'the quantity, remaining'after deducting the ^exports,-as computed^by
M. Rodet, is npt Wanted in, that kingdom.
• ,
The-number vpf vessels ;since the peace of .1815 has not exceeded
four hundred, except inthe single, year of 1829; and, assuming that
the statement in discussion is correct,these vessels employed an average
of sixty men'each, or double the nunibet which, as a!!! persons familiar
with the business well, know, is riecessary on .board as fishermen, or pri
shore as "shoresmen." The same,fallacy, exists;as to the catch; for a
million of quintals for four hundred vessels . is twenty-five hundred
quintals tb-each, or coiisiderabty more than double the "mean quantity"
caught by the Vessels of any flag" in the world. To allow liberally, for
the "catch of the "boat fishery," and to corislder "boat fishermen" as
iiicluded in the estimate,-1 cannot think that the figures of.the Eriglish
colonial documents^ are accurate by quite oiie-ha:lf If further evidence
of exaggeration" be wanted, it ma.y be found iii the grave assertions oi



S. Doc. 22.

the same writers that our own vessels fishing in .the .waters of British
America are manned with upwa:rds of thirty-seven thpusand men, and
catch in a year one and a half millions of quintals of fish! T h e statements thus refuted are of consequence, as .will be.seen,in
another partof this report.
Equally exaggerated are the averments that ^the French and American fisheries, "bolstered up by bounties and prohibitions," have " a s
cpmpletely swept"'^ the Enghsh flag from the Gmnd Bank' of Newfoundland " a s if Lord had conceded the exclusive right"
in 1814, or as if the .'-'combined fleets of "France arid America had
forced i t " to Tetreat to ^"the in-shore or boat .fishery;'' and that-the,
"„ French and, A rnericans, haying takeri possession oi the, Grand Bank,"
have, by so dpirig, "extendedJiiies of circuniyallatlona:nd contravallar
tion round the island, preyenting the ingr.ess or egress of fish to and
from the shore,^ and, according to the opinions of those best 'qualified^
tp judge, greatly injuring the in-shbre fi.shery—the only fishery left to
British subjects; and that only to a.pprtipn of the island"
, Deferring a full answer to. these, poriiplalnts until t h e :subject of colonial allegations.relative to our own aggressions; and violat'ipns of our,
treaty rights are considered in detail, the only answer necessaiy to be
made here is, simply, that the "ingress" and." egress df fish t p and from
the shore" has not entirely ceased, as yet, since the export of codfish frorn
the English Newfoundlarid'fisheiy amounts t o nearly one millipn . pf
quintals annually! . The lamentations of a people who, thpugh "com-,
pletely. swept" from their own: outer' fishing-grpunds, still show, by.
their own returns of the 'customs, that they have sold, between 1841 and,
1849," both iriclusive, < m.ean quantity of nine hundred and sixty-seven^'
thousand quintals, (tp be exact in the statistics) annually, may wbll excite
a sriiile."
That the charge against the ..French fishermen of trespassing upoh
the fishing-grpunds reserved, to British subjects is true, to a corisidpra-'
ble degree, riiay. be admitted. Her Majesty's ahips-of-war have sdrii'etimes., found them aggressors, npt only at Newfoundland, but on the;
coast of Labrador Troubles from this source-occurred in 1842; 'arid,
in the following year the .British slopp-of-war:Electra, in endeavoring^
to drive off a vessel -fishing, pn the-south.v^e.stejrly shore bf Newfoundland;, urifortunatply Idlled one
wounded others pn bo.ard of
her. it appears that the Electrai was bn the, station -fpr the purpose of
pnforcing the, treaty stipulations; that bne of her boats gave-chase to
the French vessel, and, not being able to come up \yith her, fired acrpss
her bow? for the, purpos'e of bringing her to;' thatj not having acconi, plished this object, another shot .was fired oyer her, which, proving .as
ineffectual as the'first, was followed, by order of the officer in charge,
by a shot, aimed directly on bo.ard, and producing. the:results .mentioned.
The affair created riiuch excitement at the m.o merit.- A french-frigate
arrived at the capital to demand explanations, apd the governor of
Newfoundland immediately'sent a despatch to the-ministry " a t home,'.'
stating the facts of the, case.. The offeiice,''in this instance,, consisted•
merely in taking bait, on the shorp.not withiri the limits 'prescribed for
yessels pf the .French j3ag by the treaties of 1713 and of 1783.. The
officer in. command of the Electra's boat is said, by.the .colonists, to

K Doc. 22.


have acted In accordance w^ith the rules of t h e service ;:but a coritrary
opinion was expressed by the French.'* ' '
The '.'Bultow" system of fishing is clearly in violatioii of treaty
stipulations. Prior to the peace of 1815, there is good reason to believe
that both French and English fished from the. decks of their vessels,
.without comingtoariphor, ;and without lines moored with several thousand baited hooks attached thereto, as at.present. There is much difference of opinion ,as to the degree of injury to the shore, or English
fishery, on this account; but:since the question is one to be settled
entirely by the ";declaration" in 1783—namely, that " t h e method of
carrying on the fishery which has at all times been, acknowledged .shall
be the plan upon which the fisheiy shall be carried on there," and that
"it shall not be deviated from by either party,"—-there need be no
inquiry into' any other" matter. The "plaii" of the " Bultbw" had not
^\at all times been a-cUiowledged'''' iri 118'd/^lid it is therefore an aggression. '
• . ,
' ...
The last complaint-' of the English cblonists which I shall, notice is,
that "the exclusive right bf fishing exercised by the French from Cape
Ra}^ to Cape John is a usurpation." . The/'declaration" just referred
to w a s framed expressly t h a t " the fishermen of the two nations may
• not give cause :for daily quarrels ;" and different fi^shing-grounds were
assignedto each, to accoiriplish,a:n bbject,so desirable to both./ MofPlover, the British minigtry engaged to remove "the fixed settlements"
of their pwn people within .the limits: pie scribed to the French, and
actually issued orders for the purpose soon .after the cori elusion bf the
• treaty. The intention was, I pannot doubt, that vessels of the two
flags should never pursue the cbd on die same coasts ; and unless the
words .quoted convej this meaning, they mean nothirig.'.^ The experience of more than a century had shoAvii,that, under any other arrange* The French fishermen sufiered much att-he hands of the British officers who guarded the
coasts in 1852. , A colonial newspaper contained the following/account:
' '
" I t appears that, the Charles,:under the command of James Tobin; esq., commissioner of
'fisheries, jias been doing service at Belleisle, where, onthe ultimo, there were about one
hundred/French: fisherrnen, \\lth about ihirty batteaux, who were just "commencing their an«nual invasion of British rights., Mr. Tobin immediately ran^'down to H. M. brig Sappho to ob-,
tain help, as James Finlay had not then, arrived with his crew. His messenger had to travel
seven miles over land on the night of that day,' and by half-past eleven of the same night"returned with an intimation from Capt. Cochran that he.would land the required force My day-,
light oh the following; day in Black Joe Cove, whither Mr. Tobin then proceeded with the
Charles/and ibund that the Frenchmen had been; already routed by the men,of the, Sappho,
a:nd: were running iii .their batteaux under reefed foresail and inainsailr-the wind blowing hali^
a gale at the time. Tlie Charles escorted them round the island :of Belleisle, and then left
th.em, without one fish, to mahe the best of their way in a pelting storm to.Quirpon."
Near the close ofthe season, another colonial-newspaper stated that—:
," Thfe Vigilance brig-of-war vessel, on the coast of Newfoundla,nd, has damaged the French
'fisheries very much. Fifty vessels .of the tieet in the straits of Belleisle ;will return home, having
eighty thousand quintals short of last year's catch."
. These .proceedings, it would seem, w^ere authorized,by the ministry, under tlie general plan
adopted in • 1852 to/prevent encroachinents bn the fishing-grounds. Admiral Sej^mour, in a
letter to. the .governor of Newfoundland, remarks .that-^
.' .
, "Her Majesty's government are so desirous that ample means shpuld be given to check the
numerous encroachments ^v•hich have-been represented to have taken place in.the last years at
Belleisle and the.coast of Labrador, that I am further authorized to hire and empiloy some
small'Schooners, for which I am to provide oflicers and :men, for -the purpose of carrying the
l)bject of her Majjesty's gdvernment fully into etfect on the coast of Labrador, under the direc "
tion of the captain ofthe ship or stea^mer there employed:"

S. Doc. 22.


ment, ^'daily quarrels" would be inevitable. I submit, with deference,
that the interest of all parties imperatively requires that people of different origiri, language,, and religion, and of national prejudices almost
inyiricible, should be kept apart.
• ° . •
The French government wisely protect their fisheries by bounties^—
wisely consider them of national Importance.*- Without its aid, they ,
. admit that "the-cod^fishery could not exist." This fisheiy, says M.
Senac, " i s a.productive iridustry; and it furnishes more than a fifth part
of the' whole number of our seamen, dndby f a r .the best /portion of them.
There is no cheaper, better, or more useful school for the formation of seamen
for the navy., and none is more capable of extension and development. ' The
doubling of the consumption and' exportafion of the produce of .the fisheries
would furnish our fleets with twelve thousand more secimen.'^^ •
W e have seen tha:t when, iri 1778, France pur revolutionary struggle, her fisherrrieri, absent at Newfouridland, wererecalled
to enter her ships-of-war. The same reliance is placed upon them
,now. W a r was apprehended in 184.1, and M.- Thiers foUowed the example, of the statesmen referred, to ;vand M. Rodet affirmed that,
"without the' resources which were found in the sailors engaged in the fish,, eries, the expedition to Algiers could not have.takenplace/'^
These reasons; are/not only sufficient to justify, but to demand,
national'encouragemerit. / B u t it m a y b e urgediin addition, that the
open or deep-sea cod-fishery differs'from almost> every other employment;, that in w^ar it is:nearly or quite destroyed; that in peace it
cannot be pursued for more than four 'or-five months in a year; that


The National Assembly of France has passed'a law of the following tenor relative to the
greatmaritimefisheries.—June:24th, 9th and 22d July,,185i.
/ '
C A P . I.—.CoD-FisHERY.


Froni the 1st January, 1852, to the 30th June, 1861, the bounties granted for the encourage
ment of the cod-fishery, will be fixed as follows:
Ist.—^Bounty on the outjit—;
Fifty franca per man of the crew employed at the fishery, either on the coast of Newfoundland, ^at St. Peter's and Miquelon, or on the Grand Baiik, and possessuig. a drying-place.
Fifty trancs per man of the crew employed in the Iceland fishery, without a drying-place.
' Thirty francs per man of the crew employed, at'the fishery On the Grand ^Bank of Newfoundland, and \vithout a drying-place.
Fifi:een fraiics per man ofthe crew employed at the Dogger Banli
o •
2di.-^BoiLnty on'the produce of the Jishery-—^
Twenty, franc's per metric quintal of dry codfish, the produce qf t h e French fishery, to be
shi23ped, either direct from the lishing settlements or from the ports of France, for the mai^kets
of the French coloriies of America, arid India, or for the settlements on the west coast of
Africa, and other transatlantic countries—provided, always, that the fish be landed at a port
where there is'a French consul. •
' ' , . - . ' <
. •
•Sixteen francs.per metric quintal of dry codfish, the produce of the French fishery, shipped
either direct from the .fishing settlements or from the ports of France, and destined-for the
countries of Europe and the foreign states on the shores of the Mediterranean, Sardinia and
-Algeria being excepted. ;
, ^
' ^. 'SLxteen francs per metric 'quintal of dry codfish, the produce of the French fishery, that
may be imported into the French coloriies of Arnerica and India, and other transatlantic coimtries, when said-fish are exported from the ports of France ^vitllout haying been there landed.
Twe'lye^francs per metric quintal of dry codfish, the produce .of-the French fishery, shipped
for Sardinia and Algeria,- either^direct from the fishing settlenients or from the .ports of France.
Twenty francs per metrie quintal of the hard roe of codfish, the produce of the French fish,ery, brought-into ^France by their,fishing-vessels.r
: /
' .'/
Note.—One kilogramme is: equal to 2 lbs. 3|oz.; 220^ lbs. equal to 1 quintal metrique,
(say metiic qiiintal.)
,- , , .
• '
. / ,.''

S. Doc. 22.


often skill and indus.try are insufficient fo insure good fares; and that,
.when success attends.severe toil and exposure, the fishermen barely
subsist.: The effects of a " b a d catch" are, indeed, sacl and calamitous.
-The disasters of 1847 a.ffbrd a recent and a forcible illustration. T n
• that year the French cod-fishery proved a failure. The quantity of fish
caught was. scarcely a:sixth part pf that of former seasons-; and the
fisherriieii, discouraged, "abandoned the busiriess as early as'the middle
of August. / T h e labor pf the summer and the expenses of repairs and
of outfits lost, the actual want, of food and clothing until another year
came round was alone prevented by the bounty allowed- by the government;
. • ':
'• .
The m^anner of fishing is now the only tbpic that need claim attenr
tiori. It is to be observed that the principal fishing-grourids are three,
and that on each there i^ a difference j n tfie mpde of operations and in
the size of the'vessels. First,-the "fishery on the'coasj^i^ "of Newfpuiidlahd, w.hich has always been considered the most irnportant, as beirig
more certain and employing the greatest' number pf men. , The
vessels are of all sizes-^-from thirty to two hundred, and even three
hundred tons: T h e latter • size is, however, rare. When the vessel
iarrives on the coast, which is generally early in-June, she is'dismantled. Her bpats, with two men and a boy'in"each, are' sent out
every morning, .when the weather will permit, t o fish until night. On
the return .in-.the ..evening, the fish taken are spht, salted, and, put .in
"facAas" or'piles; remaining in piles a few da3^s, they are '.'washed
p u t " and. dried until they ^are'fit to ship. These processes-are repeated, from day to da,y until the fare is completed, or the season has
passed away. , TowardsHhe close of September, fishing is.suspended,
arid the vessels depart for France or the West Indies..
The Graiid .Ba:nk fishery is pursued in vessels of between one and
two hundred tons burden,-with two strong'chaloupes,'or boats, to each.^
From sixteen to'twenty meu- compose a crew. Thp. vessels propeed
first to St."Pierre, land the shore-fishermeri and "curers,"" and thence
take position on the banks, anchoring in severity or eighty fa^thoms of
water. Eyery thing in readiness, thechaloupes are launched and sent;
put at night to place the"ground-lines," to which.are attached some
four or five thousand hooks. When not tpo boisferous, these.lines are
examined every day, and the fish attached to the hooks split, salted, and
placed in the hbid of the vessel. Meanwhile, the fish ca:ught on board
by the riie.n not assigned to the boats are treated in the same way.
The first faire is usually secured iri June, and carried to St. Pierre to
be dried. The second fare is cured at the sarrie place; but the third—
if fortunately there be another-^—is commonly carried to France "green."
This fishing is. difficult and' dangerous.. It requires expert and daring
men. It, is prosecuted in an open, rough, and often astbrmy sea, and
frequently involves''s of boats and. their, crews.
The third fisheiy, at St^Pierre and Miquelon, is similar, in some respects, to that between Cape Ray and Gape Jbhn, on the coast of
-Newfoundland. Boats, Instead of vessels, are, however, employed in
it. The boats of the two islands are between three ^and four hundred
iri number, a.nd require two men "to each. They go out in the morning
and return at night. Thus, as in all shore-fisheries,ihe fishermen always


S. Doc. 22.

'sledp at their own honies. . As this is the only business of the islands
-nearly all the men, women, and children are engaged in catching or
curing. ' T h e ' s e a s o n opens-in April, and closes usually in October.
We have seen the impbrtance attached by France to her immense
American domains and with what pertinacity- she maintained her pretensions to the monbpoly of the fishing-grpunds. It remains to speak
mote particularly than has yet been done of the.two lone, bare,' and
rocky islands that remain to her-as monuments of the vicissitude's of
hrimaii cpndition and oftotiohal humiliation.
The situation of St. Pierre and Miquelon commands the entrance of
the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The growth of wood is insufficient even
for fuel. They produce no food, and the irihabitants are dependent'onFrarice and pther cpuntries for supplies.^ . The population of St., Pierre
;in 1847.was 2,030,. of^ about one-quarter was "floating", or
-iion-reside.nt. The population, of Miquelon at the same.- time was 625.
/ There are several Catholic churches, and schools, priests, rnonks,
^arid nuns. . In 1848, a hospital, sufficiently commodious to receive upwards of one huridred sick .persbris, was., erected.. The dwellings are
of wood. The governmerit-house, is of the same material, and plain knd
'old-fa.sliioned. The streets are rianow, short, and dirty! The official
perspnages are a governor, a coirimissary or minister 6i marine, a. harbor-master,- and some inferior functionaries. - The militaiy, liiiiited by
treaty to fifty men, consist of .about thirty g-e^z^ d'armes. Upon the station is a single armed ship, though other armed vessels are dcca,sibrial
visiters. The .present hght-house' was erected inTS45,- at a cost of
•:80,00,0. francs, and, well built of brick, is-a substantial.edifice.....
Such are the TWO ISLANDS-—TWO LEAGUES IN EXTENT—which remain
to the power that once possessed the whole country bordering on the Mississippi,:the limitless regions penetrated b y the St. Lawrence,—^^Acadia,
-from Canseau,' in Nova Scotia, to the,Kennebeckjiver, in Maine; the
,, island of Cape: Breton;' and the hundred othef'isles of the baj^s of- the
nbrthern and eastenvpossessioris. ^

S.: Doc. 22...


French cod-fishery.
Years. -

No. of


1527 . . . .
•.. .^
.- .
. 400
: . • - 100
. . . . :.^ .•.....341
„ 38,938
45, 094
1831 . .
1839 •
1843 . . : . . . .

Number of

.Quintals of

Value. -




• 200, 000

- ':7,ooo

S, 108;
6, 672
6, .243
10, 000 •
• 10,000



426, 400






Participating iri the excitement which prevailed in Europe on the
discovery in the American seas of varieties of fish riot previously known
or used in the fasts of the Roman church, Spain an earty competitor with France and England." Vessels of lier flag were cer.tainly at
Npwfoundland as soon as the year 1517. Sixty years later,, the number of her vessels emploj^ed in the fishery there is estimated, a t o n e
hundred. The number rapidly diminished. Sylvester Wyat, of Bristol, England, who made a voyage to the St. Lawrence and New-foundland in 1593, found only eight Spanish, ships in a fleet of upwards
of eighty sail of French and English vessels. From the remarks of
Smith—who became the father of Virginia—it would seem that in the
early part ofthe seventeenth century, the Spanish fisheiy was pursued
with greater vigor than at the.time last mentioned. But the greater
wealth tq be acquired in the gold regions of South ^Ameriea soon lured
the Spaniards from an avocation of so gi'eat toil, and of so uncertain
rewards. -No controversy between Spain and England as. to their respective rights to. the fishing grounds, ever-arose.




S. D:GC. 2.2.

Spain retired from our w^ater.s in pea,ce, and at her own pleasure.
Little is heard of her in connexion with our subject-for quite a centuiy,
and until the peace of vl763. Her claim-—resting on discovery—ever
vague and uncertain at. the north, had become almost as obsolete as
that of the King of England to the title of King of France. Still, in the
definitive treaty concluded at Paris, she formally renounced " a l l pretensions which ,she has heretofore formed, or might form, to Nova
-Scotia or Acadia, in all its parts, .a.nd guaranties the whole of it, and
with all its dependencies," arid ceded and guarantied tO-Eiiglaiid, " in
full right, Canada, with all its dependencies', as well as the island.of
•Cape Breton, and all other islaiids and coasts in the gulf and river of
St. Lawrerice; and, in general, everything that depends on the said'
countries, lands,, islands, and cpasts, with the sovereignty, property,
possession, and all ^rights acquired by treaty or otherwise." With this
treaty the histoiy of the Spanish fisheiy in America terminates.* " ^*
'" *

An account ofthis fisheiy may be embraced in a single ;paragraph, exist by v/hicli to ascertain its progress and final extent, I
have not been able t o £ n d them.
Portuguese vessels were at Newfoundland as early as those of Spain;
and in 1577, the nuiriber employed there is estimated at fifty. .These
t\yo facts comprise the substance of riiy information, upon the subject,
except that Portugal, like Spain, soon abandoned all attentiori tothe
(claims derived from the vo^^ages of her navigators to the northern parts
: of our cpntinent,-and devoted her energies and resources to cplonizatipn
in 'South America, and the acquisition of wealth in/the mines of Brazil.t
* Spain relinquished, her rights at the peace of 1763, with reluctance, though she had long
ceased to exercise them. A letter of Sir Joseph Yorke is quoted in the correspondence' of
Horace Walpole, in which it is said: "By what I hear from Paris, my,old acquaintance, -Grimaldi, is the cause ofthe delay in signing.the.preliminaries, insisting upon points neither Franc.e
nor England would ever eonsent to grant, such as the^ liberty of fishing at Newipundland; a
, point we should not dare to yield, as Mr. Pitt told them, though they wer'e masters of the Tower
of London." '
t The rivers and coasts of Ppitugal abound in fish. But the fi.sherie3 are neglected by the
goverament. The whole nuiriber of sailors and fishermen who belonged to the,kingdera in
1826, was only 18,700. I find in an bf-iicia;i document a statement which -shows that during the
twenty-four years ending in 1825, the quantity of dry codfish-imported intoiPortugal.was-seyen
. mplion five hundred and twenty thou.? and quintals, ofthe value of more . than thiity-nine
m'iliioris of dollars! As late as the year 1839, certa.iiily, the government pursued the policy of
• levying a tax or duty oh the produce ofthe domestic or coast fishery; a fact iwbich enables us
to- account for the miserable condition of the kingdom, as regards, its' maritime: strength :and
' resources.
• •\
• . ^

S...Doc 22.

:••:' P A R T I I .





' •-'^- • . '
•-'• • • .

• -















Newfoundland is the .pldbst/coloiiy of England jii America. , It is
•said that in the public library of "v'Miice there is a map,, constructed:by
Andrea Bianco, in 1436, which" authbiizes^
conjecture that .it was
knowii to fishermen before the voyage'bf CaJ>ot,/n 1497. ^The story,
to state its substance in a w^ord, is, that tlit island/S corafixa, or S to xafixa, on the map, arid the island of Newfou'ridlalid,'^ are identical, because thp codfish is called stockfi,sh in the nor therii languages.
The .English resorted to Iceland* for the cod, previous tp the year
* The Icelanders, at the present time, derive their chief subsistence andprofit frbmi the sea.
They live principally on the shores and harbots, wherefishare plentiful. The fishing seasonfcommences in February, and closes in.May. The fishermen wear a dress ofileather, rubbed over
with train-oil untifit is nearly irhpeiwious to-water. They fish with line and hooks, baited
with. shell-fish, or pieces of flesh. They have lately become acquainted \^lth nets, .and use
them in the herring fishery. When they leave the shore they take off" their hats, and offer, up
a petition for succes.s, and recommend themselves to the iJivine protection in a prayer or
liymu. They, then row to the fishing grounds, and continue t h e r e .all day. In 1804 the total
number, of boats employed v/as twenty-one hundred and sixty-three, namely: 208, with eight
and ten oaj-'s; 1,068^ with four and six oars; and 887 of smaller size. Bessestaar is the scat'
of a'good academy, with a collection (in 1826) of fifteen hundred volumes, which, says Malto
Brun, " is no doubt the rnost northern library in the world." Iceland, he observes, " produces '
no salt;. Hut the water of the surrounding seals lldly as saline as that of the Mediterranean.
The salt vv^hich the Icelanders obtain from it gives a bluishtirit to fish." , '
Reikiavik,' according to another writer, was selected as the seat of government "for the convenience ofits harbor, and for the gravel beach—a thing of rare occurrence In Iceland." Th©exports of fish from,Reikiavik, in 1806, were much larger than from, any Other place. / '
The Dutch cod-fishery is of importance..
" . • " • ' •



. [Translation.]



No. 13.-^Actof Qith March, 1818, for the encoiiragemeiit of the Iceland cod-fishery.
We, Wilham, by the.grace of God King of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange Nassau, Grani
, ,
^ , Duke of Luxembourg, &c.
. '
Be it known to all those who shall see these presents,, or hear them read, greeting:
Censidering that the little,-or Iceland, cod-rfishery has been.continually.supported and. encouraged by premiums out of the public treasiiry in behalf of those who carry on this branch
of industry, so important to the .prosperity of the country;
And that the reasons vihich, in former times, pleaded for the allov/ance of thosex>remiuins,
have still, at the present time, their full force and weight:
^, _ We have therefore heard our council of state, and; with the advice of the States General,
do hereby decree and direct:
ARTICLE I There shall be paid, out of the public treasury a premium of five hundred guild
ers for every voyage of each ship, which, for account of our sulije'cts, is fitted out in .this
kingdom, and shall sail from one ofits ports during the years 1818,1819, and 1820, for Iceland,
to carry on the little fisliery-—that is, the ood-fishe'ry^—bet-ween the -sixtyfifchand sixty-sevenfc,
degrees of north latitude.


S. Doc

22-. .

1415, but there is no- account of their, fishing at Newfoundland prior t&
1517. Some writers suggest that the French commenced at the same
time. But the fact, genera:lly admitted, that ships from Englandy
France, Spain, and Portugal, to the number of fifty, w ere employed io
1517, is alone sufficient to show that the fishing grounds had been visited
for several years. Indeed, to consider that the French Went to New^-foundland for the first time In 1504, and that in thirteenyears, and in,;,
the infancy of distant and perilous vo5^a.ges, their adventures hadr-at^:
traded the attention of three other nations to the extent just stated, isto allow an increase of flags and of vessels so rapid as to still require
explariation, without a knowledge of the fishing enthusiasm of the period. Besides, some forty or fifty houses for the 'accommodation of fishermen were built;at Newfoundland as,early as,1522.
, A letter is preserved in the Membir of Sebastian Cabot* written by
John Rut to Henry the Eighth, and dated at St. John, Newfoundland,
August .3,1527, w^iich'seemingly warrants the conclusion that the English fishery, at th'at tiriie, w^as of little consequence, since lie slates that
he found ^'eleven saile of Normans, and one Brittalne, and tvro Portugall barkes'^'in'that harbor, but makes'mention of no others, and jpro- ,
poses to sail along the coast to " m e e t e " the only vessel of his own flag
knpwn by be in that region.
• Ari effort to found a colony was made, however, in 15.36, under, the
auspices and at the expense of Mr. Here, a wealthy merchant of London. A company of one hundred and twenty persons was formed, of
whom thirty were gentlemen of education and character. They arrived, at Newfoundland, but accomplished nothing. Man^^ perished'of
starvation. The survivors fed on the bodies of the dead, and finally
reached England.
,. i
Twelve years later, w^e find that the fishery was considered of great
natlorial importance, and worthy of legislative encouragement. Thus,
an^ act was passed by Parliament imposing severe penalties on persons
eating flesh on fish-daj's. The punishment, for the first offence ,was a
fine of ten shillirigs, ten days' imprisonment, arid abstinence-fi-om meat
during the same time; while for the second,'these inflictions weredoubled. The sick and aged, to whom flesh-was necessar37-, were exempted on obtaining licenses from the ecclesiastical authorities.*
Another act, of 1548, and remarkable as the first of England which
ART. II. In cases where pajrticulai: circumstances have occurred during the voyage, we reserve to ourselves the regulatibn of the premium in such-a manner aa those circumstances
may-deem to require.- '
/ '
We order and command that the present shall be inserted in the State paper, and that all
ministerial departments and authorities, colleges'and officers, are charged with the due* execution of these presents.
Given in (Grrayenhague, (Hague,) the 6th March, m the year 1818, in.the fifth of our reign:

Bythe King: A. R. Falk.



* A license to eat meat on fish-days is too great a curiosity,, in our time, to be omitted. The a copy of one, granted in the reign of James the First, of England:
* Whereas Mr. Richard. Young, of Okeboiime St. George, in the countye of Wiltes, Es*
quire, is a Gent.-of good age, subject" to many sicknesses, diverse infirmities, and in bodye of
a. very .weak constitution, aud hath with him in his house his mother, Mris. Ann Young*
widowe, a Gent, of great age (above tour.score) very sicklye, feeble, and subject to diuerse
maladies, and having others in his house sicke, and have long bme, to whom /sArby:reason of

' S. Doc- 22. .


'relates to America, h a d special reference to Newfouridiaiid; arid t o t h e
a b u s e s that existed there. I t s p r e a m b l e is quaint. " F o r a s m u c h , ' - it
c o m m e n c e s , " as within these f e w y e e r e s now last past there have bene
levied, perceived, a n d taken b y certain, oflicers of the admiraltie, of
such marchants a n d fishermen as h a v e used a n d practised the advent u r e s and journeys Into Iceland, Newfoundldud,\Ireland, a n d other
places commodious for fishing, .and the getting of fish, in a n d upon t h e
seas a n d ' o t h e r w i s e , b y v^ey of iiiarcharits iri those partees, divers great
exactions, as summes of money, doles.or shares of fish, a n d such other
like, things, to t h e great: discouragement a n d hindrance o f t h e same
m a r c h a n t s and fishermen, a n d to no, little damriiage of the whole com^monwealth, and thereof also great complaints have bene made, a n d infbrmations also .3^er.elyto the .King's Majesties most honorable couricell;
for reformation whereof," &c., &c. F r o m this period, a n d in conseq u e n c e of t h e measures" adopted,, r e w a r d s to officers of the government
Tvere discontinued, and: the Newfpundland fishery^became entirely free
to every inhabitant of the realm.
It is ol interest to r e m a r k t h a t t h e foreign t r a d e of E n g l a n d w a s then
limited t© the Flemish towns, a n d to t h e fishing grounds. T o extend
commerce b y still further encourage ment to the branch of industry before us, a curious act of P a r h a m e n t w a s passed in 15 6 3 , w h i c h provided
^'that as well f o r the maintenance of shipping, the increase of fishermen and
marines, a n d tJie repairing of port'towm, as f o r the sparing 'of the fresh
Mctual of the realm, it shall'not be law/iil f o r any one to eat flesh on Wednesdays a n d SaMrdays,"^ unless under, the forfeiture^ of <£3 f o r each offence,
.excepting in cases of sicJcness and those, of special licenses to ke obtained/^
JFor these hceiises peers w e r e r e q u i r e d to p a y a b o u t six dollars, knights
.and^ their wives aliout three dollars, a n d other persons one dollar and a
half; but neither peer nor commoner could eat beef on the t w o prohibited d a y s . A s will b e r e m e m b e r e d , this was-a sort of transition period
in religion; and, fearing that t h e a c t would b e considered as yopish, it
w a s provided that '^whoever shall, b y preaching, teaching, writing, or
open-speech, notify that a n y eating of flsh, or forbearing of flesh, mentioned in. this statute, is of a n y necessity for t h e seiving of the soul of
theire age, sicknesses and diuerse infirmiles,.is iudged by the skilfiil (as I ain informed) to b@
'very hurtfull tb their bodies, and likelye to breede and brirag diuerse diseases and sicknesses
. .upon them,: They therefore haue requeste,me,- theire minister, the promises considered, to
jgive and g.rant them liceiise, thistime of Lent, to eate flesh, for the better avoidinge of sicknesses and 'diseases which, by their absteyning fro flesh, might growe uppon thein: Know ye,
therelbre, that I Adam Blythe, Mr. of Arts and of Okebourne aforesaid,. Viccar, duelye considering, this theire so lawfull request, and tendering the helth and wellfare of the said Mr.
'Richard Young and Mris. Ann Young, his. naturall and aged mother, have given and granted,
and by these presents do^give and.grant to "the said,Mr. Richard Young and Mris. Ann Young,
and to "ffoure persosis more, leave, power and license, (so farras in me lieth, and by lawe safely
I may without danger, and no further) to dresse or cause to be.dressed,.for them to eate,flesh
this time of Lent no.we following, prohibitinge neuer thelesse, andbyfhis grant forbidding them,
<?// vfanner of s/iamble iheates wha.tsoever. -In witness whereof,.to this present license I have
put to niy hand and .scale. Dated and given, at my. house m Okebourne aforesaid,fiebruary
Cihis xnithe, 1618,
- •'
By me, ADAM BLYTHE, the Viccar ibid." .

' , * Palgrave, in hk History of the Anglo:Saxons, observes of the origin of the names offthe
-days of the week in tlie Saxon mythology, that "Lastly came Saeter, from whom Saturday is
eamed. He was represented as standing upon a fish, and he held a .bucket in his hand-, scv
tJaat he .a-pp.ears to have been a water deity."—London ed.., p. 53.



S: Doc. 22.

man,- or that It is the service of God otherwise thari as other politic lawsare and be, then such persons shall be punished as spreaders of false
riews ought to be." Such were tile nieans adbpted to increase "shipping" in the infancy of English navigation.
These laws were speedity followed by others. .In 1571, fishermen of
the realm were permitted t o export sea-fish free of the customs ; while
the same j^ear, and by another act, fbreigri fishermen anchoring on the
English coast, pr interfering in waters, where nets were used, were
liable to seizure and confisctoon.
Meantime the Newfoundland fishery was prosecuted with great vigor.
The number of yessels employed in it, of various flags, is estimated at
three hundred and fifty or four hundred. The ships of France and
Spain, in 1577, were much more numerous than those pf Erigland, for^
the reason, a s i s stated,that the English merchants still sent a part of
their vessels to Iceland. It appears, however, that the English-ships
Were the best; that they gave protection to those of other nations, and
exacted tribute or payment fbr the service. The whole commercial
marine consisted of only 1,232 vessels in 1582, of which 217 were
upwards of SO tons. To assume that the fifty then visiting Newfoundlarid were of the latter class, is tb state that nearly one quarter part of
the navigation of England, suitable for distant voyages,'wa^s employed
in fishing. ,
In 1583 Sir Humphre}^ Gilbert, under the first charter that passed
the great seal oi England fir colonization in America, arrived at New-.
foundland.. He found thirty-six Vessels ' iri the harbpr of St. John of
different nations, and was refused entrance; but Pn hearing that he
had a commission from Queen Elizabeth, they submitted.
He took possession o f t h e island with great pomp and ceremony,
and granted lands and privileges to fishermen in fee, on conditibn of
the payment of quit-rent. It is impbrtarit to remark that the right .of
Erigland to Newfpundland and its fishing-grounds rests on the discovery of Cabot, in 1497, and on the possession of Gilbert at this time.
Sir Huriiphrey was accompanied by smiths, shipwrights, masons,
carpenters, "mineral men," and refiners, and, to win the.s.avages, toys,
such as morris-dancers .and hobby-horses, were provided in ample
quantities. The crews of his vesselsv and, indeed, some of the artisa:iis, were desperate men. The seamen on board of his own ship,
the Swallow, were, it is said, chieflj^ pirates. Poorly clad, and fall ing
in with a French vessel returning frorri the fishing-ground, they"determined to Tob . her to supply their wantsi Thej^ not orily executed
their purpose, by stripping their victims bf their clothing ancl of articled
of food, but, by winding cords round their heads, produced such exquisite torture as lo" extort the surrender of their most hidden stores.
After a short tarry at Newfoundland, Sir Plumphrej'- sailed for England. On the passage his vessel encountered a fearful gale, and he,
and all on board perished. He deserves honorable mention in our
annals. He was the first great projector of an American colony, and
a virtuous and enlightened man, and impoverished himself and injured
his friends, and finally lost his life, in his endeavors to piant the Anglo
§axon race in the western hemisphere. •. .
Assu-niing full title to the island and the fisheries, the English seem^

, S.. Doe. 22v



for the moment, to have attempted,to exclude the vessels pf other nations, or, at least, tp have compelled an acknowledgment of subjectioii
to them as vested with proprietary rights. W e find that, in 1585, a
fleet of shipsunder Sir Bernard Drake made prizes of several vessels
laden with fish and-furs, which he serit to England.
. Sir Humphrey Gilbert's vby age, disastrous as it was to himself and
Co others,'Vv^aS: still the direct means of exciting the attention of his
countrym,en to adventures, .which, by virtue of' his patent, could be
made under the. protection of the crpwn, as to a British ppssession. I
incline to; believe that the Newfoundland' fisheiy had never yet become •
the favorite of the English merchants.
' ,
B y t h e statute-book there were one hundred and fifty-three days in'
-a, year o a which British subjects were required to abstain from flesh,
a.nd to eat fish, arid the demand for the products of the sea w^as, ofcourse, immense. But the Iceland fishery was still prosecuted; andj
diat her people niight not be molested there, Queen Elizabeth condescended, to ask the foi-bea:rarice'aiid- protectibn of Chistian IV of Denmark, who claimed the Iceland seas as bis own.
The observance- of the interdictions as to flesh oil'fish-days was
deemed of great moment, and among the tracts of the time was-one
by Erswick, who demonstrated the "benefits that grow tp this
realm," by reason thereof, in term;s, that show he was a devoted parti-'
san of the "fishmongers."
The progress ofthe Newfoundland fishery during the ten years end- *
ing ill 159;3 was rapid .beyond example, and Sir Walter Raleigh declared in the House of Commons that it was the stay and support of
A e west; counties of .England:. .Yet it was subject to interruptions.
An, example occurs in the case of Charles Leigh, a merchant of London, who, im 1597, made a voyage with two vessels, a:iid who, while
on the American coast, was assailed by the crews of French vessels,
to the nurnber ofHwo hundrerl,.who, landing pieces of ordnance, kept
up. a discharge of shot until a .parley w^as held and the difficulty adjusted;.,
, .,
Asthe sixteenth ceiitury closes, we record the commeiicemeritvof
. Eostile relations betw^een the fishernien and the red Indians of New- '
These Indians derived their food p-rmcipally from the sea. ; .The '
Europeans:, in the. course of their-merciless warfare against them, de- '
stroyed; their canoes, their nets, and their villages. The Indians endeavored to maintaifi' their rights of fishing, and bravely, contended with
thek opponentSyuntiLresistance was vain. The fish they re.qiuired for
consumption could not, in the.very nature of.things, have diniimshecl
the catch of their cruel rivals. Driven almost eritirely from the sea,
finally, and unjustly deprived of allj .means of ^ support, they were compelled to plunder food to save themselves, from staivatipn. Watched
and" waylaid by their foes, they, were shot down whenever they.cariie
near any of the European fishing stations J In truth,, whenever and
wherever they,were fourid,-and whether resisting, or imploring fpr food,;
they were slaiii as^ men slay beasts of prey. Men, w^omen,. and; children were slaughtered without discriminatipn ;; and. even those who
w.ere tpo >¥5^eak to raise the hand of supplication, W'Cre not spared. ' I n . .


• S. Dae. 22.

-a^wbrd,.the,natives of iNewfouridland were exterminated, by deeds as
disgraceful and as damning as any Avhich appear in the dealings ofthe
Spaniards with those of Cuba, or South America.
From the fragmentary accounts that have come .down to us of the •
events connected with our. subject, we may conclude that the habits of
the fishermen-who visited the American coa.sts wereloose and immoral.
They could hardly have been otherwise. It was not until late in the .
sixteenth century that bibles, or other printed books, were in common
use anywhere, or that the, manufacture of writing-paper and timepieces was commenced in England; while gentlemen who could not'
write still helped the memory by notches made in sticks, and ate their.
food without forks. Chimneys in dwelling-houses were rare;:- and, -even
after the accessibri of Elizabeth, the floor of the presence-chamber of
the royal palace w^as covered with,hay. That, in this state of society^
the humble class of w^hom I speak w^ere rude, ignorant, lawless, aiid
wicked, cannot excite surprise.
Otir attention is now to be directed to incidents of moment. It is
estimated that two hundred English ships went annually to Newfound-.,
land about the year 1600, and that they' ernployed, as catchers oil
board and as curers on shore, quite ten thousand men and boys. : The
vessels commonly left England in March and retm-ned in September;
the fishermen passing their wiriters at home, idly spending their sum-,
mer's earnings, or "share-money." ,The prosperous condition of the
fisheiy was often, spoken of in the following : " To coane,'-'
says Sir William Monson, (writing in 1610,)"to the particulars of aug-^
mentation of our trade, of our plantations, and our discoveries, because
every man shall have his due therein, I will begin-with Newfoundland?
lying upon the main continent of America, which the King of Spain-,
challenges as first discoverer; but as we acknowdedge the King of^
'Spain the first right of the west .and southwest parts of America, so ^
we, and alfthe world,must confess that we were the first who took
possession, for the crown of England, of the north part thereof, and, not
above two years' difference betwixt the one and. the pther. And as theSpaniards ;have from that day and.-year held their possessioii in the
west, so have w^e done the like in the north; and though there is no.
respect in corriparison ofthe wealth betw'ixt the two countries, jetErigland- may boast that the discovery/from the year afor-esaid to this very
day, hcith afforded the subject, annually, ,one hundred and twenty thousand
' pounds, and increased the number of iriariy a good ship, and mariners, as our
western, parts can witness by their fishing in Newfoundland^
That in the mannerof prosecuting the fishery, much tiroe and money'
w^e/e lost, is obvious to .practical men without explanation. , To plant a
colony, and thus affbrd inducements to the fishermen to live permanently near the fishing-grounds,, was an object highly desirable tO' persons.of broad and liberal views. The plan, postponed by the untimely
end of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, and the attention bestowed upon coloni-.
zation Iri the more genial region of Virginia/by Sir Walter Raleigh,, his
kinsman and associate, was now to be renewed.
In 1610, and the year following, two charters were granted for the
purpose. The first,, from-the rank of seyer'al of the patentees, is deserving special, mention. The merit ofthe enterprise belongs tb MF.

S: Doc. 22.



Guy, a riierchant of Bristol who pubhshed several pamphlets, and iri- duced a nuniber of commercial men of that city, and several persons' of
influence a t court, to joinhirii. Among the latter class '\vere the cele-'
brated Lord Bacpn,* who was then soiicitor general; Lord Northampton,, keeper of the seeds; and Sir Francis Tanfield,, chief baron of the
exchequer. The patent states, that " d i v e r s " of the king's "subjects
were desirous to plant in the southern and eastern parts of Newfoundland, waiither the subjects of thei'ealm have for upwards bf fifty years
been used annually, in no small numbers, to resort to fish,".&c. T h e '
patentees, -nearly.fifty in number, were designated as "The treasurer
arid corripany of adventurers and planters of the citie of. Londpn and
Bristol, for the coloiy and plantation of Newfoundland." The limits of
their territory were fixed, between Capes, St. Mary and Bonavista,
cpmprising that part ofthe eastern and southern coasts w^hich had been
hitherto the chief seat of the fishery. ;
; The privileges granted were as liberal as could be desired; the onl}^'
reservation being, that all British subjects , should be .allowed to fish at
will, arid free of tax or restraint, on the coasts.
: The conception was a grand one, and connects Lord Bacon with our
annals; but no .results, such as were anticipa.ted, followed. . Yet, I sup-'
pose that Whitbourne, of whom we shall have occasion to speak particularly, alludes to this colony when he says, "Divers w^orshipfu 11 citi-"
zeris ofthe city of Bristol have undertaken to plant a large circuit, and'
they have maintained a colon}'" of his Majestie's subjects there any time
these five yeafes, who have builded there faire'houses, and done many
other good services; who live there very pleasantly ; and they are well
pleased to entertaine, upon fit conditions, such as will be adventurers
with them." Whitbourne also mentions by name in the same paper,,:
w^hichl conclude was written in 1621, t h e "Worshipfull John Slany, of
London, merchant, who is bne ofthe undertakers of the Newfoundland
plantation, and is treasurer unto the patentees of that society, whp have
maintained a colony of his'Majestie's subjects there above twelve year^;"
but I find no other account of Slany or his^ssoclates. It appears, too,
that another company, having obtained a grant of land at Newfoundland,
sent out a party who wintered.there-in 1613; but soon becoming weary"
of .their attempts for settlement, they transferred their grant to other adventurers. Among the obstacles to colonization at this period, piracy Is
not to be overlooked. . Whitbourne frequently suffered at the hands
of freebopters, and in 1612 Peter, Eastpn, a noted pirate, with ten
well-appointed ships, made himself complete master of the seas, levied'
a general contribution on the vessels ernployed in fishing and impressed
from those at Concepcion Bay one hundred men for his"own fleet.'
Pirates continued to harass and plunder the fishermeri for severalyears.
In 1613 we notice the birth of the first child of European parents.
Two years later, Richard Whitbourne, already mentione^d, who had- •
made many voyages to Newfoundland, arrived at that island with a.
commission from the admiralty to empanriel juries and correct abuses
and disorders among, the fishennen on. the coast. He summoried a
*Fra.ncis Bacon, Baron of Veralum, one of the most remarkable of men, wjis bom in Loii»'
te,:m 1561.- He was created Lord Lligh Chancellor .of England in 1619, and died in 1626J

218: •


, S. Doc. 22.^



court, and heard the complaints of one hundred and seventy masters.,
of, English Vessels. The abuses seem to have been flagi^ant. The
captains had been accustomed to leave their boats and salt on the coast,
hoping to find them at the beginning of the next season, but in manycases nota vestige remained of either. The bait prepared for the next
day's fishing was frequently stolen out of the nets;, the forests were:
often wantonly set fire to; the large stones used in pressing the fish
were sunk at the mouth of the harbors; and' little or no regard waspaid to the Sabbath. Whitbourne's courts and juries were the first,
probably, under the authority of England, in the New World.
Many thousand persons were employed as catchers and curers, and =
the fishery was in a flourishing conditibn. Besides the vessels of foreign
flags we found "then on. that coast," says, he, " o f your Majestie's sub-,
jects,: two hundred and. fifty saif of ships, great and small."* In the
paper from which I have cited he spealvs of a settlement pf the
" Worshipfull William Vaughan, of Ta;wacod, iri the county of Carmarthen, doctor of the civil law," who had "undertaken to plant acircuit in the Newfoundland," and w h o " in two severall 3'ears had sentthither divers men and women;" and he adds,, that '.'there are nia,.ny
other worthy persons, adventurers in the said plantations, whbse names
are not herein mentioned;" concluding with an:appeal to his countrymefi to sustain the colonies of which he had given: an account, because
of the "great increase pf 'shipping and mariners, and the employment
and enriching of many thousands of poore people which now live charge-able to the parishioners," and for other reasons. ,
Leaving here the Newfoundland fishery, fpr the present, we turn toadventures on the,of New England. The Englishman who madfethe hrst direct Yojage across the Atlantic was Bartholomew Gosnold,
who explored our shores in 1602, and, catching codfish near the
sbuthern cape of Massachusetts, gave the natme which it still bears.
He was followed b y t h e celebrated John Smith in' 1614, who took
"forty thousand" fish, which he dried, and "seven thousand" which
he "cprned," or pickled, inthe waters of Maine, and purchased- a large,
quantity of furs of the riatives. The profits oi his voyage were up-,
wa.rds-of seven thousand, dollars;.
Four ships from London and four from Plymouth came in 1616.
They obtained "full fares, and sold their fish in Spain and the Canary
Islands at high prices. The number increased rapidly. At the time
the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth the island pf Mprihegan, in Maine,,
had become a noted fishing station. In 1622 no. less than/thirty-five
ships from Londori and thewest eountibs of England inade profitably
voyages, to our shores. " W h e r e in Newfpuridland," says Smith, a
common fisherman "shared six or seven pounds," in New England
he "shared fourteen pounds." This was a great difference;, and it is
tp be remembered that the profifpf the merchant who furnished th©
. * Richard Mather, who came over to Massachusetts m'.1635, kept a jom^nal of the voyage..
When on therBank of Newfoundland, " on the end of it nearer to New England," he records,
seeing "mighty fishes rolling.arid tuinbling in.the waters, twice as long and big as an ox."'
He saw, too, '^mighty whales spewing up water in the- air, like the smoke of a chimney, and
making the sea about them white and hoary, as is said in Job: of such incredible bigness that
I will never wonder that the body of .Jonas could be in the" belly of a whale."

S. Doc. 22.


vessel and the outfit was iriereased'in the same proportion. I may addthat it is of interest to learn from this remark of Smith, and from others'
that'occur in his pamphlets, that the practice of fitting out vessels " o n
shares "—to use a term well known among practical nien, still so^
common—wa.s introduced more than two centuries ago.
Abuses fir greater than those w^hich had required the correcting
hand of Whitbourne at Newfoundland soon demanded attention. Sir
Ferdinando Gorges and the quaint Hubbard- both declare that the
fisherrnen and others taright the Indians "drunkenness, wickedness,
and lewdness;" that they "abused the Indian women openly," and
were guilty of "other beastly demeanors," to the "overthrow of our
trade ^and the dishonor of the goverrimentV' To put an end to these
disorders, ?ond to accomplish other purposes. Sir Ferdinando Gorges's
son Robert was commissioned, in 1623, to come to New'England as ,
lieutenant general over all the eouritiy known by that riame. Francis
West, bearing the commissiori of admiral of the sea.s, with power to
restrain such ships as came either to fish or trade on the coast without'
licerise, arrived the same year.. Neither were officers of the prbwn,^
but the agents of a private corporation.
King Jariies had granted, three years previously, tb forty noblemen,.
knights, and gentlemen, the vast domain embraced between the 40thand degrees of north latitude, and extending from ocean to
oceans This company, known in popular lariguage as, the " Council of
Plymouth," claimed not only the territory within their pcitent, but the
seas. Assuming that the fishing-grounds from Acadia to the Delawarewere nb longer free to British subjects, they asserted exclusive property
in and control over them, and were sustained in their pretensions bythe King. •
.. ^
The controversy which followed the attempt of the couricli to maintain this monstrous claim Was fierce and angry in the extreme. The
limits of this report will allow but a brief account of it. It commenced
ill 1621, two years before the voyage of West, and was continued for
several 3rears. ^
Sir Ferdinando Gorges's riarrative of the troubles ofthe council from
this source and others is preserved iri the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and contains many interestiiig statements; H e
had been an officer in Queen Elizabeth's navy, and intimately connected
with Mason, who became the graritee of New Hampshire, arid, with Sir
Walter Raleigh, the father of American colonization, and was as deter-^
mined as either of them to leave his name in our annals. He was an
active, indeed the principal, niember of the council,, arid after its disso-=
lution, acquired his bwn individual right.
The council demanded that every fishing vessel should pay into their
treasury a sum equal to^ about eighty-three cents the ton, which, thpsmall size ofthe vessels ofthe period considered, amounted fo a tribute
probably of more than a hundred dollars from each English ship that
should borne upon our coast. They had niade no settlements upon the
land, and the tonnage money to be exacted ofthe fishermen coristituted
the only present source of revenue from, their possessions.
The spirit ofthe English, people was roused. The Dutch herririgfishery was regarded a s : t h e " right arm of Hollarid>" and the imagina-?


S. Doc. 22. •

tions of Englishmen were filled with:dreams of the fiitunes which Were
certain to be secured from a kindred purstut in regions where Dutch
busses had not adventured; and-the prodigal act .of the King in granting
to-favorites of his court the seas which .contained the treasures they
coveted, caused the most indignant complaints. The House of Commons, obedient to the ^popular feeling, insisted upon the abrogation of
the obnoxious monopoly, and that every Englishman should be allowed
to fish at v/ill, without molestation or tribute, within the limits of the
council's patent. 'During the debate which arose,' (a sketch of which
may be found in Bancroft) the patentees were assa,iled with great boldness. . " W h a t , " said Sir Edwin Sandys, " shall the English be debarred
from the freedoin of the fisheries—a privilege which the French and
Dutch enjoy? It co.sts the kingdom nothing, but labor ; employs shipping ; and furnishes the means of a lucrative commerce with Spairi."
;"Nay," replied Calvert, " t h e fishermen hinder the plantations; they
choke the harbors with their ballast, and waste the forests by iriiprovident use. America is not annexed to the realm ; you havp, therefore,
no right to interfere."
The friends of ''free fishing^^ prevailed in the Commons ; but Parliament was dissolved before a bill embracing and legalizing the fruits ofthe
triumph could be carried through the forms of legislation. The council,
giving no heed to the clamors ofthe people, and disregarding the course
ofthe Commons, sent over West, as wenhave' stated. To enforce the
payment ofthe tribute, and to drive off and break up the voyages of
those who refused, were the principal objects of his mission. H e found
thie fishermen too numerous and too stubborn; and, accomplishing, nothing, departed for Virginia, and thence returned to England. His proceedings and the uiyielding disposition manifested by Gorges and other
members ofthe council, caused, a renewal bf the clamor, and ofthe demand that the American fishing grounds should be declared free and
open to all the subjects ofthe realm.
On the meeting of .Parhament in 1624, the pretensions ofthe council
were again assailed with eloquence and power. Sir Edward Coke,*
Speaker ofthe Commons, one of the most eminent of Enghsh lawyers,
and now in his old age, indignantly demanded the revocation o,f the
odious restriction. Sir Ferdinando Gorges had been summoned and
Was present. "Your patent,"—thus was Gorges addressed by Coke
from the Speaker's chair—" Your patent contains many particulars
Gontrar}" to the laws and privileges of the subject; it is a monopoly,
and the ends of private gain are concealed under color of planting a
colony." "Shall none," lie said in debate, " shall none visit the seacoast fbr fishing ? This is to make a monopoly upon the seas, which
w'ont to be free. If you alone are to pack and dry fish, ypu atteriipt a
monppoly of the wind and sun."
The: Commons prevailed a second time; but the bill to revoke t h e
charter did not receive the royal assent. Still, the council were for*He was born in 1550; he became solicitor general in 1592, and attorney general soon after.
Kis conduct in the latter capacity, during the trials of the Earl of Essex, and the celebrated
Sir Walter Raleigh, has been severely and justly condemned. Coke, in 1613, was appointed
chief justice of the Court of King's Beiich. Towards the close of his fife, he devoted himself
to the caiise of the subject, in opposition to the pretensions of the crown; he died in 1634.

S. Roc/..-22«;'.

' -221:

ever entire!}^ powerless. Though protpcted sovereigiij publid
sentiment compelled submission'; and abandoning their own plans,
they cpntinued to exist as a corporation, merely to make grants of lands
•^to qtlier ^companies, and to Individual :members of their own number.
James bequeathed the quarrel to his son. The ill-fated-Charles had:,
hardly ascended the throne before the Commons passed a bill for the
maintenance and increase of shipping and navigation, and fbr the liberty of fishing on the coasts of Newfoundland; Vir2:inla, and New
England. This bill was lost in the House of Lords, but the spirit of
the Commons was not repressed. In a strong representation of grievances, which they laid before Charles, they insisted that the restraint
of the subject in the matter of fishing, with all the necessaiy incidents,
was of national concern and required redress.
This State paper, and their refusal to grant the King a subsidy,
caused the dissolution of Parliament.It Is from this dissolution that we date the dlsa2:reements between
Charles and his people, which, in their termination, overturned a
dynasty and carried the.monarch to the block. In truth, I am led to
conclude that the question of "free fishing" was the first in the seiie$
of disputes relative to the prerogatives of the crown on the one side,
and the rights of the subject on the other. / .
, ,'
' The political consequences of the discussions so briefly considered,
might well claim further ^attention; but leaving them here, the results
to the flsheries'next demand our notice. These, for the moment, were
disastrous in the extreme, since I know of no other explanation to the
fact, that during the five years embraced in the struggle the number
of English fishing-vessels on the whole extent of our coast diminished
much more than one-half, or from four hundred to one hundred and .
fifty;' while it is certain that in the alarm which prevailed, the mercharits who had purchased the Island of Monhegan, and had provided
there ample accommodations for the prosecution of their adventures',
sold their property and retired from the business.
. Singular to rema^rk, too, that on the immediate coast of New Enggland—-and for ships owned or entirely controlled by English merchants
-—the right of " free fishing," so earnestly contended for, was of little reail
value. Accounts of such ships terminate almost at the very moment"
that the right was established, in the manner related.-^ In another
part of this report, we shall indeed find that sirigle vessels continued
* Governor Bradford, in a letter to the "Council of New England," dated at Plymouth,
June 15, 1627, complains that the English fi.sliermen on the coast " began to leave fishing'and
to fall wholly to trading, to the great detriment of" the settlers there, and the " state of
England." In the year following, complaint was made te the council against Thomas Morton,
who "had been often admonished not to trade or truck with the Indians," and against "the
fishing ships, who made it too ordinary a practice" fo do the same thing, and over whom, the
people of Plymouth had no control. •
,. ^
In a. communication to Sir Ferdinando Gorges, the same year, (1628,) it is said that
Englishmen, under " pretence of fishing," sold the natives all manner of arms ; that."from
the greedy covetousness of the fishermen, and their evil example, the like had began to grow
amongst some, who pretend themselves to be planters, though indeed tliey intend nothing less
but to take opportunity of the time, and pro-vdde themselves and begone, and leave, others
to quench Ihe fire which they have kindled," &c., &c.
The evil seems to have been alarming, since it is further said, that unless the colonists were
protected against these misdeeds, they must " quit the'country." • The assistance of Gorges,
to bring Morton "lo answer thpse whom it may concern,'.' and -f likewise that §uchfi&hermen
may be called to account," is earnestly entreated.




.S. Doc. 22.

to: ar:rive/at, .and depart-ftom, particular fishing stations; but these instances do not. change the-"^gerieral triitb^^for mpst of them were connected writh establishmentsroccupied-by-persbns' -whp came to settle
and: remain in the cpuritiy. We may corij'ectu re th at- these' riieMiants
withdrew, because, once interrupted,, they w:ould riot adventure again;
or because they were satisfied that, in the long run, the Newfoundland
.fishery would prove the safest and most profitable; or because sbme
.of them became interested with their countrymen, who, meantime, had
founded the colonies of Plymouth, New Hampshire, and Maine, who
.had set up fishing-stages at Cape Ann, and were about to undertake
the colonizatiori of Massachusetts on an extensive plan.
The disasters, at most, were limited and-partial. The benefits were
general, and of vast consequence. Had the council succeeded in their
measures the whole course of afR;iirs would have been arrested, and the
. settlement ofthe countiy postponed indefinitely. Before the dissolution
of the cprporation, eight patents of soil and fisheries were granted in
Maine; and the long, expensive, and vexatious quarrels which arose
there between rival p.atentees, and the claimants under them, prove
conclusively that, had the seas and territory of all New England been
lotted and parcelled out in the same way, our history, for an entire
centur}^ would have contained little else than,accountsof strifes, commotions, and forcible possessions and ejections.
Several of the patents issued by the council previous to 1626 convey,
either by implication or in express terms, to the patentees, the exclusive
•right of fishing within their^ domains; and in their eighth and last, to
Aldworth and Elbridge, two nierchants of .Bristol, England, dated in
1.631, and,known in Maine as the "Pemaquid patent," this provision
is retained. But grants to individuals to monopolize our seas disappear
ever afterward.
. In the charter to Calvert, of Maryland, the freedom of the fisheries is
expressly stipulated. So, too, in the grant to Gorges, the great champion of monopoly, any subject could fish in Maine, and use the shores
for purposes of curing'and drying.
The patent to Sir Henry Roswell and others, of Massachusetts, defines with almost tedious particularity the rights to be enjoyed by all
theinhabitants of the realm in any of the seas, arms of the sea, and
.salt-water rivers, as well as those of diying, keeping, and packing fi,sh
on-the lands appurtenant.
: In like.manner the charter of Rhode Island, granted by Charles the
Second, expresses the royal will and pleasure to be that "our loving
subjects, and every one of them," shall "exercise the trade of fishing"
where "they had been accustomed to fish." Even after the expulsion
of the Stuarts, and in the second charter of Massachusetts, in the reign
of Wilham and Mary, when our fishing grounds had been open more
than sixty years, the principles asserted by Coke in the House of Com' mons are as carefully recognised and repeated as he himself could have
desired. In these, and in, similar instruments, then, and not in the- statistics, of vessels and men at a particular time, we. are to seek for the
fruits'of the victory obtained by the sturdy advocates of "free fishing,
with all its incidents," in America. . ,
, We , may npw pause a . moment to discuss a kindred topic, which

-;S. Doc. 22.


changes the scene from our seas to those ofthe mother country.';^!
refer to the " ship-money," levied by Charles the First, and-to^H-ariip"den, who won undying fame by resisting itspaymSrit/ Both are mbre'
intimately connected with our genera-Fsubject than seems to be corii-^
• monly supposed^
./'^^"^ ^'" . .u .*"^"^"
-: '
First, it cannot but have been remarked that the acts of Parliamerit
to " increase sMpping,';' by encouragement to the different English
fisheries, are numerous throughout the period embraced in our inquiries.
TlieTerid desired was obtairied ; and I regard it as historically accurate
t.o say that the earliest considerate: demand for English ships of proper
size and' strength to perform long and perilous voyages was for explprations ^and fishing upon our coasts. At allevents, it is certain that
dowii to the time of Elizabeth the foreign trade of England was in the
control of German merchants, and that there had been no employment
for many or for large ships of the realm."^ British navigation increased with the growth of the fisheries. Without the fleets miaintained.'at Iceland and Newfoundland there would have been neither
ships nor seamen to execute the plans for the colonization of New England, aild of other parts of the continent, during the reigns of James
and Charles.
Yet, while the commercial marine gained strength, the ro3^al navy
continued small, and at the accession of James it consisted of but
thirteen vessels.
* Charles succeeded to. a naval force far too weak to cope with the
fleets of his enemies; and after his breach with the Commons, resorted
to the fatal levies of " ship-money" to augment it, and for a distinct
object, namely, that-of brealdng up the Dutch fisheries oil the British
coast. The dispute was of long standing. Complaints against the
aggressions of the industrious Hollanders had been made t o Elizabeth,
and to her successor. It was said,-indeed, in the time of the latter,
that the Dutch not only engrossed the fisheries., but the ent:u-e maiitime
business of the country ; and James compelled them^to pa.y an aniiuai
tribute for the liberty of catching herring on the coasts of his kingdom.
New disagreemerits arose, when they, were warned off by royal proclamation. . The Dutch were exasperated. Hugo Grotius appeared in
their defence; andin his Mare Liherum contended ior the freedom of the
seas. Seidell, n his Mai'e Clausum, is supposed by British writers to
have refuted his arguments, and to have shown by records the fi.rst occupancy of the fishing gi'ounds by the English, and their domiiiion overthe four seas W'^hich surround,the British isles, to the utter exclusion of
both Dutch and French; • as well as the fact that the Kings of England-,
even without the authority of Paiiiament, had levied large sums to
maintain the sovereignty of these seas.
The Dutch, denying these conclusions, and irisisting that the dominion
claimed by the Enghsh extended no further than the friths, bays, and
. ^ In 14,85 (reig-n of Henry YIII) Sir William Cecil, a London merchant, state.d that ih&i'Q
were not above four merchant vessels, exceeding one himdred and twenty tons burden, belo^nging to that city; and that " there was not- a port in Europe, having the occupymg that London
had, that was so slenderly provided -vvith ships." Other writers assert that at ,the death df
Queen Ehzabeth (1603,) more than a century later, there were only four merchant ships in.all
England of more than four hundred t-ons.
, . . ..



shores, still continued their employment in the interdicted waters. ;The
English-required am acknowledgment (if their title, and a tribute.' Negotiations to adjust the difficulties between the two nations failed.
Mea,iitime, Charles,, by his ex.actipns of "ship-money," anriualfy irici'eased his navy.*:i At last.; he ^ was able to fit out a fleet of sixty
sail,- and the greatest ever equipped In England. This formidable rirmament, created for the special purpose of .driving the Dutch herring
fishers from the four "narrow, seas," as they were ca,lled, was sent immediately to perform that service ; and in the success of the enterprise,
the Dutch consented to pay a sum equal to about orie hundred and fifty
thousand dollars.
Such, I think, are the conclusions to be derived fairly from the statements of Hume, and other writers of English histoiy. Dr. Johnsori,
refusing to allow any influence to the religious antipathies t h a t were
awakened in the course of the controversy between the monarch and
his people, sums up the case far more forcibly, and evidently considers
that Charles owed his ruin to his zeal in maintaining the monopoly of
the seas. In his "Introduction to the Political State of Great Britain,"
written in 1756, he says: " The Dutch, grown wealthy and strong,,
claimed the right of fishing in the British seas; this claim the King,
who saw the "^increasing power of the States of Holland, resolved to
coiitest. But, for this end it was necessaiy to build a fleet, and a fleet
could not be built without expense: he was advised to levy ship-money,
w^hlch gave occasion to the civil war, of which the events are too well
known." Thus it appears that the exercise of the prerogative to exclude his subjects from the fishing grounds of his; dominions in Pne hernisphere w a s among the first; and that the imposition of ta..xes, without
authority of Parhament, to forcibly exclude a foreign pjeople.irom those
in the other,' was among the last oi the offences that sealed the fate pf
tlie unhappy Charles. .
- .
• We return tothe English fishery at Newfoundland. The first Inei^
dent that invites our attention Is the attempt of Sir George Calvert to
.forind a colony. Whitbourne says that he undertpok "to plant a large
circuit," and that'in 1621 he had already sent " a great number of rnbri
-and women, with all necessary provisions for them," wlio were building houses, clearing land, and preparing "to make salt for the pre.serv.:ing of fish ariother yeare." /His grant was for a considerable tract,
' .embracing the coast from Cape . St. Mary to the Bay of Bulls. H e
:called his plantation "Avalon."" His expenditures were very largefbr
the time, amounting to nearly one hundred and twenty-five thousand
^dollars. Sir George resided in person a t , " Avalon" for some ti nip, it
is. said, and endeavored to,succeed where others had failed. But the
difficulties he encountered were - numerous. His rights became irripairedby the determined course of the Commons in asserting of the fisheries; and ^the soil and climate did not meet his ex.pectatioris,
' / • '•
More than all, the French menaced the destruction of his propeft}'^,
" . '*.It was said by, the, merchants of England in 1627, that " ivithin. three years they had lost
all their, shippmg; that the fishermen were taken almost in their .very harbors, and that they
.would not attempt the buUding of new. ships, because,, as. soon asythey were ready, the King
:[Charl©s tM First]' sei^ed^ them for his own use,' against the will of the owners," &c.

S. Doc. 22.



and requ.ired the manning of ships, at-his own expense, tb protect bis
private interests, and the defenceless English fishermen on the coast.
'Relinquishing, finally, his plantation at Newfoundland, he turned his
. thoughts to more hospitable regions, and, as Lord,Baltimore, became the
father of Maryland.
.Of all who sought our shores to acquire power and princely estates,
to escape persecution, or to give, a home and shelter to the weary and
-Stricken, not one—whether Puritan, Episcopalian, or—was actuated by a. spirit more liberal, or has left a better name, than George
Calvert, the Catholic* . .
, ^ .
Remarking that Wirithrop records in his journal (1647) the occurrence
:of a hurricane at Newfoundland, which wrecked many ships and boats,
and destroyed quantities offish, we come to the time of Charles the Second.' , That monarch, after the restoration, in 1660, issued a long.proclamation for the strict observance of Lent, ass.I,grring, as orie reason therefor, "the good it produces in the employment of fishermen." Still further to encourage this branch of iiidustr}^ Parhament passed an act thesame 3^ear remitting the duty on salt used in curing fish, and exempting
the materials required in the fisheries from'customs-and excise. Three
years later, the Newfoundland fisheiy was specially protected by an
. entire exemption from levies .and duties; and the home and colonial
fisheries w^ere at the same time assisted by duties imposed: on products
. of the sea, imported b}^ foreigners .or aliens.Yet, the number of ships employed at Newfoundland declined annu:rally. ^ In 1670, the merchants .sent out barely eighty. The dechrib
was attributed to the boat fisheiy, carried on by the inhabitants thetp.
Sir Josiah. Child, t the leading authority of. the day in matters of trade
and commerce, sounded the,note of alarm.,.anticipa.ting that, if the resident fishermen contined to increase, they would, in the end,.carry pn
the whole fishery, and that the nursery of British seamen would be
• destroyed. . The only remedy he proposed w^as the annihilatipn of ihe
boat .fishery. Never was a more unjust expedient conceived. The
• labors, the expenditures, and sacrifices, of a large number of eminent
and adventurous men, who had devoted life and fortune to the coloril^
zation of Newfoundland, were thus to be counted as worthless, ,gCnd
even injurious to the realm. But the views of. Child w^ere adopted by
. the Lords of Trade and Plantations,! who determined to break .up

* George Calvert, Baron of Baltimore, and founder of Maryland, was born in England in
1582. He wa^ appointed one of the principal secretaries of state in 1619; and while holdingoflice'he acquired the southeastern peninsula of Newfoundland, which he erected into a province called Avalon. - In 1624 he becaihe a Catholic. After his abandonment bf Newfoundland
. he made a visit to Virginia,.;but the, colonists disliked his religion, and he relinquished his intention to settle among them. On his return to England, Charles the First gave him a patent of
the comitry now Maryland. ' Lord Baltimore died in London in 16.32, before his patent had
passed the necessary forms; and a new one was issued to his son Cecil, who succeeded to his
" honors.
t Sir Josiah Child was a merchant. It is said that he acquired great wealth in the " management" of the -East India Company's stock. When.his: daughter niarried the eldest son of the
Duke of Beaufort, he gave her a portion of £50,000. Sir^JbSiah had fish-ponds m Epping
forest, "many miles in circuit."
• ri';;.
t The Board of Trade and Plantations was'iof no service to ;-the American colonies, though
created for the sp,ecialpm-pose of attending .to their interests. Mr. Burke, in a speech in tiio
House of Commons, in- 1780, thus; spoke of it: " This beard is a sort of temperate bed of
• .







S. Doc m .

and depopulate the cblony. Sir John Berry was accordingly spnt ©very
^yith orders to drive out the fishermen, and burn their dwellings. The
extent of his devastations under this more than barbarous decree may
n o t b e certainly known; but six years elapsed before the mandate of
destructiori was revoked, and its abrogation was accompanied with instructions to allow of no further emigrations fi-om England to the
doomed island. , Complaints were made that emigration continuecl,
and various plans were suggested to discourage and prevent it. Meantime, the relations between the resident fishermen and the masters arid
crews of the ships sent out b y t h e English merchants w-ere hostile t o
an extent which, at the present day, seems almost incredible. Previous to the edict just noticed, the fornier had petitioned the King for the
establishment of some form of government, to protect them, against
the rapacity of their own countrymen—the latter. The merchants opposed the measure j as injurious to the fisheries, and prevailed. The
petition ofthe residents w^as renewed from time to time,, but never
with success; and they continued to suffer WTongs and cruelties without redress.
The nierchants convinced the ministry, or the Lords of Trade and
Plantations, that the appointment of a governor, and the recognition of
the full rights of the inhabitants of New^.foundland as British subjects,,
would produce the ruinous results anticipated by Child, and, strange
as it may appear, no Englishman could lawfully have a home on that
island for a Ipng period.
The edict of 1670, to burn and destroy, had the effect, possibly, to
increase the number of ships, since, four years afterward, two hundred
and seventy, employing, on bPard and on shore, ten thousand eight
hundred men, were engaged in the fisheiy. Yet the seas were not safe.
.Some of the fishing vessels mounted from ten to tw^enty guns, and
carried frpm sixty to one hundred men, and others sailed under convoy,
and were protected, while on the coast, by ships-of-war. The price
of fish, to support this state of things, must have been enormous.
As the ceniury closes we nGtlcelhe mention of a report ofthe Lords
of Trade and Plantations, in which they so lar modify their former
order, relative to emigration, as to intimate that, inasmuch as a
thousand persons might be useful at Newfoundland, to construct boats
and fishing-stages, that number would be suffered to live the re, without
.fear, we may conclude, of official incendiaries and legal robbers/ But
the gracious privilege thus accorded still placed the resident fisherriien
ai the tender mercies oltlie merchants and the masters of their yessels;
for, by an act of Parliament in 1698, these masters, in the absence
of alflavy, were authorized to administer justice, and to regulate the
general concerns of the fisheries and of the colony, alrnqst / a t
nfluence—a sort of gently-ripening hot-house—where eight members of Parliament receive
salaries of a thousand a year, for a certain given time, in order to mature, at a proper sCasl^h,
a claim to two thousand, granted for doing less, and on the credit of having toiled so long, iu
that inferior laborious depai-tinent. I have known that board, off and on, for a great number
of years. Both of its pretended objects have been much the objects of my study, if Lhave a
right to call any pursuits of mine by so respectable.a name. I can assure the House-^and 1
hope that they will not think that I risk my little credit fightly—that, without meaning'to
convey the least reflection upon any one of its members, past; or present; it is a board whiGh
if not niigchieyous, is of no use at all."

•g:..Doc. 22.


/-Were the inma:tes of British prisons to be subjected now to the
"treatment received by the inhabitants, at the hands of these masters, the
whole civilized world would join In a shout of indignant condemnation.
•The first master w^ho. arrived at any particular harbor was its admiral
ibr the season ; the second was its vice-admiral, and the third its rear" admiral. Thus, at the outset, no attention whatever was paid tO; the
qualifications—to the heads or the hearts—of.these strangeI'ulers. Ac'cident—a long passage or a short one,, a. dull or a quick-sailing vessel—
' determiried everything. The triumph of the English merchants over
their fellow-subjects, in this lone and desolate isle, was as complete as
that of the warrior who storms a city. In fine, the "admirals'' selected the best fishirig stations, displaced at will the resident fishermen
w^ho occupied them, drove the inhabitants from their own houses, took
hush-money and presents of fish in adjusting cases brought before them
•for adjudication, and, in their general course, were as arbitrary and as
corrupt,as the leaders of banditti. There w^ere exceptions, it may be
admitted; but the accounts are uniforrii that, as a class, the ''adn-irals"
were both knaves and tjTants. Yet the law which authorized these
iniquities bore the title of " A n act io encouirige the trade of Newfoundland."
In 1701 we have a very particular and detailed return of the con. dition bf the fisheiy, thus.: There were 121 vessels, manned with
2,727 men, 993 boats, belonging to the vessels and to the resident
fishermen, 544 fishing-stages on the shores, and 3,581 men, women, and
'children emplp3^ed as curers; while the catch was 216,320 quintals
•of fish, yie'lding^3,798 hogsheads of oil./
: ; In 1729 we record an improvement in the government of the island;,
sirice a captain of a ship-of-war displaced the*"admirals," and we find,
the number of inhabitants estiniated at about 6,000. Referring to the' accompari^riiig table fbr the general statistics of the century; and re-marklrig that the number of ships w^as doubled in the six years suc:^eeedlng the close of the war with Frarice, which immediately preceded
pur .Revolution, we proceed to notice such events as our limited space;
:will allow:
The first of these is the proclamation of the King, in 1763, in which)
;it is stated that, "to the end that the open and free fishery of. our sub--.
;jects may be extended to and carried on upon the coast of Labrador
arid the tidjacent islands, we have thought fit, y^ith the advice of our
privy cburicil, to put all that coast, from the river St. John to Hudson's straits, together with, the islands of .Anticosti and Madalene, and
,all other islands lying upon the said coast, under the care and in spe c/tibn'of pur governor of Newfouridlarid," wliile"the Islands of St.-John,
''Cape Bretori, or Isle Royale, with the lesser islands adjacent thereto,"'
were annexed to "the government of Npva Scotia."
',^. ..The general affairs of Newfoundland were considered at about the.same time.: Though no plan, was devised for the governmentof the''eploiiy, such as was due by England to herself and to humanity, the ,
•• - ^ I n 1727 an act of Parliament was passed which authorized the importation of salt into/
-Pennsylvania, in British ships, (navigated according to the navigation acts of the realm,) and;
.. for the xuriiig of fish, on the -same conditions as were allowed ;in New England arid New. foundland.


S. Doc. 22,

resolution was, still adopted to discontinue all further attempts to chpck
the resident fishermen. The task had become, indeed, hopeless. The
tonnage of the merchants' ships had fallen to less than eighteen thousand, and their catch to one hundred and thirty-six,thousand.quintals.
-The produce of the boat fishery, on the other hand, had risen tp thrpe
hundred and ten thousand quintals. The boat-fishers, or inhabitants,
had, therefore, overcome every obstacle, and were inthe ascendency...
I reserve a full answer to the many complaints against our country^
men who'fish in the seas of British America, for another part of this
report; that, however, which is made by the people of Newfoundland,
,may be disposed of here.
The charge is, that the British flag is no longer seen upon "thd
banks," and that the privileges enjoj^ed by the French and Americans,
by treaty and otherwise, have caused the withdrawal ofthe English and
colonial merchants from that branch of thp fishery. This charge is to
be found, in substance, in an offpnslve form, in newspapers, in official
documents, and remonstrances to the home governnient. I submit, in
all kindness, that it is not so. The truth is, that the resident fishermen-ras Sir Josiah Child, a hundred and eighty years ago, anticipated they '
would do—have supplanted the merchants of England, with whom they
so long contended; that the boat fishery has taken the place of the yessel
fisheiy, in.the common course of things. To catch fish, by long, expensive, and perilous voyages, when they can be taken at the fishermen's
own doors, where catchers and curers can sleep in their own beds, taste
the sweets of a shore life, and enjoy the comforts of home, is to dispense
with the steam-spindle and go back to the distaff. There is no. truth
in the coinplaint. The annual catch at Newfoundland, in whole num. bers, is one million of quintals, and, on a mean of years, equal to thatpf
• any former period. This fact is conclusive. That the Americans disturb the industry ofthe cblonists, is not possible. The restoration of
•the b3^-gone yessel fishery can be .accomphshed, not by driving these
.'/foreigners" from "the banks," but by a new edict to burn and destroy the ';
./dwellings o f B r i t i s h subjects.^



" * Lord Hiindonald expressed his views with regard to the British fishery at Newloundland
in a communica:tion published in the London Times, August, 1852, in'the following terms, It
will be seen that he attributes the suspension of the 2/css# fishery to the bounty systeihc'bf
.^France and the United States; and that he considers the employment of a naval force topre-"
vent "aggressions," a mistaken policy.


To the Editor of the Times.'

SIR: The leading article ofthe Times of the 3d inst., on the subject of the British.Nb^
.Americcm fisheries, involves a maritime question of such-vital importance to the pemiahehce
of our na'v^Jil power, that I hope you will devote the corner of a column of your paper (perused
and pondered-over by civilians and statesmen) to convey, in as few words as possible, .the real
cause of the progressive decay, and now^ total abandonment, of that once important'nursery
for seamen, with which the duties of my late naval command required that I should :mak«
myself intimately acquainted.
, . : ' : /
Thv!) result of authentic information derived from, oflicial documents, most of which were
obligingly furnished by the zealous and indefatigable governor then presiding in Ncn^touridlarid,
(Sir G;.LeMerdhaiit,) proved that the British "bank" or deep-sea fishery formerly employed
400 sail of--square-rigged vessels and 12,000 seamen, and that now not one of these follow
their vocation, in consequence of the ruinous efiect of bounties awarded bythe French and
North American governments.. The former pay their fishery iCf. for every quintal of fish
debarked in the port of France, and 5f. additional on their exportation^in French vessels to
foreign States, once exclusively supplied by England—a transfer which viewed
simply as a,mercantile, transaction, .seeing that the substitution of a greater-nuniber of foreign

S. Doc. 22.


In 1771, the number of souls at Newfoundland was 3,.449 English,,
and 3,348 Irish. In 1775, merchants " a t home" w^ere encouraged to
continue their adventures, by ari act of Paiiiament, which allowed a
bounty of £ 4 0 to the first tw^enty-fiye ships, .£20 to the. next hundred,:
and £10 to the second hundred, that should make fares of fish before,
the middle of July, and proceed to "the banks" for ,a second lading.
Lord North's bill to prohibit the people of New England from fishing
at Newfotindlaiid, which was passed, in the year last named, wiU be
noticed particularly elsewhere.
•' During the discussiori pending these measures—the one to "encourage," the other to "starve" subjects of the realm—-Martlrieaux Shuldham, who had beeri governor of Newfoundland three years, was examined at the bar of the Commons. The material part of his testimony
may be thus stated: that the catch of fish in 1774 was 739,877 quintals, and that 23,652 men w^ere employed in the fishery, all of whom
became sailors.
•' With regard to the fishermen of New England, he said that few of
them ever entered the British navy; that he had heard great complaints
of the outrages they committed on the coast; that they carried on an
illicit trade with the French, nieeting\tliem on the sea and selling them
not only provisions and lumber, but vessels also; and that, in the French
w^ar, few;of them had served in his Majesty's ships-of-war.
' At the peace of 1783, the English Newfoundland fishery-—interrupted
by hostilities-^—was resumed with .spilit, and prosecuted with success;
"and three j'^ears after, the bounty act of 1775 was renewed for a specified term. The condition of the colonists remained, however,- without
liiaterial change. I find it stated that a gentleman formerly connected
transatlantic fishing vessels, having more numerous crews, constitutes a statistical difierence
amoimting to 26,000 sailors against England, without including the United States—a fact that
ought not, and, being known, cannot be looked on with indiff'erence.
. Transatlantic steam-packets receive national support, amounting to hundreds of thousands
of pounds a year, without complaint being made even by the most zealous freetrade advocate,
because such vessels may prove useful in war. How, then, can the policy of granting a premium, thus forced upon us, in order to preserve our nursery for seamen, be considered otherwise than the cheapest means of maiming our ships-of-war? Such premium^ for the deep-feea
fishery vessels resorting to Europe, ought to be accompanied by immunity to our in-shore
colonial fishermen from the tax on foot, (from which the parent State is happily free,) and by
ai" release from other imposts, from which the French fisherman, under naval authority, is
wholly, exempt.
Brevity being essential to admittance into your columns, reference may be made.for important details to "Morris's Fishery of Newfoundland," containing petitions and remonstrance
of inhabitants, which assuredly have never been read by pur colonial administration, though
. pressiiigly urged for consideration.
, Vessels-of-war are obviously not required for the protection of the deep-sea fishery which
has ceased to exist; nor are they necessary for the security of the undisturbed colonial punt«
which fish in-shore. The stationing more vessels-of-war to guard the fishery is therefore a
mistake, originating in a want of knowledge of facts. Fish caught by the Briti-sh subjects
cannot be sold with profit either in continental Europe or in the United States. In 1849, the
duty paid on British fish in the ports of the United States was $163,000, while the premium
aivarded to their own fishermen was $243,432.
0 '
Those who desire further insight into the circumstances of our western colonies, especiaBy
as regards the fisheries of Newfoundland, may consult a pamphlet published by Ridgway, con-'
fidning a statistical map; which ought to be brought to the knowledge of those who possesa
the power to avert impending national mischiefs.
1 am, sir, your often obhged and obedient servant,
.'TiOSDOj^, August A.


S. Doc. 22

w^Ith Lord North's admirilstratlon said, in the course of his testimony:
before a committee of the Commons,, that",ifAe island of Newfm?idland
had been considered, in all former times, as a great English ship, moored
near the Banks during the fishing season, for the convenience of English
fishermenf^ that "the governor was considered the ship^s captain, and all
those concerned in the fishing business as liis crew, and subject to naval dis^, cipline/'^
' •
This quaint witness spoke in 179.3. The same year, another funcr.
tlonary, in his testimony before the same committee, declared that he.
would "allow no woman to land on the island, and that means should be
adopted to remove those^^ already there. Thus do we conclude the eigh^.,
teenth century; barely adding, that the influence ofthe merchants -was:
yet sufficient to prey ent grants of lands, and that the colonists raised';
a few garden vegetables for consumption only by violations of State,
papers and the statute-book.
For the twenty years preceding 1815, the fisheiy was prosperous
beyond example. .The profits to merchants engaged in it were sometimes fifty, sixty, eighty, and even one hundred thousand dollars in a
single season. Persons who commenced the business entirely destitute
of capital, shared in these enormous gains, and accumulated large fortunes in a short period. It would seem, however, that, as previously,.
the advantages to the permanent residents were inconsiderable, since
the fishery was in the hands of English merchants, whose adventures were conducted by agents, and of those who, on amassing wealth;
immediately departed from the island. A sudden and disastrous reverse occurred.
The quantity of fish exported in 1814 waiS about one'million tim
hundred thousand quintals, of the value of more than twelve millions of doU
lars. The quantity shipped in 1815 was hardly less; but the peace
produced a ruinous change in price. The decline from eight and nine.:
dollars the quintal, to five, four, and even to less than three dollars,
was rapid. Almost universal bankruptcy followed; for two or three
years entire suspension of the fishery was the result apprehended.
For awhile, the few merchants who escaped insolvency, utterly hopeless in the general dismay, were bent upon closing their affairs. The
common fishermen, in the years of prosperity, had intrusted their savings to their employers, and the distress ofthis class would have been
diminished could these have been recovered; but, losers by the failure,
of the merchants to an amount exceeding one million of dollars, and;
destitute alike of money and of employment, their condition was exn
tremely sad, and excited" deep .sympathy. Thousands of persons, de-.<
pended solely upon the hook and line for subsistence, and emigratibri
or starvation were considered the only alternatives.
,. .
The colonists, who rely upon the products of the sea for support,
charge the most of their misfortunes to their French and American
competitors. They did so in the case before us. Th^eir complaints,,
•weregroundless, and may be dismissed in perfect good nature. The-,
people who distress them so. continually, and whose appearance on/
their fishing grounds spreads so general consternation, were fellowsufferers from the ruinous decline of prices of commodities at the general pacification of Europe, and were involved in similar bankruptcies.'

S: Doc. 22,


Besides, at the f)eriod' of commerciial disasters at Newfoundland, the
French and Americans ha,Gl riot recovered from the effects of war, and
had riot, to a very alarming extent, resumed their adventures upon the
coasts or "the bank's" of that island.
The competition between the colonists and the people just mentioned increased ; but the Enghsh fisheiy gradually revived. The annual catch is now nearly a miliibn of quiritals. There' have been seasons of fluctuations since the 3'^ears referred t o : depression is an incident in ever}^ human employment. Maritime pursuits are more uncer-.
tain than those of the soil br those of the work-shop. Of the fisheries,
particularly, it is entirely true to say that they never have afforded, and
never will afford, constant and continuous rewards ; for, aside from the
losses consequent upon overstocked and glutted markets, the most unwearied industry and the highest degree ^ of skill are often Insufficient
to insure good fares. Our colonial neighbors should .take these matters
into the account, and while lamenting their calamities, remember, that
the American fishermen, whose condition they consider so much preferable to their own, are subject to the same reverses, and would gladly
surrender many ofthe privileges they are supposed to enjoy, fbr the
liberty of living near to, and of freely using, the inner or shore fishinggi:ounds, of which they are now deprived, and which are reserved exclusively for-British subjects.
As a branch of industry, we need pursue our inquiries relative to the
Newlbundland cod-fishery no further. The table of statistics, compiled
Iroimthe best sources of information open to me, and which I think is
substantially accurate, may be referred to as aflfording a general view
of the subject for the last thirty years. The exports are to Portugal,
Itaiy, Spain, Brazil, the British West Indies, the British continental
possessions in America, to Great Britain, Ireland, and Scotland. In
spme of these markets the merchants of Newfoundland have no com^
petitors. As much as they compl ain of us and of our policy, our ports
are open to the importation of their staple commodity, ori terms which
are prpducing alarming changes in the property arid prospects of those
of our countrymen whose position .on the coast of New England, aird'
whose habits and generkl circumstances, leave them no choice of emplbymentsi Newfoundland is connected with some of the most interesting events
to be found in our annals. Cabot saw^ it before Columbus set foot on
the Ariierlcan continent. There came the first men. of the Saxon race,
undei^ the first English charter, to found an English colony, yisiters
tbvor residents upon its shores, w^ere the noble Gilbert, and Raleigh,
the father of colonization In this hemisphere; Mason and Calvert, the
founders of two of the United States. Among those who lent aid and
cdunfenance to the enterprises to people it, in early time, were persons
of-rank and wealth—and Bacon, of world-wide fame. In its waters
Were the first trials by jury in America. The freedom of its fisheries
Was asserted by Coke, and other champions of English liberty, intones
10 rouse the popular mind, and to put an end to chartered monopolists.
In some respects Newfoundland is " a gre.a:t Eriglish ship'moored
inear the Banks," even in the second half of the nineteenth century.
Twenty years have not elapsed since the system) which was hardly a .


S. Doc. 22.

modification of that /devised by heathen Carthage and Rome, for the
government oi distant colonies, was abolished, or since captains in the
royal navy, who came to the island in the spring and returned to England at the close of the fishing season, ceased to rule and to consider
the inhabitants as "subject to naval discipline;" and persons are now
alive w^ho were the victims of the nierchants " at home," who, arnied
with ordinances and instructions ofthe Lords of Trade and Plantaiions,
insisted upon the entire control ofthe business, and ofthe domestic a r rangements of the residents.
For the first time, in a history of more than three hundred years, a
legislative body, similar to those of other British colonies, assembled'
in Newfoundland in 1833. The only material changes of previous dates
were those which related to the administration of justice, and whichallowed the people the forms and principles of jurisprudence, in place •
ofthe decrees and the decisions ofthe knavish and despotic " admirals" in command of fishing vessels, and the quarter-deck mandates of
their successors.
A few miles back from the coast, New^foundland is almost an unbroken wilderness. The inhabitants, as a body, are as ignorant of the '
interior of the island as are others. To them, and to all the world, the
colony is known for its fisheries, and for these alone. To- enumerate
St. John, Ferry land, Fugo, and Burin, and t h e settlements on the bays
of Concepcion, Trinity, Bonavista, Fortune, Bull's, Placentla, and St.
Mary's, is to recall almost every place of note. There was no free
port until 1828, and no bank until eight years later. From the discovery of Cabot to the arrival of a bishop of the ^ church, was three
hundred and forty-three years. The population in 1806—about two
and a quarter centuries aftPr the attempt of colonization by Gilbert—
w^as less than twenty-six thousand. It was less than seventy-four thousand in 1836; and but ninety-six thousand six hundred and six in 1845.
- Itremalris to speak of the fishing grounds; ofthe manner of catching^
and curing, and of the habits of the persons who are employed in the.
fishery. As the vessel or "bank" fishery has been the
English, an account of it is reserved for the third part of this repprt.
The boats used for the shore fishery require from two to four men each.
The number of boats in 1838, was 6,159; and in 1845, 9,989. Thp
fishing is performed within the harbors, and early in the season, near
the land. The men stand while at their toil, and each is able to tend
more than one line. At times the fish fasten to the hooks so rapidly,
that the fishermen display great activity. A boat is' often filled in two
or three hours. Onthe shores a r e " stages," or buildings erected on
posts, and projecting into the sea,^ to allow boats to come to them as to.
wdiarves or piers. The fish are carried to these "stages," where, iri
the hands o f t h e "cut-throat," the "header," the "splitter," and the
"Salter," as four classes of the "shoresmen" are called, they are prepared for the " dryer." When sufficiently salted, they are washed, and
ti'ansported on "hand-barrows" to the "flakes," where they are spread,
and dried. Once cured, they are piled in warehouses to await sale or
orders for shipment. T h e " S a l t e r " and the "dryer" should be careful
and expert men; the one to distribute the salt wilh a skilful hand^-the
o.ther, that damps and rains do not injure the fish while exposed iii the


S. Doc. 22.

air. Three qualities are usually sorted for exportation,:and a,fourth,
consisting principally of broken and discolored fish, is retained for consumption. Women and children are sometimes eiriployed in the boats,
and very frequently assist the curers on shore. During the fishing
season there are no idlers of either sex.
'.:;The labors o f t h e fishermen and shoresmen are almost incessant.
The time devoted to . sleep, under circumstances that often occur, is
insufficient for the demands of nature; while long abstinence from
food is riot uncommon.
,- The fishermen formerly, lived in the rudest of structures; but'they
nbw occupy comfortable dwellings. Their food is coarse, and their
inanners rough. Intoxicating drinks; were once as common ampng
thern as tea or water. Of late years there has been a. sensiblp. change
for the better; and a large class are moral and temperate. Their habits
of life are irregular, from' the necessities of their position; but' in hospitality and acts of kindness they are not excelled by meri" of the
higher walks of society. They are to be judged in mercy, for their
opportunities to improve are few, and their temptations to err are many^
English codfishery—Newfoundland.
- /'. /Year.

No. of Tonnage. Number of Number of Qumtals of
boats. , fish exported.

. 50
400 .
. 15,000
1701 - .
V i % ^ ' ' : : : . . . . . . . . . . •280
1 276
15, 838
1820 . ^ . . . . v . : . - . . . .



5,000 10,800
2,727 •

. • '. .






• .

• . . . : . , J : : . .

.-.«>i... . . . ' .

382, 000
1,200, 000
1,180, 661


S. Doc. 22.


English codfishery, Newfoundland—^Continued.

No. of

1825. . . . :
1830. .18.32//..
1835. . .
. ........
1844 . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1845 . . .
. .•

Tonnage. Number of Number of Quintals of
fish exported.



724, ,515
1, 007, 980
1,000, 333
920, 366


$2,420, 000
3, 025, 000
2,410, 000
2,455, 000

English herring.fishery, Newfoundland.
Barrels pickled






' 13,839


56 170


This business is of recent origin. The first account of it is in 1795,
but it was not prosecuted to any extent until the general peace, in 1814i Seals frequent the coasts of Newfoundland in the spring. They go
upon the ice in the polar seas tb bring forth their young, and are swept
along by the currents to milder regions, where, still upon the ice, hun-^
dreds of thousands of them are annually killed. During the passage '
from the remote north, they apparently live without much food, but yet •
are-quite fat when seen by those who adventure \n pursuit of them. .
The vessels engaged iri catching seals are from fifty to two hundred^
tons, and carry from fifteen to forty men each. They leave Newfoundland- in. March, and proceed to sea until they meet the ice, and on faOing
in with it, are forced irito it as far as possible, by implements which are

; S.. Doc. 22--


arranged for the: pu.rpo-s&>. Fast imbedded in the vast and seemingly
limitless fields of ice, the crews disperse in every direction in search of
seals, which are very iriactive, and are generalty easil}^ caught. They
are killed with fire-arms and with clubs, and often while asleep. Occasionally the large ones resist. The moans of the young during the
slaughter are piteous.
The flesh of seals is unfit for food, and they are only valuable ^ for
their fat and skins. The common method is, to strip oft* the skins and
fat together, and .to carry these parts to the vessels, leaving the remainder
npon the ice; but when the weather or other circumstances will not
-permit this, the carcass is transported whole, and the valuable parts are
stripped :off subsequently.: Seal-catching closes towards the end of
April. The most fortunate vessels make two voyages in a season.
After the arrival of the vessels in port, the fat is separated from the
skins, cut into pieces and put into vats, where, by the. warmth ofthe
sun, the oil oozes out. , T h e skins are spread and salted in piles, and
when properly cured, are packed in bundles of convenient size.
In the whole circle of human employments, few^or none are more exciting and perilous than the catching of seals. A storm df slpet and
snow iri the night is terrible, and the stoutest hearts quail. While the
vessels are absent, the greatest anxiety prevails in the ports of departure,
and the most distressing rumors prevail: at times, a full month elapses
before the arrival of a single vessel, and every imaginable cause is assigned by alarmed families and friends for the delay of tidings from the
seahng-gTOund. Northeast gales drive the ice towards the shore, and =
frequently produce fearful disasters to both life and property. In 1843
the loss of vessels was very considerable, and several entire crews perished.* Some vessels were wrecked;in 1849. *
-The year 1827 was uncommonly prosperous. Forty-one vessels
..* A similar disaster occurredl n the spring of 1852. The first account of it was as follows:
, *,' .The steamer Osprey, from St. John, Ne^^lbundland, April 23d, has arrived at Halifax,
with accounts ol the wreck'of between fifty and sixty vessels in the ice, in the gale of April
20th. ;The Newfoundland papers state that the loss of life has been considerable, but how
great is. not known. A list of eighteen vessels lost, with full cargoes of skins, is given, one of
which had five of her crew drowned, and another two. In many cases, as the vessels drifted
towards ihe ice, the :crews deserted them and escaped to. the shore. In some cases the abandoned vessels have been taken into port.
" Hundreds of the crews of the wrecked vessels are said to be on Richard Island, Bonavista
bay, in a state of destitution and starvation. The Assembly of Newfoundland has requested
the governor, to appropriate £300 for their relief, and four or five vessels would sail to them
as the wmd would permit. A vessel had arrived at St. John, which reported that
upwards of one thousand shipwrecked sealers had reached Greenford, but the number is .probably exaggerated.
,". The disaster is said to be. nearly equal to. that at Prince Edward Island last year."
A Newfoundland paper of later date says: " Since our last several sealers have arrived, and,
for the niost part, with good trips. On Saturday arrived the Coquette, Captain Joseph Houlahan, who was sent round by the government to the relief of the shipwrecked men at Greenspond... y^e learn that Captain Houlahan's mission was quite a providential one, the poor casfc. away fellows being in extreme destitution when he arrived. It is therefore consoling to reflect
that, in all probability, many a life has been saved by this measure of the governnient. Capt.
. Houlahan landed a hundred men at Catalina, and brought about two hundred and fifty on,here.
We understand that the Harbinger, which was also sent round to Green spend with the Coquette, had proceeded in her search further to the northward. All reports agree that, but for
the heavy weather, which has caused sueh destruction among the vessels, this spring's catch
of seals. would be one of the largest ever known. Eyen;as it is, we understand the average
catch at this time is equal to that of last year."
. . .

S. Doc. 22.


laden with seals arrived at St. John iri a single week. They caught
69,814 of the objects of their search. One of these vessels took upwards of 3,000 in six days, and another, still more successful, about
•3,500 in the same time. The intense excitement which attended the
slaughter of so large numbers, in so short a space, can be readily irnagined.
Reference to the table of statistics will afford information a.s tb the
general state ofthis branch of industry since the year 1830. It will be
seen that the return of vessels fitted out, is from the port St. Johri alone*
The number from Concepcion, Trinity, and Bonavista bays, and frorii
other parts of the island, is known to be considerable, and in 1845 to
have exceeded that of the capital, but I have been unable to probure
accurate accounts for any other year.
Statistics ofthe Newfoundland seal fishery.*


1831.... . . . .
. . ...
1842 .
- —-1845




106 .

6, 447


278 _





Seal-skins. Tuns of oil.
221, 510
280, 613
559, 342

12, 371

. 306,072
1400, 000


.,! ,


* The vessels were f rom the port of St. John, (3xcept in 1847, 1848, and 18^19/'.
f Estimated from th(3 several ace ounts of the c atch of that ye ar.

The original grantee bf that half fabulous, never defined country,
Acadia,, was Pierre,de Cast Sieure de Monts, a protestant, and a gentleman ofthe bed-chamber of Henry the Fourth of France. In 1603,

S. Doc. 22.


his royal master, by letters patent, gave him the terrltor}^ betw^een the
40th and 46th degrees of latitude,'"and in the following year De Monts
came in person to explore and take possession of his domains. " Sixteen
years before the landing ofthe pilgrims at Plymouth, he wintered upon
an island in the river St. Croix,: which, since the adjustment of the
boundary line between the United States and New Brunswick, has
/been considered within the limits of Maine. This island is claimed by
•the heirs of the late General John Brewer, of Robbinston. Relics of
I)e Monts'sojourn up'on it continue to be found..
' '
., Annapolis—the Port Royal of the French—was founded before his
return, and is the oldest settlement in Nova Scotia. Tlie "lieutenant general of Acadia, and the circumjacent countiy," accomphshpd but little.
His patent allowed him to "carefully search after and to distinguish all
sorts of mines of gold and silver," and gave him the monopoty of the
trade in furs. He seems to have confined his attention to measures to
secure the latter; yet fish were caught, cured, and carried to, France *
A permanent fishery was established at Canseau. Acadia soon passed
from De Monts into Catholic hands, whilc'^the Engiish grant to Sir William Alexander, in 1621, embraced a large part of it. As the events
connected writh our subject at this time appear in the account ofthe
-French fisheries, there Is nothing to demand our attentiori until after Nova
Scptia was permanently annexed tP the British crown, by the treaty of
:Utrecht, in 1713.
' Down to the period of our Revolution, Nova Scotia was hardly khowm
except for its fisheries. The resident English population was so small
in 1719, that Phillips, the military governor, was compelled to select
.the council required by his instructions from his garrison. Thirty-six
years later, the whole number of inhabitants was estimated at only
"'5,000. In 1760, the township of Liverpool was settled by persons from
Massachusetts, who desigried to. prosecute the salmon fisher)^ and wha,
•successful in their labors, caught a thousand barrels i n a^season. They
.were follpwed in 1763 by about one hundred and sixty families from
-Cape Cod, who selected the spot called Barrington, transported thither
their stock and fishing vessels, and founded one of the most considerable
fishing towns at present in the colony. The whole value of the import^
-at this period was less than five thousand dollars. In truth, the House
of Assembly asserted in 1775, that the amount of rrioney in Nova ScPtia
was.^1,200, (br $4,800) of which one-fifth was In the hands of farmers.
Such w^as the general condition.
The settlement of Halifax, the capital, requires a more particular
notice, Thomas Coram, a famous projector of the time, w^hose name
occurs often in the history of Maine, engaged in a scheme to commence
a town on the site of this city as early as the year 1718, arid his peti• tion for a grant of land received a favorable report from the Lords of
Trade and Plantations; but the agents of Massachusetts opposed his
plans, because they interfered with the freedom of the fisheries,: and he
was coriipelled to abandon his purpose.*
* I t is said, in Burke's Commoners of England, that Major William Markham, (of the
family of Markham of Becca Hall,) who was born hi 1686, built the first house in Halifax,
Nova Scotia.


S. Doc. 22;

At the restoration of Cape Breton, in 1748, the founding of a capital
for Nova Scotia was undertaken as a government measure. " A s a substitute" fbr Louisbourg restoied to France, said Mr. Hartley in the House
of Commons, "you settled Halifax for a place d^armes, leaving the limits
ofthe province as a matter of.contest with France, which could not .fail
to prove, as it did, the cause of another war. Had you kept Louisbourgj
instead of settling Halifax, the ^Americans* could not say, at least, that
there would not have been that pretext for imputing the late war to their
account." The new city was named in honor of the Earl of Halifax,,
the president ofthe Lords of Trade and Plantations, t
" The site,"
says Haliburton, "about mid-way between Cape. Canseau and Cape
Sable, was preferred to several others, where the soil was better, for
the sake of establishing in its neighborhood an extensive cod-fishery,
and fortifying one of the best harbors in America." Thus, Halifax was
designed as a fishing capital, and " as a.substitute for Louisbourg." Liberal grants of land were made to officers and men who were dismissed
fi'om the land and iia.val service at the close of the war, and Edward
Cornwallis was appointed military governor. Horatio Gates, then an
officer in the British army, and subsequently the victor at Saratoga,
w^as among the first who landed at Halifax, in 1749.
T h e project involved the government in serious difficulties, a n d t h e
expenditure of enormous sums of money. ,
T h e ambunt first appropriated w a s ^ 4 0 , 0 0 0 . In a few y e a r s the cost
to t h e nation w a s nearly tw^o millions of dollars!
T h e fisheries w e r e
neglected, a n d the cblonists, unable to support themselves, petitioned
Parliament for additional relief, even after so large an amount.of morie^^
h a d been disbursed for their benefit.
: . :
Omitting details, w e m a y state that five millions of dollars of public
mpney were expended finally in the colonization of Nova Scotia, accord^
ing to the plan devised b y the .Board of T r a d e and Plantations.
A letter is preserved in the Collections of the Massachusetts Historic
c a l Society, from a resident of H a h f a x to t h e R e v . D r . Stiles, w h i c h
m a y affbi'd a partial explanation to this state of things. I t is dated in
1760. " W e h a v e , " says t h e writer, ''upwards of one hundred licensed
houses, and perhaps as many more, which retail spirituous liquoi's wit/iput
license ; so that the business of one half {he town, is to sell rum, and of tive
other half to drink it. . You may, from this single circumstance, judge g f o m
morals, and naturally infer that we are not enthusiasts in religipn."
Again : "Between this and Cape Sable are many fine harbors,:com;modiously situated for the cod-fishery; and the rivers furnishj:great
abundance of salmon." *. * * # < *prie fleets and.armies,!which
have been here during the war have enriched this town, but have-giyen
a mortal blow to industry:" and, he adds, " w e have but few,pepple
of genius among us ; and not one discovers a thirst after hnowledge.,ei/tfi^
iiseful or speculative."^^
_...• .
Halifax became a place of note in the w a r o f t h e Revolution, and. a s















* This speech was in 1775.
, . / , ,^
t Horace Walpole wrote to Sir Horace Mann, in 1749: " Half our thoughts are taken u p ^
that is, Lord Halifax's are—with colonizing Nova Scotia; my friend, Colonel CorawaUis,!?
going thither commander-in-chief. The Methodists will scarce follow him, as they did Oglethorpe" to Georgia.

^ s.:^Docv:22;
the great naval station, of the British government/ At: the peace of
1783^ Nova Scotia became the home of many thousands of American
loyalists, who, under the policy adopted by the winners in the strife,
were compelled to abandon their native land. Many of them were
persons of elevated moral qualities, of high positions in society, and of
great spirit and enterprise; several w^ere natives of Massachusetts, and
graduates of Harvard University. Others had held prominent rank in '
New York and New Jersey. From this period, w^e may date a change
in the morals ofthe colony, and note a partial attention to the fisheries.
Omitting the few fragmentary accounts that are to be found scattered
through the records which I have examined, we come at once to consider this branch of industry as it exists in our own time. And, singular to remark, attention to the fisheries is still partiaL No American
visits Nova Scotia without being amazed at the apathy which prevails
among the people, and without " calculating "• the advantages which
'they enjoy, but will not improve. • Almost every sheet of water swarms
'with codj pollock, salmon,, mackerel, herring, and alewives-; while the
shpres abound in rocks and other places suitable for drying, and in the
materials required for "flakes and sta.ges." The coasts are eveiyw-here indented with harbors, rivers, coves, and bays, which have a
ready communication with the waters of the interior; scarcely any part
of which—-such is the curious freak of nature—-Is more than thirty
miles distant from navigation. The proximity of the fishing grounds
to the land, and to the homes of the fishermen,—the use that can be
made of seines and nets in the mackerel fishery,—the saving of capital
in building, equipping, and marining vessels,-—the ease and safety which
attend every operation, combine to render Nova Scotia .the most valua-^
hie part of British America, and.probably of the world, for catching,
curing, and shipping the productions of the sea.
Yet the colonists look Pn and complain of us. They will neither fish
themselves nor allow; us to do so. In the wbrds of a late official report
on the "Fisheries of Nova S.cotIa,"."From seven to eight hundred
[American] yessels are said annually to pass through the Gut of Canso,
which usually return home with large cargoes taken at our very doors.
. There is alioays a great deal said about their encroachments, andive are apt
to blame them that our fisheries are not more productive than they are, and^
instead of engaging all our energies to compete with them, we are employing a
. host of revenue cutters/ ^ c , to drive them from our shores. Everybody must
see that the Americans are placed under many disadvantages for prose-,
cutirig the fisheries in. British waters, and that if proper enterprise were •
employed, our advantageous position would enable us not only to compete tvith.
I^Jtm/successfully, but also to drive them from our shores by underselling them
in/tMir own marhets. But we find that they almost entirety monopolize our deep-sea fishery, while we looh idly on and grumble at their suecess.^^ This covers the whole ground; and coming, as it does, from the
peri' of a colonial official, is conclusive.
Judge Haliburton, in his efforts to rouse his fellow-colonists from their
lethargy, adopting as his motto, that


" The cheerful sage, when'solemn dictates fail,
Conceals tho moral counsel in a. tale,"


^ S.^:Doc." 22,

utters similar sentiments. His renowned hero, " S a m Slick,"' the Yankee clockmaker, in the course of his " sayings," thus speaks of the
people of Nova Scotia, and of their advantages: " T h e y do nothing in
these parts," says Sam, " b u t eat, drink, smoke, sleep, ride about,
lounge at taverns. * * * They are a most idle set of folks,, I tell
you. * * * They are In the of fisheries, squire ; all sorts of
fi.sheries, too. River fisheries of shad, salmon, gasperause and herring;
shore fishery of mackerel and cod; bank fishery, and Labradore . Oh dear! it beats all; and they don't ,do nothin with 'em, but
leave 'em to us. . * * * I never seed nor heerd tell of a country
that had so many natural privileges as this. Wh}^-, there are twice as
many harbors and water-powers as we havp all the way from Eastport
to New Orleans. They have all they can ax, and more than the}^ desarve. * * . * You've, heerd tell of who couldn't see London
for the houses; I tell you, if we had this country you couldn't see the
harbors fbr the shipping."
The cod-fishery of the shores differs so little from the shore fisheries
at Newfoundla.nd, St. Pierre,.and Miquelon, already spoken of, that we
sha.ll not here give an account of it. The vessel fishery, both on the •
coasts of Nova Scotia and at Labradore,* is also so neaity like our own,
that a description of it ma.y be omitted to avoid repetition.
The herring fishery will, detain us but a moment. The export of
-^smoked-herring has declined very much. Towards the close of the
•last century the quantity shipped was from 50,000- to 60,000 boxes
annually. In some years, too, previous to 1819, the export w^as even
more, and from 80,000 to 100,000 boxes. At present the average is
less than half the quantity of either period.. The natural advantages
possessed by the colonists of the shores of "Annapolis basin" are
unequalled in the whole world. D.Igliy and Clements should be the
•* A Halifax paper, in the spring of 1852, indulged in the following course of remark: " We
Searn that no less than twentytive vessels cleared at this port for the Labrador fishery on Sat•urday last. We have been much gratified with the improved appearance of the schooners
comprising our fishing fleet this season. The class of Nova Scotiamen at present engaged in
the fisheries woukl do credit to any eountry in the world, our enterprising and energetic neighbors, the Americans, not excepted. Where all are'deserving of praise, it would appear almost
invidious to particularize; but.we must hot omit to chronicle a very superior craft which we
observe receiving her supply of salt alongside the brig 'Wellington,' at Oxley's .wharf, called
the 'Ocean Wave.' This fine vesselwas recently launched at Lunenburg by a Mr. Young,
and was built expressly for the fishing business. She appears to have been most carefully
constructed, and her outfit is after the most approved fashion.. There is a reasonable probability ofthis most important branch of provincial industry proving eminently successful during,
the present season; and we can only hope that the desideratum may be realized to ics fullest
extent. Our fishing friends'cannot be too careful in curing their catch. The markets for
tlieir valuable products are extending on every hand. It is essential that the character of this,
O L staple article of export, should be established beyond the shadow of a doubt.. Due attenU
. tion to this inatter will repay our fishermen a hundred, fold for any extra time, labor, or
attention bestowed on the making of their fish. Let all interested look to this all-important .
matter, and a rich harvest may be reaped in the^ future. It is satisfactory to know that the
parties who this season fitted out for the fisheries are, many of them, both forehanded
and intelligent qualifications indispensable in the successful prosecution of this valuable branch
. of industry."
. • ' , • - '
In August, 1852, it was again said that, ""We are enabled to record the gratifying intelligence, that of twenty-seven vessels fitted out from ports in Lunenburg county for the Labrador, twenty-six ohavej; returned well fished—one vessel bringing home the handsome fare of
1,100 quititals. This' almost unprecedented success is perhaps^ in a great measure, attributa>
ble io the vigilance of the revenue, cutters stationed on the coast by the Canadian governmeBt
^or the protection of the fisheries."

a...Doc. 22.


seat of the most extensive herring ^fishery In America. This fish, well
smoked and of approved color, is a great luxury fbr the forenoon lunch
and for the tea-table ; and the time has been when a herring-box branded
^'Digby," br with the name of a -well-known curer there, passed as
current in our markets, without examination, as coiri received at the
mint. This is high but deserved praise. The whole quantity smoked
in 1850 was but.2,000 boxes. The scenery in the vicinity of the "basin"
is truly beautiful; and the "basin" itself is one" of the safest shelters
for boats and vessels required for the fishery that is to be found in
The mackerel .fishery is in favor, and, compared with the cod and
herring fisheries, receives commendable attentiori. The present state
of this branch of indusiiy is to be attributed to the recent change in
our tariff" of duties imposed on foreign-caught fish, and to the facilities
afforded b}^ our w^arehouse system. This change, it hardly need be
said applies to dried and smoked fish as well as to pickled ; and, were
the causes just assigned the true ones, it might be concluded by those
who are not a.cquainted With the colonial: character, that increased exertions v/ould be witnessed on all the fishing grounds. Explanation is
easy. The macherel fishery is the least laborious and the most in'ofitable.
I know something of the energy and skill of our fishermen, and
appreciate them highly;' but'I feel quite certain that rmder a system of
ad valorem duties their competitors in Nova Scotia and elsewhere'iri
British America will, ere long, supplant them incur own markets. As
has been already remarked, the colonists may take every kind of fish^
in any desirable quantities, at their very homes, and without the expense
o i large vessels or extensive outfits; w^iile the pursuit in the more distant haunts of cod and mackerel is attended with less cost than froni:
the ports of Massachusetts and Maine—for the reason that the labor,
timber, iron, cordage, and canvass, necessary for the construction and
equipment of vessels, and the salt,.hooks and lines, f;r their outfits,-are
much cheaper. These advantages' will be acknowledged at once, and
unless the observation of many 3^ears lias led me astra.y, they are toogreat to allow of the present reduced scale of impost.
..Severely as the late change of pohc}^- with regard to- the adinission
of .ibreign fish has been felt by all brandies of our fisheries, the mackerel catchers have suffered.the most. They still pursue the emplo3anent
ill the hope of the" restoration of specific duties, and because their local
position and other circunistances have not, as yet, allowed them to
adopt any other. As was said by Fisher Ames, soon alter,the organization of the present riational goverriment, wriien appealing f )r protection
to our fishermen, "they .are top poor to sta.y—-too poor to remove."
Itis even so. D tiring certain monthsof the year our vessels seek the
rriackerel in the waters of Nova Scotia and other British posses.sions;
but as our treat.}^ with Great Britain requires them tb keep three miles
from the land, the fi.sliery inthe narrow straits, bythe means of nets and
seine's, is in colbnial hands exclusively. The quantities of fish which the
colonists sometimes take in nets and seines are immense. It is not long
since forty thousand barrels were caught in three harbors of Nova Scotia
in a single season.' This quantity is more them one-tenth of the whole obtained
by all the vessels of Massachvsetts in the most pvsperous year. Yet these


" S; Doc. 22.


three harbors can be entered in sailing a distarice of twelve miles. The
owners of American vessels often lose the use of their property, and the
expenses of outfits besides. The proprietors of estates in the colbnies
where mackerel seines are used, receive, on the other hand, hundreds of
barrels of the fish caught in the waters appurtenant thereto for the rent
of these w^aters, and the privilege of dressing, salting, and packing on
the shores. To secure two, four, six, and even eight hundred barrels
at a time, it is only necessary to set a seine, to tend it, and, at .the proper moment, to draw it to the shore. Competition without, protection,
when such rewards as these await the colonial fishermen and land
owners, who expend nothing whatever for vessels, and whose whole
outlay involves little beyond the cost and Wear of seines and the loss
of time for short periods in a season, is, I think, impossible. The lot
of those of our countrympn w^ho live by the use of the hook and line
-is hard enough at best. The battles• which they have fought, arid
which, in the course of events, they may be required to fight, ought to
prevent their utter ruin. The tbpic will be resumed elsewhere.
Macgregor, in his " P r o g r e s s of America," published in 1847, thus
speaks of occurrences at Crow Harbor and Fbx Island, two of the
favorite resorts of mackerel In Nova Scotia. "These places," he remarks, "while the fishing season lasts, are generally the scenes of the
most lawless disorder and licentiousness, occasioned by the violence of
the fishermen contending for the best places to haul the seines ashore;
the pillaging ofthe fish; the selling and drinking of rum ; the smuggling
of goods b.3^ the Americans; and often from the mere spirit of spoliation
and mischief A ship-of-war has been ocpasionally sent round from
Halifax to preserve some sort of order among the multitudes of men,
boats, and schooners that resort to these harbors," &c., &c.

Statistics of the Nova Scotia cod, macJcerel, and herringfisheries-—macherelexported' included witli pichled fish .exported until 1845.


No. vessels No. of boats. No. of men.
and shallops.
1805, 1806, 1807
1848 : . .

Barrels of
Bo.tes of
pickled fish. smoked fish. of mackerel.

.Quintals of
dry fish.







3,400 -


. 302,520
. 241,411

35, 064


. $509,820



" Estimated.






. . . . . .










- -


• "



Barrel's of

10, 394




- 81,985
' 187,016




t From Halifax.

The numher of nets and seines in 1851, by the official return, from which the statistics of that year are derived, was 30,154. The population of Nova Scotia in
1851 was 266,117.




S. Doc. 22.


The extraofdinary value placed upon this island by the French, and
by the people of New Erigland, as well as the experiditures and exertions of both—the one to fortify arid retain possession of it, the other to
capture it—have been considpred in the first part of this report. W e
may here, without repeating anything there stated, give a view of the
whole subject by an extract from the " proposals " of Robert Auchmuty,
of Boston, to the British mlnlstr}^ while in London, in 1744, the year
previous to the expedition against Louisbourg under Pepperell.
' Auchmuty,. it will be remembered, was a distinguished lawyer arid
judge of the vice admiralty court for Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The communication in questioii is headed " T h e Importance of
Cape Bretoii to the British Nation,"- and commences with the following
remarkable declaration : " This island, situated between Newfoundland
and Nova Scbtia., the English exchanged with the French for Placentla
in the trea.ty of Qtrpcht; and during the late peace between, the two
nations the French, by the advantage of the place, carried on an unbourtded fishery, annually employirg at least a thousand sail,, from two hundred to four hundred tons, and twenty thousand men. In the year 1730,
there ivas a computation made of ttuenty-two hundred thousand quintals of
fishdt Marseilles, only for a market; and communibus annis* they cure above
five millions of quintals. How dangerous a nurser}'- of seamen this island,
therefore, has been, and ever wrill be, while in their possession, is too
:obvious to a British constitution; and it is as demonstrable the recovery
of a place ofthis consequence will entirely break up their fishery, arid
destroy this formidable seminary of seamen; for if the}^ are happily
removed from this advantageous shelter, no protection is left for them
on the fishing ground nearer than old France." Such are the exaggerated statements and conclusions of one of the most intelligent men of
New England ofthe last centuiy. He, of course, did but embody and
repeat to the miriistrj^ the opinions expressed in Boston before his departure for England, and his declarations are accordingly to be considered as those common at the time. The number of quintals of fish
caught and of vessels eiiiplo3^ed at Cape Breton in 1744, which I have
placed in the table of statistics, though much less than Auclimut3^'s
computations, and though authorized by authentic documents, and particularly by an official report of a specialragent of Governor Shirley, I
consider too large.
That, however, the French fisher3^was extensive at this island, cannot be doubted. But whatever allowa.nce should be made in the estimates and figures of exasperated rivals, enough remains certain to show
^ that there has been a great decline in this branch of industiy since
Cape Breton became a possession ofthe British crown.
Louisbourg, the once famous fortress, is now a heap, of ruins. Even
the materials of which it w^as built have been carried awa3^, to a very
considerable exterit, to be used in the erection of structures hundreds
of miles distant. It is almost desolate. Those who visit it—with the
aidof the imagination—hesitate to believe that armies and fleets once
. ,

• " One year wi'th another.

S. Doc. 22.;,


fought with desperate yalor to retain and to win it; that the deep silence
which prevails was ever broken by crowds of busy people ; that ship.a
laden with rich cargoes ever anchored in waters which even fishermen
of our day seldom enter, except for- shelter ; that around them ^were
lofty and, as was thought, impregnable walls, and nunneries, palaces,
terraces, and gardens.
The Enghsh. hi story of Cape Breton, as comiected with our subject,
is brief. '
Separated from Nova Scptia by a narrow strait pnly, it was annexed
tp that colony, soon after its final cession, at the peace of 1763 ; but in
1784 was created a province, and allowed corresponding rights until
1820, when it w^as re-annexed to the government of Nova Scotia. The
population in 1839 was about 35,000, and in 1848 nearly 50,000.
, Great as were the expeptatlons of the conquerors, its fisheries have
never been of account since the conquest. The statistics indicate no
increase, but, on the contrary, a considerable decline. The exports, at
the present^ time, are less than In 1828. In fact. Cape Bretori is the
poorest part of British America. :
As late as 1840, a gentleman officially cpnnected with Its fisheries
gave a riiost lamentable description of the poverty of those who depended upon them for subsistence. Having stated that, while in. possession of the French, the exports were of the immense value of
,£927,577' sterling, that 564 ships and 27,000 men were emplo3^ed, and
that the whole produce now w^as only 80,000 quintals, and 50 tuns of
oil, he proceeds as follows: " The fisherman is supplied at such extremely high prices, that, after his season's work is over, what he has
caught frequently does not amount to the cost of his outfits: thus he
returns to his family with a poor prospect of providing for their wrinter's
supply." " I have seen families," he continues, "covered with scurvy,
applying for medicine, and although they obtained it, were informed by
the doctor that itwas fresh and wholesome provision they wanted most;
at which of the parties admitted that his stock was reduced
to some herrings and a few potatoes." " I n like manner," he adds,
" w h e n the militia muster took place, I knew of some who came seven
miles, and who, without money to purchase- food, returned home fast
ing^' «
^ ^
Had the cases related by this functionary been such as exist in every
community, they w^ould not have been thus mentioned. It is not to be
presumed, however, that w^hile so great destitution is prevalent, it iX
general among the fishermen of Cape Breton. Yet tales of their
wretchedness arid poverty are common. Masters of our fishing vessels, who visit the coast, have told me repeatedly that in the spring
they were be'set b3- persons who offered to barter away almost their
iast article of value., and even begged for food. To ^ make every allow- '
ance, we may still farily conclude that those w4io earn their bread in
fishing boats and shallops, as a body, enjoy few comforts, and often
suffer .for the absolute necessaries of life.
The seas of Ca:pe Breton, neglected, shunned even, as if a curse
rested upon tkeni, and as^if the spirits oi the slain of a by-gone generation hovered over them, are as rich as they ever were; and as safe, too,
for the employment of capital, skill, and labor, as when the successful.


S. Doc,' 22."

adventures of the Catholic French roused all Puritan New England in
a'crusade to possess theni. -Were these Eeas ours, ^^e should soon
prove the truth of this remark. Could the descendants of those who
first won Lpuisbourg for its present nominal owners, settle amid its
ruins, the few fishers^ huts that serve to mark its site would disappear,
and a"thrifty, well-built town take,"^their place. The harbPr is one of
the best on the eastern coast, and the situation such as to render access
to the fishing grounds in the waters of the St. Lawrence easy. In-a
word, distant, lone, and dreary as is the ancient fishing capital of .
France, enterprise and industry are alone wanting to restore itj in

measure at least, to importance and prosperity.

Statistics of the fisheries of the Island of Cape Breton.

-Dried fish.



Oils, all


Boats and












Vessels V j Dried fish. Pickled






Value of Total value
of exports.










1-847'* •



12> 100




39, 336






• * - °"
















^ Of these, 17,200 barrels mackerel in 1847j and 14,050 barrels in 1848.



S. Doc. 2 2 . - -



Prince Edward Island is .in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and is one
hundred and seventeen miles long.
Cabot, in 1497, after losing sight of Newfoundland, and on the 24th
of June, saw other land, to which, in honor of the day, he gave the
name of St. John. The .discovery was assumed to be this island, and
it bore the name of St. John for a long period. The French, claiming
that Verrazani was the first discoverer, granted it—in 1663—to the
Sieur Doublett, a captain in the navy, to be held by him in vassalage
ofthe ro3^al company of Miscou. The Sieur's associates were two
companies of fishing adventurers from St. Malpes and elsewhere in
France, whose settlements upon the island were confined to places on
the coast suited to their pursuits.
The French from Nova Scotia and Cape Breton emigrated thither
until the government, to prevent the depopulation of Louisbourg, proKibited fishing except in certain harbors.
In 1758 the isle St. John surrendered to the British; and at the
peace of 1763, was permanehtly annexed tothe crownof Great Britain.
The population was about 6,000. There were several thousand "black
cattle'* owned by the inhabitants at this time; and the cultivation of
the soil was so extensive that it was called the "granary of Canada."
Among the proprietors of hind in 1775 was General Charles Lee, who
owned a tract often thousand acres, on which he had expended about
five thousand dollars. As he had been an officer in the British army,
and had served in America, it may be presumed that this estate was a
grant from the crown.*
* At the peace of 1783, the isle St. John became the home of several
ofthe "tories" or loyalists of the Revolution, and, the fbliowing year,
was formed into a colony and called Prince Edward Island. The
population in 1806 was less than 10,000; in 1841 it was upwards of
The north and south coasts are. much indented with bays and coves,
and the waters teem with fish. But as the soil is generally good, and
owned by persons of skill and property, the fisheries are much neglected. Various attempts have been made to induce greater attention
to maritime pursuits.
In 1842, it is beheved that a company was formed in England, with
a capital of several hundred thousand dollars, to promote this object.
The plan ofthis association was, as is said, to purchase land fbr a town,
erect buildings, and send over tv/o thousand persons. Of its actual
operations and success I have no knowledge. In 1844 the governor
ofthe colony, "in a speech from the throne," recommended the organization of a company for the prosecution ofthe fisheries.
Mackerel are at times a,bundant. ' A single example will suffice: In
1848 an Americari schooner was dismasted,' and put into Georgetown
to repair. Having refitted, she went to sea, and returned to port with
* General Charles Lee was a colonel in the British army, and served in America in the
French war. He lost the favor ofthe ministry by his course in the revolutionary controversy,
and entered the service of Congress. .His dislike of Washington v/as the cause of his ruin.
He died at Philadelphia in 1782.

S: Doc. 22..



eighty barrels of fat mackerel, after being absent onty one week. ^ The
fish w^ere taken, how^ever, in two days, the weather interfering with
operations during the remaining part of the time.
The exports of Prince Edward Island are not large, and often merely
nomirial; the catch of the various kinds of fish hardly exceeding the
demand for domestic consumption.*
During the season for fishing our vessels frequent the coasts in fleets ;
and as many as six or seven hundred have been seen in the yicinity of
the island in a single year.
Captain Fair, of the royal navy, in command of her Majesty's
ship the Chanipion, who w^as upon the station in 1839, passed the
number here stated, and honorable testimony to their good con- .
- The feelings of the Inhabitants towards our countrymen may be
ascertained from the following resolution, which is understpbd to have
passed the House of Assembly unanimously during the ^session of 1852 :
"Resolved, That a committee be appointed to prepare an address to
her Majesty the Queen, pra,3nng that she will cause to be removed the
restrictions of the treaty of 1818, prohibiting American citizens from
'fishing within certain, prescribed limits on the shores of tlie island;
provided the American government admit articles the growth or production of this island into the United States duty free, in accordance
with the act 12 V i c , cap. 3, including fish; also, vessels buift on this
island, to American registr3^; and that the legislative council be requested tojoin in the said address."

The Magdalene are of consequence. ' These islands,
seven in number, are in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and about forty
miles northwesterly of Cape Breton. They originally belonged to the
French, and were first granted, I suppose, in 1663, to the Sieur Doublett and his associates, as a fishing station, under the feudal tenure, as
a fief of the ro3^al company of Miscou. After they became possessions
of the British crown they were granted to Richard Gridley, of Massachusetts, who served under Pepperell at the siege of Louisbourg, who,
in 1775, laid out the works on Bunker's Hill, and who was retained by
Washingion as chief of t h e engineer department of the continental
The Magdalene islands are thinly inhabited, at the present time, by
fishermen, maiy of whom are the lineal descendants of the Acadians,
who made the first permanent settlement in North America, under De
Monts, the original Frerich grantee of Acadia, or Nova Scotia. The
* The value ofthe products ofthe sea exported in 1851, was only $38,776; while ofthe sin
gle ag^cultural article of potatoes, the value was $47,568.
t Whether Colonel G-ridley retained the ownership of these islands until the Revolution,'and
lost them in consequence of the part he took in that event, is unkno^vn to me. But the Magdalenes were a second time granted bythe British crown. 'The last grantee was. the late
Admiral Sir Tsaac Cofiin, who, at his decease, is understood to have bequeathed them to
Captain John Townsend Coffin, of the royal WAYJ, to be held by him and h s heir's male, in
strict entail. Captain Goffin'leased these islands for the term of his life, it is believed, in.the
spring of 1852, to Benjamin Wier, of Halifax, and John Fontana, a resident at the Magdalenes.


S. Doc. .22.

fishermen of Acadian descent retain to this day the dress, the customs,
lamguage, and rehgion of their ancestors.
" The herring fishery at these islands at times Is very extensive. The
catch, in some seasons, has been from eighty thousand to one hundred
thousand barrels; and as many as one hundred and fifty vessels from
the United States have been seen there at once. The quality of the
fish is, however, poor, and the curing and packing carelessly performed.
I have seen whole cargoes that, unfit for human food, were entirely
worthless, except as dressing for grass lands.
Large seines are used in the fishery, and hundreds of barrels are
often taken at a single haul. The inhabitants welcome the arrival of
our fishermen, and treat them kindly. No serious difficulties have ever
occurred, and in no part of British America, probably, have the relations of the people of the two nations been more intimate or more harmonious.^
By a singular arrangement, these islands are included in the government of Canada. As communication with the capital of that colony is
interrupted by ice and inclement weather nearly half of the year, and
is generally free with Nova Scoiia, annexation to the latter is much to
be desired.
Statistics of the year 1848.—Exports. .
Quintals of
dried fish.


Barrels of
pickled fish.

Boxes of
smoked fish.

Number of

Gallons seal
and cod oil.








The Bay of Chaleurs was explored b3^ Jacques Cartier, in 1534
He gave the name it bears—the " B a y of Heat." On its shores are
some of the oldest settlements in North America.
As at the Magdalene islands, many of the fishermen here are Acadian French, a people whose story possesses a melancholy interest, and
whose sufferings at an eventful period of their history have been commemorated by the poet Longfellow, in "Evangeline.'' They continue
to live in villages distinct from the Engiish settlers,- and within, sound
ofthe chapel bell. The most devout arid decided Catholics, they seldom,
intermarry with protestants. After the services of Sunda,y,. they as. * Perhaps the year 1852 forms an exception. There was a diflficulty of, some sort in the
spring, but the exact facts have not been ascertained. The Halifax Sun, in giving an .account
of the trouble, says: " The Americans, not satisfied with infringing the provisions ofthe treaty
by casting their nets side by side with the British residents and subjects within the limits prescribed, per force of numbers and audacity took possession ofthe fish in the nets of their competitors. The indignant residents rallied in strong force; an American vessel and crew -svere
captured in way of reprisal, and taken into harbor. The Americans during the night following
gathered in tlieir strength, and triumphantly ' cut the vessel out,' leaving the skipper, however,
in durance under lock and key."

S.'Doc. 22.:




semble for social enjoyment and amusement. F e w of them are corrupt;
and vicious, but most are superstitious and ignorant. The woinen, like
. those of the ancient fishing-town, Dieppe, in France, fiom which their
ancestors came, wear calico caps or handkeixhiefs tied over the head,
short petticoats of woollen stuff' striped with red, white, and blue, and
plaited in large folds at the waist, and blue stockings; while bn Sunday,
over a neat and clean attire, they throw upon the shoulders a small blue
cloak, reaching about half way dowri the body, and fastened at the
breast v^ith a brass brooch. The men appear in short round jackets,
. with straight collars and metal buttons set close together, blue or sca:r-, let waistcoats and blue trowsers, and sometimes the bonnet rouge, but
generally round hats. Individuals, however, of both sexes, dress^'differently.' ^ The women, or "fish-wives"—as at the fishing- ports of Normand3^, Piccardy, and Brittany, in France—work very hard, performing
the whole labor of curing the fish, in addition tothe ordinary duties of
cooking, spinning and weaving, and the care of the children.
The cocl-fisKliig establishments in this bay are ancient and extensive.
Of those of modern times, that of Messrs. Robin & Co., founded in
1768, is the largest, best ordered, and most prosperous. They have a
number of finished buildings, which are conveniently arranged, and kept
in excellent repair.. They export about 30,000 quintals of cod annually,
besides a quantity of pickled fish and oil. Their yessels come from the
Isle of Jerse37- in the spring, are dismantled on arrival, and lie moored
until the close of the fishing season; the mastersand crews either fishing ill boats, or collecting the fish caught by residents, who obtain
their supplies and outfits of the firm. In the autumn the vessels are
equipped, and depart for Europe with full cargoes. It is said that the
first head of the firm, the late Charles Robin, among btlier rules for the
management of the business, directed in his will that no female should
reside at, or be employed at any of the fishing establishments of the
concern.; and that, in accordance therewith, the gentlemen and clerks
of the present firm of Robin & Co. leave their families in Jersey while
sbjourning in the Bay of Chaleurs.'
The fishery is carried on almost entirely in boats, two persons in
each, who return home every night and land the. day's catch. At.the
close ofthe season the resident fishermen settle with the merchants with
whom they deal, carr3ring to their storehouses all the fish not previously
collected by their agents.
The whale fisher3'^ is pursued to some extent in the Ba3^ of Chaleurs
and the adjacent seas. " The whales caught' withiii the Gulf of St.
Lawrence,"-says Macgregor, "are those called 'hump-backs,''which
yield, on an average, about three tuns of oil. Some have been taken
seventy feet long, which produced eight tons. The^ mode of taking
them is somewhat different from that followed by the Greenland fishers,
and the Gaspe fishermen first acquired an acquaintance with it from
the people of Nantucket. An active man, accustomed to boats and
schooners, may become fully acquainted with, everything connected
with this fishery in one season. The vessels best ada,pted for the purpose are schooners of from severity to eighty tons burden, mcmned with
a crew of eight men, including the master. Each schooner requires two
boats, about twenty feet long, built narrow and sharp, and with pinh


S. Doc. 22.

sterns; and two hundred and twenty fathoms of.line ai-e necessary in
• each boat, with spare harpoons and lances. row. towards
the whale^ and when they are very near, use paddles, w ch make
less noise than oars.
" Whales are sometimes taken fifteen minutes after they are striick
writh the harpoon. The Gaspe fishermen never go in quest of them
until some of the small ones, which enter the bay about the beginning
of June, appear; these swim too fast to be easily harpooned, and are
not, besides, worth the trouble. The large whales are talvcn off the
entrance of Gaspe bay, on each side of the island of Anticosti, arid up
the river St. Lawrence as far as Bique."
In Gaspe-basin—I ascertain from another source—the whale fishery
is one of the chief means of support. Yet the number of inhabitants
is small. Four or five schooners of the size mentioned by Macgregor
are employed, and probably two hundred men. The produce is a.bout
20,000 gallons annually. The basin is safe, commodious, and easy of
access. The whales are taken-at and near its entrance in the spring,
and around the island of. Anticosti "and on the north shore of the St.
LawTcnce in the summer.^
The fisheries of Canada, other than those of the Magdalene islands.
Bay of Chaleurs, and Gulf of St. Lawrence generally, are too inconsiderable to require attentiori. While Canada was a possession of
France, the seas were neglected. Twenty years after the conquest the
exports of fish were small. From Canada proper there has been no
increase, as will be seen.
Exports from Canada, (proper.)^


Quintals dried Tierces salfish.






Tuns oil.



Exports.from Quebec, Gaspe, and New Carlisle, presumed to be of the produce of the Bay of Chaleurs
. .
Quintals dried Bbls. nickled
• fish.






No. .sealskins.


Gallons fish

- 28,890
V 6,548'





•' S. Doco 2 2 .



The coast of Labrador was partially explored by Jacques Cartier
in 1534. He was beset with ice, and encountered many difficulties.
Little was known of the country fpr a long period after the voyage of
the French nayiga.tor. It has been said, however, that our cod-fishery
w a s extensive in this region, not only previous to the Revolution, but in
the earty part of the last century. The statement I consider entirely
erroneous. As I have examined the scattered and fragmentary accounts of Labrador, there is no proof whatever that its fishing grounds
were occupied by our countrymen until after w^e became an independent people.
In 1761 Sir Francis Bernard, who was then governor of Massachusetts, w^rote abriet '* Account of the coast of Labrador," which—found
among some of his papers—is preserved in the Collections of the Masseichusetts Historical Societ3^ After some general remarks upon the
'country, and the ignorance that existed relative to the natives, he proceeds to say that, " What follows shall be a plain narration of facts,
as I received them from several persons who have been on the Esquimeaux coast, with now and then a digression, wiiich I hope .may be
pertinent." These persons appear to have been Ca.ptai.n Henry AtIvins, of Boston, who made a voyage to Davis's straits in the ship Whale
in 1729, and who visited the coast a second time in 1758, and a Captain Prebble, who was sent by Atkins in 1753. The Baronet describes
the course of affairs between Atkins and the Indians in 1729, and adds
that he " is the more particular in this account from, the captain's own
mouth, as he thinks it plainty indicates that the na.tives on this coast
and islands had never any trade ol^ commerce with a i y civilized, people from Europe or America; of course not with the French from Canada, or the Hudson's Bay factories." This is coiiclasive, especiall3^ if it
be remembered that the object of Sir Francis was to collect information
"forthe advantage of future navigators." His memory was remarkable, and he himself said that he could repeat the whole of Shakspeare.
Of course, this .paper embraced eveiy thing that had been cpmmunicated
to him.
As late as 1761, then, it is not probable that fishermen of a??.^ flag
had visited the whalers of Labrador. An account of the'origin of our
own fishery-.there will be fbund in the proper place.
The English whale and seal fisheries were the first, and employed
upwards of one hundred vessel, at times, prior to the year 1775. The
earliest adventures were near 1763; as at that time the Labrador
comitr3'-was pohticalty separated from Canada, and annexed to the
government of Newfouridland by rb3^al proclamation, to the end that the
" open and free fisheiy of our subjects may be extended." The pursuit
of the cod and salmon followed. Meantime the Moravians, whose
principal settlement is at Nain, who have ever led a quiet and simple
life, and who now annually ship furs, oils, and other productions of
that region tp England, in payment for the- manufactured commodities
which they require, had founded'a colony.
The islands are so numerous and so near each other as to resemble,
and often to be mistaken for, the main land. Back from the coast, the



Doc. 22;

country is still unknown.' Labrador stiU forms a part of the colony of
Newfoundland. The natives bear the general name of Esquimeauxs.
"The resident inhabitants of European origin are English, Irish,, and Canadians, who are employed either on their own account,
or as the servants of others, as furriers, seal-catchers, and cod and salmon
The fishing establishments of the English and Jersey merchants are
extensive and well conducted. They are engaged in.the cod and salmon fisheries, and in the taking of seals. In the year 1831, the-yalue
of their shipments to Europe was upwards of $200,000, The number
of these commercial houses is from ten to twelve, who manage their
business at Newfoundland, either by the temporary presence of junior
•partners or clerks, or by resident agents.
The people pf Newfoundland, averring that the French* and Americans have driventhem from their own." bank fisheiy," resort to Labrador. They employ two or three hundred vessels. A part make two
voyages in a season. The first fare is commonly cured on the coast;
but the second is carried home without drying. Some ofthe merchants
of Newfoundland ship both cod and salmon directly to correspondents
in Europe; while others.order their captains to return to the island and
unlade their fish and oil at their owm warehouses.
The Canadian fisheries are small. They send eight or ten vessels
to the coast, with eighty or one. hundred men. They fish for cod and
salmon. They carry a part of what they catch to Quebec, ^and send
a part to Europe.
The colonists of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick adventure at Labrador to a considerable extent; but they do not pursue the business as
regularly and with as much syste^m as do those of Newfoundland. •
Sometimes they send more than one hundred vessels in a year; at
others the'' number is much less. They engage jirincipally in the cod
'fishery, making a single fare and curing their fish at home.
The Labrador fisheries have "increased more than six-fold," says
Macgregor, " principally in consequence of our fishermen [the English]
- being'driven from the grounds now occupied by the French" since the
year 1814; and he estimafes that about twenty thousand British subjects
are at present required during the fishing season inthe catching, curing,
and transporting the various prodiicts of these remote seas.




: gYe^-.





••§ 2
'B ^




1829. 608
1831. ; 700





o |






720,000 2,430

, 'g o •


gn§ ,
g j

16,000 2,200^


S. Doc. 22.



There were French fishing establishments in that part of Acadia now
known as New Brunswick, as early as 1638. T h e English succeeded
to these at the treaty of Utrecht, in 1713; but they do not sbem to have ,
formed many others until after the cession of Canada, in 1763.* Aniong^
the first, I suppose, was that of Lieut. Walker, of the ro3^al navy, in the
Bay of Chaleurs, which was extensive, controlhng the fur and fish trade
of that region for several years. There were similar settlements ori
the river St. John; but from the estimates of Mr. Grant, made in 1764,
at the request of the Rev. Dr. Stiles, the whole population of,British
.origin could not have 'exceeded one thousand.
At the peace of 1783, several thousand " tories," or loya.lists, compelled to abandon their native land, settled in New Brunswick, and
transferred thither the jurisprudence, the social and political institutions,
of "the old thirteen;" and, the year following, w^ere allowed to organize a separate colonial government. Like those who went to that part
of Acadia still called Nova Scotia, many ofthe loyalists were gentlemen
of education, eminent private virtue, and distinguished consideration.
Some, obtained offices.of honor and emolument; others adopted agricultural pursuits; paid another class, fixing their abodes on islands and the
shores of the main land, resolved to earn their support on the sea. Of
the latter description, several, though compelled to toil and exposure
ill open fishing boats, had been persons of note and property. But,
ruined by the confiscation laws of the whigs, or by the general disasters
of a civil war, they resorted to the hook and line to relieve the pressure
of immediate want, indulging the hope of "better times," and more
congenial avocations. Few, however, abandoned the employment,
and their children, trained to it from early youth, and acquiring fishermen's habits, succeeded to boats, fishing-gear, and smoke-houses, as
their only inheritance,'and continue it at the present day. I have often
met with common boat fishermen ofthis lineage, whose earnings were
hardly sufficient to procure the absolute necessaries of life.
The fisheries of New Brunswick are prosecuted with neither skill
nor vigor. The apparent exports, small as are the statistics, do not
indicate their real condit:Ion; since it is certain, that of the products of
the sea shipped to other countries, a.part is first imported from Nova
' Scotia, and fprm a proportion of the exports of that colony.t The
^ number of vessels sent to Labrador and other distant fishing grounds
is never large, and often almost nominal. The cod-fishery iri the Gulf
of St. Lawrence and the Bay of Chaleurs Is not as extensive as niight be
reasonably expected from the long experience ofthe inhabitants there,
and the general safety and productiveness of the harbors and indentations of the coast.
* The French built two forts on the river St. John prior to the peace of Utrecht, (1713,)
which they repaired in 1754, although the country had been ceded to England quite half a
. century..
' ,
t The'imports into St.- John from Nova Scotia for three months only (July 10 to October
10, 1852) of the present year, were 7,861 quinfals of dried fish, 860 barrels of mackerel,
2,423 barrels of herring, and other pickled fish.


S. Doc. 22.

The same remarks need slight qualification when applied to the Bay
of Fundy, and its principal branch, the Bay of Passamaquoddy. Cam.eron's, Doggett's, Drake's, Woodward's, Money, and Whale cove's;
Dark harbor. Long's eddy, Grand harbor, and.Long, Duck, Na:ritucket, and Kent's islands, which are all in the group of islands kiio\yn
.as "Grand Menan," afford excellent facilities lor catching and curing
cod, pollock, and herring, in large quantities. In the waters that surTound Campo Bello, Deer, and Indian islands, as well as in those that
wash Bean's, Adams's, Parkers, Minister's, Hardwood, and Fish
islands, and along the coast between L'Etite Passage and Point Lepreau, embracing Mace's and Back bays, Bliss's island, Seely's cove.
Crow, Beaver, and Deadman's harbors, the advantages for fishing are
^very good. . Every place here mentioned is within a few hours' sail of
t h e frontier ports of Maine', and many bf them are within cannon-shot
distance of the shores of the United States.. The fishermen of both
countries meet on the same fishing grounds; borrow and lend "bait;"
ask after each other's " woman"* at home; narrate the wonderfufcures
of the last-discovered remedy for the '"reumatis;" complain of the
"scacity" of fish, arid the low price of "ile;"; discourse about "flathooped flour;" and generally conduct towards one another as friends
and brethren, owing allegiance to one government. Indeed, the observation of quite twenty-five years authorizes me to sa3' that the colonists
aKvays agree far better with the Americans than writh each 'other. Our '
countiymen are not ofi:en considered interlopers when the3^ leave the
fishing grounds nearest honie^ and visit those of Grand Menan; but the
fishermen of Campo Bello, and the other islands on the British side ofthe
Passamaquoddy, are sometimes roughly accosted and " t w i t t e d " when
they venture to take the same libertyi Frequent attempts have been madb
to disturb the friendly relations which have generaly existed between the
people of the two flags, but without success. The efforts of officious individuals, and of functionaries of the colonial government, have been alike
disregarded. The captains of the British ships-of-war on the station, gentlemen in their feelings; have steadily refused to stoop to a petty
warfare against the American boats that cross the imaginaiy boundaiy
line in tlie waters of the. Passamaquoddy, though, of course, they .have
always obe.3^ed their instructions. Yet, in the spirit of Nelson, who looked
at the signal he. meant to disobey with his blind eye, the3^ have never
been able to see a "Yankee,"- or to distinguish one from a subject of her
M.ajest3'\ Some of them—as I remember the stories of by-gone 3'ears-7—
admitting the necessity of driving offthe aggressors, have asked, " H o w
are we to know them—are they markedV Others, sending their barged"
into the fleet of boats, liave^ directed that ^'All who ^ay they are Aniei-^'
icans must be told to go to their own, side of the line;" but, strarigely'
enough, the unbroken silence of the fishermen to whom the question
was propounded afforded proof that a.ll were "Bluenoses." Still others,,
satisfying themselves, by peering through, glasses from their quarter^^
deck, thai all the bog.ts in sight must belong to the islands in New Brmis-wrick, have thought the sending of barges to inquire a.needless ceremony. One, in 1840-^the captain of the Ringdove—in his official

They thus speak of their drives.

. ." . v.>.:

S: Doc. 22.


Report, r e c o m m e n d e d that ' ' e v e r y British boat should have a l i c e n s e ; "
o t h e r w i s e , said he, " i t is impossible to discriminate them from A m e r icans."
'. Those wlip seek to p u t an erid to this state of things, w^hatever their
motives, do not take into the account that the instant they shall a c complish their object, border strifes will follow of necessity.
renewing their efforts, they m a y be kindly asked to consider that harmony and good-fellowship b e t w e e n the inhabitants of frontier settlenients are indispensable, and far better securities against the m a r a u d e r ' s
torch and bludgeon tha,n a r m e d ships or bodies of troops.
T h e produce of the boat-fishery of the B a y of Fund3^ ^"^^ ^^ the
Passamaqifoddy, is not only small in value, but generalfy inferior in
q u a h t y . " A n increase of this fishery, under present circumstances, is
riot desirable. T h e fishermen dress and cure the cod, pollock, h a k e ,
and h a d d o c k — t h e kinds usually dried—-in a slovenly manner.
T h e s e fish,.besides being rpugh and dirty on the " s p l i t face," freq u e n t l y " slime," and thus are unlit for use. T h e y also smoke, pickle,;
and pack the herring without skill and care, a n d d e c a y is the consequence. T h e r e is no e x c u s e w h a t e v e r for such a coursP of conduct,
and ever3^ offender should be held to punishment. T h e gbntlemeri of
N e w Brunswick w h o complain o f t h e decline of their fisheries, and w h o
seek to encourage them b y private "associations," and b y gpvernment
*^bounties," should endeavor, first of all, to devise a plari to improve
the reputation o f t h e fish of this p a r t of that colony among dealers and
I find it stated in an official document* that In 1850, a t the different
mentioned as Xvithin these bays, there w e r e e m p l o y e d
^ 2 vessels of 1,268 tons, 344 open boats, 55 weirs, and 1,337 men, in
catching and curing, the s e v e r a i k i n d s of fish j u s t referred to ; and that
the value of the p r o d u c t s of the various branches of the fisher3^ w a s
^ 3 3 , 0 8 0 f currency, or $132,320.
T h e s e facts show that the fishermen received a miserable pittance
for their toil; since, without allowing f o r the use and depreciation of the
capital invested in the vessels, boats, loeirs, nets, a n d other fishing-gear, they
earned f o r the year less than one hundred dollars each. W e m a y lament
t h a t men who pursue their avocation both da3^ and night, mid rains
a n d gales, are so poorly r e w a r d e d . . W e m a y lament, too, that the p e o ple of,Grand Menan, falling short of those of C a m p o Bello, W e s t Isles,
a n d the parishes on the coast of t h e main land, earn even less than t h e .
a v e r a g e . But, w h a t then? T h e fault is their own ; entirely so. T h e y
m a y , if they will, produce as sweet and as well-cured pollock and cod
a s do their brethren of Barrington,^ and as gbod colbred and flavored*"Kepoit upon the fisheries of the Bay of Fundy, by M. H. Perley, esq., her Majesty*8
emigratioa ofiicer at Saint John, N, B.; laid before the House of Assembly by command of h'lH
excellency the lieutenant governor, and ordered to be printed, 15th March, 1851." To this,
minute, carefiilly-prepared, nud valuable State paper, I am mnch indebted for statistics and
other information. -Mr. Periey's endeavors ,to improve the condition and develop the re. SQurces of New Brunswick, are entitled to the highest commendation, of his fellow-colonists.
t^No. statistics for Grand Menan are given. Mr. P. says a dealer estimates, the value in
I,8?19^;.as-£12„0QO., which, in accordance with Mr. P.'s suggestion of bemg too high, I assume to
have been £11,000.
. . .

• 1 7

2M .

a Doc. 22/

.smoked herring as do those of Digby, and obtain prices to correspphS
with the quahty.
;. >
The general povert}^ amorig them is not to be attributed entiiefy or
principally, as they aver, to the occasional loss of boats and nets, nor
to glutted markets and bad seasons, nor to the interlopers who vijslt theiir
.fishing grounds, but to their ow^n want of industiy, thrift, cleanlinesSs,
and honest3^ The fe^v "w4io work it right," acquire property, and
enjoy the entire confidence of the dealers, command credit Ibr supplies, and high prices for their co.m.modities when offered for sale. . .,:
.. It remains to speak of the fisheries of the Bay of Chaleurs, and of
the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The county of Restigouche borders ion
Canada, and the counties of Gloucester, Northumberland, and Kent,
are fayorabl3" situated lor adventures in these waters. The fishing
grounds are safe, and generally close to the shores; and those near
Caraquet, in Gloucester, are much frequented by boats from Gaspe,
arid owned by residents of Canada. Since 1835, the catch of both
cod and herring by the fishermen of Restigouche and Northumberland
ha.s fallen oft" more than half, and in Kent has nearfy become extincl.
But the inhabitants of the port of Caraquet, availing themselves of the
advantages of their position, have actually produced a large proportion
-of the.,dried cod exported from the colony lor some years. These four
counties are more remote from the capital of New Brunswick, and from
the markets of the United States, than the county of Charlotte, which
embraces Grand Menan, and the other islands in the Bay of Fund3S
(where the fish are so badly cured,).and the attention of the people is
diyided betwx^en several branches of industr3^; but fishing, as an occasional and irregular employment merefy, has commonly proved a source
of profit, or at least has afforded a lair reward ibr the labor and capital
devotedvto it. The fish shipped at Caraquet are in much better repute
than those caught in the Bay of Fund3', and the remark is true of the
produce of the Bay of Chaleurs and St. Lawrence fisheries generally.
It may be presumed that there the herring does not "become rotten
before salting;" that, when sold asthe '>gibbed" article, it is not packed
without taking out the entrails; and that the cod is washed after being
split, and not "salted and put in 'kinch' in all its blopd and dirt." ., ., : This brief notice ofthe fisheries of New Brurrswick would be incomplete withput a description of the boat-fisherinan ofthe Bay of Fundy,
wdiose professional fitults I have so severely rebuked. Bred tp itheuse
of boats from his earliest youth, he displays astonishing skill in their
Uianagernent, and great boldness in his adventures. He w^ill cross,'in
the stormiest weather, from islarid to island, and go from passage:to
passage, through frightful whirls of tides, which suddeiily meet and:" parit
\yit h a loud roar;* and he wHl dive headlong, as it were,
and bars, merely to show how easily he can shun them, or how readily
and certainly he can tf go about" and "stand off'on the other tack." t
. * The ordinary rise and fall of the tide is twenty-two feet. The rapidity with whichXit
mshes by. the pouits of land, find through the narrow straits between the.islands, creates'danv
,gorp«i8 cross tides, eddies, and whulp'ools.
; :v ^^0*:^ :
-'.• t In returning from a ciiii^e to the coast, say.s the author of "Eothen," " You see of^,e&
enough a fisherman's humble boaf far away frdni"all shores, with an ugly-blaek sky above;^
an an^y sea beneath; you watch the grisly old m^m at the hehh, carr\'ing'his crtiit-^Witl^

s; Doc. 22.


iHe':is neither a landsman npr a seaman, a soldier nor a marine; but you
would think by his talk that he could appear to advantage in either of
•vthese characters. He is neither a merchant nor a mechanic, and yet
^he can buy and sell, mend and'make, as. expertly as either. In the
fearing he is wise above all others, and fancies that he possesses a
-sovereign specific for every ailment which all the w^orld beside considers
•ias incurable. He holdsriautic'al iiistrunients in high derision: fbr the state
qf the moon.and. the w^eather predictions of the almanac,* the peculiar
spuridof the sea when it * moans," arid: the particular size or shape of
•a 'Acat's paw" or "glin" in the sky, lead hirn to far surer results. H e
iwill undertake nothing of consequence'upon a Friday, and can prove
iby a hundred incidents how infallible are the signs and omens which
;he believes in. H e thinks to die in his bed. True it is, that he has
been overset; that his boat, loaded with fish to the "gunnel," has sunk
tinder him, and that a vessel;has run -over him; but he is still alive,
and " w a s not born to be drowned." His "fish stories" are without
iend. In politics, he goes for the largest libert3^ H e has never heard
of easements and prescriptive rights ; but he occupies at will both beach
and upland, without any claim to either, and will browbeat the actual
-•prpprietor who has the'temerity to remind him of their reliative positions.
Against speculators he wages perpetual w a r : why should he not?
:since it;is they ^W'ho put up the price of his favorite "flat-hooped,'
;fine middlings flour," and put down the price of fish and " i l e ! "
,•;, And who ^h;ill do justice to his dress and to his professional gear ?
.:The:garments which cover his upper and nether man he calls his i/e:
.§2/.f^. .The queer-shaped thing worn upon his crown is a sou\-westcr;
or.^.if the humor takes him, a north-caster. . H e wears neither mittens
Inor gloves,'but has a substitute which he has named nippers.
. >
•¥).:.: When he talks about;im^A, he means tp speak of the matted and
tangled mass which grows upon his head; or the long, red hair under
his chin, wririch serves the purpose of a neckcloth; or of t h a t in front
of his ears, which renders him impervious to the dun of his merchant.
His boots are stampers./ Lest ho, should lose the movables about his
person, he has them fastened to his. pockets,, by.ZaTZTiair^fe.,. One of^^^
knives is a cut-throat, and another is a sj)litter. His apron, of leather or
canvass, is a barvel. The compartnierit of his boat into which he
.throws his fish as he catches them, is a kid. The state of the moon
:flivorable for "driving herring," he calls darks. Tfie bent-up iron hook
^jwliich he uses to carry his burning torch on the herring-ground, is a
dragon. The small net with an iron bow and w^ooden handle, is a dij?^
We^f; because it is with that that he dips put of the water the fisH which ^
:his:;:light attracts to the surface. His set net is differently Vm;?^, and
much larger; it has leads on its lower edge to sink it with in the water f: and corks upon its upper edge, at regular intervals, to buoy it upstrange skill through the turmoil bf waters, and the boy, supple-limbed, yet weather-worn
falready^ and. with steady eyes that look through the blast, you see him—understanding oommandments from the jerk of his father's white eye-brow—now belaying, and now letting go-^
now scrjunching himself down into mere ballast, or baling out death with, a pipkin. Stale
^^irmgh is the sight;. and yet when 1' see it. I always stare aneWj and \with, a kind of Titanic .
';^Wl:a,tio.n, because that .a, poor: boat, with the,br,aiu of,.am,^u,and;t,he.hands of a boy on boftrd»
; j ^ / m a t c h herself so bravely against black heaven and ocean,">&Cv
• :

S. Doc. 22
and preserve it nearly in a perpendicular direction, so tnat the herrings
•'may strike it and become entangled in its meshes.
. Nor ends his dialect here. Chebacco-boats and small schooners are
knowm to him as pinkies, pogies, and jiggers. He know^s but little about
the hours of the day and night; eveiything writh hiro is reckoned by
thei tide. Thus, if you ask him what time he was married, he will
answer, " O n the young flood last night;" and he will tell you that he
saw a certain man this morning about "low-water slack;" or, as he
case may be, "just at half-flood," " a s the tide turned," or " t w o hours^^
to low water." If he speaks of the length of line required on the different fishing-grounds, he will compute by "shots f^ and by a shot he
mea:n.s thirty fathoms. If he have fish to sell, and is questioned as ta>
their size, he will reply that they are " two-quintaV^ fish, by wdiicli he
means that fifty wIU weigh one hundred and twelve pounds.
He is kind and hospitable in his w a y ; and the visiter who is treated
to fresh smother, duff, and jo-floggers,^' may regard himself as a decided
favorite. H e believes in witches and in dreams. The famous pirate
Kyd buried gold,and treasures in Money Cove,t Grand Menan, he'is
. sure; and he has dug for it many a time. His " woman " is the "best ;'.^
the harbor he lives in is " t h e safest;" and his boat is "the fastest arid
will carry sail the longest." When determined upon going home,
whether he is upon the land or the sea, he says, "Well, Til np killqck
and be off."
The man I have described is no countryman of ours, and was to |>e
seen playing the soldier on the easterly side of the St. Croix during
'the recent very wordy but bloodless w a r on the Aroostook, which wast3rmlnated by the treaty of Washington. But some of his qualities "of
character, and forms of speech, are common to most of the/class to
which he belongs; and the nets, knives, and other gear, are in general
* Potpie of sea-birds, pudding-, and pancakes—the fisherman's three P.'B
t So called from the popular belief that CfSptam Kyd buried two hogsheads of treaswr®

&tatutics of the fisheries of the Say of Fuudy for tht year ISSO^
Vesselsv Boats.



Cod and

Cod and









Grand Menan and the islands
adj acent r.
Campo Bello
West isles and parishes of St.
. George and Penfield.


: •


Herring, Mackerel
pickled'. caught. Value, New Value in
Brunswick dollars*
Barrels. Barrels.
























1 750

80, 000

15j 100

5,100 """'480"

39, 300





33, 079




Sthtisiics offliejliJi^riBdfNew^










Total dollars.

..... w.....

. ...

ofproduce exported.

- --



























Statistics of thc fisheries of New Brunswick—various produce, and quantities of each, exported'

1819 ....
1,820 ....
1821 ....
1822 ....
1823 ....
1824 ....
1825 ...
1826 ....
1827 ...
•18,28 ...
1829 ...
1830 . . .
1831 .:.
1832 ...
1833 ...
1834 ...
1835 ....
1836 ...
1?537 ...
1838 ...
1839 ...
1840 ...
1841 ...
1842 ...
1843 ...
1844 ...
1845 ...
1846 ...
1.347 ...

St) -.

Quintals of
dried cod.

16, 907
20, 441
27, 543
27, 434
23, 594
16, 832
15, 636
11, 320

Kits of
Barrels of
Boxes of
Barrels of
Barrels of
pickled cod. pickled her- smoked her- pickled sal- pickled salmon.

30, 451
^ 459
1, 001

12, 40i)
18, 335
3, 540
1, 058

7, 030
3, 761
13, 439
7, 209
5, 389
7, 308
10, 058
15, 379



2, 879

4, 650
2, 276
2, 653

of fish-oil.
2, 730
16, 380
7, 320
119, 936
5, 989

B.arrels of
pickled alewives.



• 9,889.






264 .

S.Doc. 22.

The salmon, shad, and alewlve fisheries are not embraced in the plan
ofthis report; but a brief account may be given of the former,'as the
most important of these, and ofthe rivers generall3^
Canada.—This fishery, at the present time, is very small. In 1786,
however, the export was considerable. In parts ofthe country where,
in former 3^ears, the catch was large, a few barrels of pickled salmon
only were shipped in 1848. In the.Gulf of St. Lawrence there were
once extensive establishments for the prosecution of this busiriess; but
some have been broken up, and others have become unprofitable..
Streariis that half a centuiy ago afforded suflicient for domestic consumption, and thousands of barrels fbr export, now yield only hundreds
of barrels, and the quantity Is'ra.pidly diminishing.
Nova Scotia.—The loyalists, who went to this colony at the peace of
1783, depended very much upon this fisher3^, and carried it on to advantage. The quantit3^ of salmon exported fbr some years was sufficient to purchase many articles of comfort, and to save them at times
from the miseries of pressing want. The salmon has entirely disappeared in some parts of the colon3'', and has ceased to be plentiful in
all of its rivers and streams. The export of salmon caught in the colony is not large. The whole produce ofthe fishery in 1851 appears to
have been but 1,669 barrels.
Newfoundland.-—The fishery is still worthy of attention, as reference
to the accompan3^ing statistics will show. The export in 1843 was
even larger than in 1814.
Labrador.—Captain Henry Atkins, of Boston, who made a vo3^age
to Davis's Straits in the ship Whale in 1729, and who visited the coast
a second time in 1758, found salmon very abundant. In " Salmon
river" both he and his men caught many while wading, and with their
hands. They took all they had salt to cure, and one that measured
four feet ten inches in length. Atkins's account, after his return, seems
to have induced no attention to the fishery on the partof his townsmen.
In 1831 thc exports amounted to 2,430 tierces of the pickled fish, of
tlie value of $35,650.
. New Brunswick.—The loyalists and other early settlers found the
Salmon in almost every river and stream In the colony.
At present it is never seen in some, is becoming, scarce In most, and
is of importance as an article of export in the St. Jbhn alone.
I The catch at Salmon Falls, in the St. Croix, thirty 3^ea,rs ago was
two hundred in a day, on the average, for three months in a 3^ear.^ A ;
person standing on a "jam of logs" caught there at one time one hundred and eighteen with a dip-net; "and a boy fifteen years old took:
iabout five hundred in a season. But such has been the decline, that it is
said only two hundred were taken during the entire year of 1850 by all
who engaged in the business on the river. It is stated that the dams
erected across the river have produced this change in the fisheiy, and
facts appear to sustain the position. The few salmon that now appear
jLii the Oromocto, the JNashwaak, the Maduxnakeag, and the Mispech^
as well as in Emerson's and Gardner's creeks, in Great Salmon riven
.and/Opose creek, is attributed to the same cause. , In., two: or three csf


S. Doc. 22/

the streams of minor size, where no obstructions exist, and where the
water is not muddy, the pursuit is still attended with some success and
111 some other places the fishery, biit for the wanton and lawless de- •
struction of the fish, without reference to its condition or the season of
the year, might be carried on advantageously.
T o the people ofthe city of St. John the annual catph of salmon is a
source of gain. The fisheries bf the harbor, by a provision in the city
charter,-belong to the citizens, or " freeaien." The fishing grounds or
stations are lotted out, and sold at auction every 3'ear for the benefit of
those who are entitled to them under the charter. The practical fisherrnen are the purchasers. The lots are of unequal value, and some
merety nominaL The number of salmon taken at St; John in 1850 was
estimated at 32,000, which sold, whether large or small, at the contract, price of one dollar each—except a small part for city coiisump»
lion—to be packed in Ice and sent to Boston. Drift-nets and weirs are
used in the fisheiy, though the former are prohibited by law. - Fishermen deprecate the use of torch and spear; but both are sometimes seen
in the hands of lumberers and gentlemen sporters. The salmon is found
on the St. John, two hundred miles from the sea, and on several of its
tributaries nearer to the ocean. On the Nerepis, one of its branches^
on which no mill-dams haye been erected, there is a fishery of note—
from 1,500 to 2,000 being taken annually.
It-will be seen that the. exportation of cured salmon from New^ Brunswick, ceased entirely in 1848—the whole catch, not required for consumption, having been packed in ice, and shipped fresh.
Statistics of the salmon fishery.

. Smoked.


1783 l"'."
17 84 • . . . . '
1786 k ^ . : : ; . . , , . . ,
1832 '
1838 •""'...•
1843 • . v . ' . l . , ,
1848 M .^








S. Doc. 22.
Statistics of salmo?ifishery—Continued.

• ' -


1838 .
184 7
1848 . . .


. . . ". .-...-




l' .. . -


68, 3^>0
61, O O
'59, 725

3, 822
5, 911

* From St. John alone.



Value. •:;


^ ".






S. Doc. 22.
Statistics of salmon fishery—C ontinued.









1822 i
1829 .
1830 .
1831 .
1836 .
1837 .
1838 .
1840 .
1841 .
1845 .
1846 .


2, 879
2, 479

1, 059

* A proportion of the annual catch has been exported fresh for some yeai's, but the quantity can only be conjectured.


: Year.^






*From Halifax alone.







B Doc. 23;







; ,


From 1620 until the union ioiih Massachusetts hij the charter of William
: "
and Mary, 1622.
After long and patient inquiry, I am convinced that the whole truth
as to the motives which induced the Pilgrims to remove fi'Oiii Holland
to America has not been told by our historians.
The sweet poetess asks, " W h a t sought they thus afat?" and herself
replies, not "the wealth of seas," but " a faith's pure shrine."' She
has expressed the sentiments of all. But is it so certain that they
" sought" not both? Ofthe men of their time, were they alone exempt
from the influence o f t h e fishing mania which prevailed throughou^t
maritime Europe? Weary, stricken, homeless exiles, could they have
lived unmoved by the spirit around them, when the Dutch fisheries*
were at the highest point ofprosperity, and wheri every one's thoughts
in their own country were turned to the planting of fishing colonies at
Newfoundland and onthe shores of New England? Our continent w;as
discovered in 1497, by Cabot; and from the moment that the chronicler of his voyage made known t o t h e people of England that out
waters teemed with fish—that here "were great seals, and those which
we commonly call salmons ; and also soles above a yard in length, but
especially there is a great abundance of that kinde which the sauages
call baccalos or codfish"--'down to the year 1620, as we have seen in
the first and second parts of this report, the intercourse of the French
and English with the northerly seas of America was constant; and ot
all this were not the Puritans as well informed as others? Were they
ignorant of what transpired in the New World In the ten years immediately preceding their flight from England, and during the ten years of

* It is said, by writers of authority, that in the year 1560 the Dutch employed one thou»
sand vessels in their herring fishery; that the number in 1610 was fift;een hundred; and that,
at the time the Pilgrims embarked for America, it was quite two thousand. These estimates
are extravagant enough, surely. What shall be thought of ^ r Walter Raleigh, who set the
Value of this fishery annually at £10,000,000, (or nearly fifty millions of dollars;) or of De
Witt, who said that every fifth person in Holland earned his subsistence by it 1 Yet such
statements were believed at the time, and their truth is contended for now.
Nor was this the only fishing excit&tnent ofthe Pilgrims'day. In 1612, the Dutch sent
whale-ships to the Greenland seas, but the British considered them interlopers, and compelled
them, to retire. The year, after, French, Dutch, and Spanish ships at Spitzbergen Were forbidden to fish, by the same "lords of the seas." British whalers, as is stated, went armed at
this period. In 1613, the British Russia Company received a monopoly of the, whale, fishery,
and the year following a company in Holland obtained the same exclusive right. In 1618, the
controversy between the British arid Dutch, on the subject of the fisheries, teiininated in a
general war.

Sv Doe. 22i
their residence ih Holland? While among the Dutch they werp neglected, if not unkindly trettted, and became poor and unhappy. Many
Slaces to which to emigrate w'ere mentioned, and the advantages and
isad vantages of each were amply discussed. As soon as the decision
ofthe little flock was madcf some were dissatisfied and withdrew., • The
question arises, w^hy did they decide to come to America?
I have no sf)ace to argue a question which involves so many-inquiries, but cannot forbear to state, in a few^ words, some of the principal
incidents which attended their coming to their "wilderness lippip.I'
Omitting to notice 1 he accounts of Amidas.and Barlow, wdio explored
the southern coast ofthe United States in 1584, under the auspices.of"
Sir Walter E,aleigh.: and what is. said of Sir:Ripha;rd;Grenville's exppr
dition to the same region the y(^ar following, as well as the va.rious
other enterprises which, in several particulars, are pertinent tp the subject, w e c o m e at once to the voyage of Gosnold, in the year 1602. He
was the first EnglLshman who sailed directly across the ocean, and the
first who attempted to make a settlement within, the limits of New';
England.. The story of^^his adventures was written by tw:o of his
associates. Archer and Brereton, and published in London* immediately after his return. Of Brereton little seems to be known ; but Gosnold and Archer were subsequently prominent amongthe earl3^ settlers
of Virginia, and between the latter and the celebrated Smith, there w^as
a long and a desperate quarrel. From Brereton's narrative, as .well as
from the tracts appended thereto, it appears that Raleigh was the
patron, perhaps the original mover, of the enterprise. As containing
the earliest infirmation of Massachusetts printed in England, thes«
papers are of great value. The attention of merchants, of fishermen,
and of those interested in colonization, hitherto,, and for nearly a cerir.
tury, directed exclusively to Newfoundland, was now. to be diverted, in
some measure, to New England. The results will appear as we pro-:
: - ••
. Arrived on our coast, Gosnold anchored near land which he called
*'Shoal Hope;" but, catching a "great store of codfish," he changed
the name to Cape Cod.t While there, says Archer, " w e saw sculls
of herring, mackerel, and other small fish, in great abundance." Brereton, whose account is more exact and definite, remarks with rnuch.
earnestness upon most matters connected with our inquiries. "Surely,
i am persuaded," he observes, "that, in the months of Maixli, April,"
and May, there is upon this coast better fishing, and in as great plenty,.m
in Newfoundland; for the sculls of mackerel, herrings, cod, and ^prtherfish, that we daily saw as we w^ent. and came from the shore,;.were
wonderful; a.nd,diesides, the places where we took these : cods ..(and^ .
might in a few da3^s have laden our ship) were but seven fitfioms
water, and within, less thaii a league pf the shore, when in Ne\yfoiindland they fish in forty or fifty fathoms water, arid far off."
• ::;iTo pass the observations which were recorded as they continued
tlieir exploratioris, we find in the tracts appended to Brereton thp, -pre* Republished in Collections of Massachusetts Historicait Society, rol. 8th of 3d series'. ".
' tPriiice Charles changed tfiername to "Cape Jarne,s,''i^ honor of his father; but Grosfflold'i appellation "has been peserved t o the prese'nMiw^^^^

§.• Doe. 22.


diction that, "forasmuch as merchants are diligent inquisitors after gains,
ihey will soon remoye their trade from Nevfoundland^^ to Neiv Eugland, wiiere
there is a better climate, greater security "against the depredations of
pirates, and less expense for outfits,,shorter voyages, and safer harborSo
The v/riter, anticipating that a colon3'' would soon be founded, predicted
further, that the ships of «/Z the nations t h a t "have been accustomed to unto the Newfoundland for the commoditj^ of fish and oils alone,
will hencefbrth fc)rsake" that island, "when once we; have planted
people in these parts; by whose industry shall be provided, for all commerce," the products of the sea, " a n d many commodities besides, of
good impprtance and value." Eighteen 3^ears elapsed; the Pilgrims-,
anchored off' the same "Shoal Hope," and settled this very countiy.
- P r i n g followed Gosnold, and explored the waters of Maine, in 1603.
H e saw and named the Fox islands^ in Penobscot bay, and fouiid gobcl
mooririg and fishing. Like Gosnold, he considered the fish which he
took there superior to those of Newfoundland. H e ' m a d e a second .
voyage three years later; and Gorges remarks that his discovery of
the eastern part of-New England was perfect, and his;account of it
Wa3"mouth, under the patroriage of several English noblemen, and
other persons of rank, cjinie in 1605. " A True Relation" of his adventures was written l y James-Rosier, " a gentleman employed in the
voyage," and printed in London in the same year. He agrees with
those who had preceded him in every essential particular. As they^
departed for England, they caught very large fish; and he sa3^s that
those on board of the ship, who were lamiliar with the business,"would
warrant, (by the help of God,) in a short voyage,.'w;i^A a.fciv good fishers,
to make a more profitahle return from hence than from Neufoundland; the
fisK being so much greater, bettei fed, and abundance with train,^"^ &c.*
• Two years after Way mouth's return. Lord John Popham, chief jus.-,
tice of England, George Popham, his brother. Sir Ferdinando Gorges,:
Sir John Gilbert,.his brother Raleigh. Gilbert, (who were nephew%s of
Sir Walter Raleigh, and, I suppose, sons of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, the,
briginal patentee of New^foundland,) with other gentlemen of consideration, determined to plant a colony in Maine, and near the fishing
grpurids which, in the judgment of Pring and R'Psier, promised so great
rbwctrds to adventurers. George Popham was appointed the president,
alrid; Raleigh Gilbert admiral of the expedition. The original design
vj^asltb settle in the immediate vicinity of the island, of Monhegan, in
Peribbscot bay; but, abandoning this plan, a small Island was selected;
M t h e iriouth of the Kennebec, where Popham and his; associates
lalrided'and cbmmenced a settlement. Soon removing^ however, to^
the niai^
thej^ built a fort, and erected a storehouse and dwellings.
The-'death of the two Pophamsvand of Sir John;Gilbert, the return of
Raleigh Gilbert to England, the loss of the; storehouse by fire, ;and
(ithef disappointments, discpuraged the colonists, and put an end to the
* With larger livcri^-^ bourse affording inore oil.


S; Doc. .22,

The next vpyagp that claims our'attentiori is that of Smith,* (so often
meritloned as the father of Virginia,) w^ho came to Maine in 1614,
caught forty-seven thousand fish within twenty leagues, of Mohegan,
and explored the coast from Penobscot to Cape Cod. The result of
his observations v/as published in London, in 1616. This work, "writ
with his oune hand,'^ was of greater pretensions than the tracts of the
associates of Gosriold and Waymouth. He devotes whole pages to
the subject of fishing, arid argues, as the previous voyagers had done,
that the seas of New England were far preferable • to those of Newfoundland; and he labors the point, and repeats it even to tediousness.
. H e institutes comparisons between the fishmg grounds of the two re.gions;' and all the details respecting the necessary wood, iron, pitch,
tar, nets, leads, salt, hooks and lines, and articles of provision, are given
with great minuteness. Smith perceives, indeed, that he must excuse
himself to his readers, and thus apologises: " B u t because 1 speak sp
much of fishing, if any one take me for such a devout fisher, as I dream
of naught else, they mistake, me."
In reading the accounts of Archer, Brereton, Rosier, and Smith, the
thought has often occurred to me that, for some reason or other, the
writers owed Newfpundland a sort of spite, and were determined to write
that island down, andtp write their favorite countryi/p. Smith, I think,
especially strives to accomplish this end. He was a man who left his
mark everywhere. H e had roved over Europe, and had fought on the
side of Austria against the Turks; and he was now fresh from James-,
town, and the preservation of his life by. the beautiful Pocahontas still
excited the public mind. His romantic adventures, his chivalrous
character, and his energy of put*pose, gave him commanding influence.
H e had set his heart on founding a* colony in "North Virginia," (as
New" England Was called until his voyage in 1614,) and seems to have
thought that he could best accomplish his design by dwelling upon the
superior advantages of its coasts for fishing. " I f Newfoundland," he
reasons, "doth yearly freight near eight hundred sail of ships with a
Hlly, lean, skinny>, yoor-^john, and corfish,'*^ and those who adventure
there " c a n gain, though they draw meat, drink, and clothes," and all
ihe necessary gear and outfits, from "second, .third, fourth, or fifth
hand, and from so many parts of the world, ere they come together to
be used in this voyage;'* and if "HoUand, Poitugale, Spaniard, French,
or other, do much better than they," why doubt pf success in going to
New England, "where there is victual to feed us, wood of all sorts to
build boats, ships, br barques, the fish at our doors, pitch, tar, masts,.
and yards ?" " O i a l l the four parts ofthe world that I have yet seen,^lhe
xyhserves/"" not inhabited, I should rather live here than anywhere.''^^
His publications on the subject of New England were numerous. The
third, or fourth, was printed in 1620, and treated of the "successe'of
twenty-six ships'* employed in fishing there "within these six yeares;"
and the last, published in 1631j (the year of his death,) gave an ac^^
*Captam Joha SmithVas born in Lmcolnshire, England, in 1579. He was an adventurer in
almost every part of the world.. His several works on American colonization are of great
value. For his services aod-sufterings in.IheNewrWorld he received no recompense. He died
m London, in 1631.

n. Doc. 22.


^bmit of''* the 3^earely proceedings of this country In fishing and planting," from 1614 to 1630.
What conclusions may we fairty.draw from these facts? In the
.second part of this report we have seen that at the very time the Pilgrims embarked, a company chartered by James clainied the sole,
ownership of the American seas, and that a great excitement existed
in England in consequence of this monopoly; and we have here seen
that accounts of Gosnold's ypyage had been printed eighteen, and of
W'aymouth's fifteen 5'-ears. Is It possible to escape the conviction that
bur'fathers knew and acted upon a knowledge of all these things?
That they^were in .possession of Smith's map, and spme of his books,
we have his own express declaration; while i n his last work, published
eleven years after their settlernent at Plymouth, he speaks of their
> '"'thinking to finde^'^ matters "better than he had advised themf^ atid he
evidently plumes himself upon the idea that he had been an efficient
- instrumerit in directing their emigration to the land he had praised so
much, and had striven so lictrd to people. In the chapter headed
'*'New England's yearty trials—The:planting new Plimputh—Suj)piisals prevented—Their wonderful industr3^ and fishing," he discourses about the English ships that had made "exceeding good vo3^ages" onthe coast; and axlds, seemingly, as the results produced by
their success, that " a t last, upon these inducements, some well-disposed
Brounists,* as they are tearnied, with some gentlemen and merchants
of La.3^den and Amsterdam, to save charges, would try their oune conclusions, though with great losse and much miserie, till time had taught
^tliem to see their oune error; for such humorists will riever beleeve
well, till the3^ bee beaten with their oune rod." In the next chapters
,he refers to their prosperous condition, (1624,) and says: "Since they
have. made a salt wbrke, wherewitli ihey preserve all the fish they
take,' and have fraughted this yeare a ship of an hundred and four score
.tun, living so \vell, tlie3^ desire nothing but more compaiy; and whatever they take, returne' commodoties to the value." The declarations
.of this,distinguished pioneer of civilization in this lieiiiisj.)here are entitled to respect, and in almost any other case would be considered as,
But there is other evidence. Weston, an English,merchant engaged
in the fisheries, who soon after the settlement of Plymouth attempted
to found a rival colony at Weymouth, and who canie in person to New
England to correct the irregularities of his fishermen, had much influerice in directing the affairs of the Pilgrims, arid in selecting the place
to-=whieh they should remove from Hollaiid. He made them an advance in 11101103^, engaged to provide vessels for their voyage, and ad\i^ed them to come to that part of America with which he kept up an
iiftercourse, "as'for other reasons/so chiefly for the ftope of present profit
to ie made by fishing,''^ And, besides, we know that they entered intp
af::sort.of copartnership inderiture with merchants, who, like Weston,
.made them advances, and agreed to allow these merchants a share ot
the fruits of their industiy. This indenture provides in terms for the
prosecution of the fisheries and the employment of fishermen; and the.


* One of the names of the Puritans.



S. Doc. 22i


Speedwell—that .craz3'', leaky bark—was bought for the purpose &f
complying with this stipulation.*
Still further. And to settje the. question, we may refer to 'fAbrief
Narrative of the true grounds and causes of the first planting of'New
England," by Edward Winslow, biie ofthe most distinguished of their
number, and who succeeded Bradlord as their governor. No origina,!
copy of this tract is supposed tb be in America; but a few years since
the Rev. Mr. Ellis, of Charlestown', found one in a piinted volume iii
the British museum, copied it for the R e v . D r . Young, who has placed
it in the "Chronicles of the Pilgrims."
. .Winslow, in this narrative, speaks of an interview between King
James and the agents of the Puritans who 3vent over to England from
Leyden in 1618 to solicit his consent to their going to> America. The
monarch asked them, " What profit might arise ?" He was answered
in a single word-^"Fishing." Whereupon James replied: " S o God
have my soul, 'tis an; ^twas the Apostle's own calling.'^f
Can anything be more conclusive?
Having arrived In the country w^hlch they had sacrificed .so much
to reach, (though north ofthe place of their destination on leaving Holland,) what did the Pilgrims do?
*The partners ofthe Pilgrims in England were numerous. They,-made a condMonal'safe
of their interest in the property at Pl}anouth in October, 1626, which was completed iu< 1627.
The contract was between Isaac Allerton, agent of the Plymouth settlers, and fortytwo persons, who style- themselves'" adventurers to New Plymouth, in New. England, in America.^'
Governor Bradford, in commenting upon the terms of the bargain, says that " we were bound
thereby to forfeit thirty shillings a week for every week that we failed, of due pajinent" at the
times specified. The purchase money was £1,800 sterlmg, in in.stal)inent8 of £200 annually^
" on the feast day:of ^t. Michael."
tThe "Mysteries, Moralities, Farces, and Settles" of the Roman church,could_ not have
been unknown to King James.' Some account of them i.? preserved in the *'Curiosities of
. •
" I t appears," says DTsraeli, " that the Pilgrims-introduced these devout spectacles, ,Those
who returned from the Holy Laiid, or other consecrated places, composed canticles of their
travels, and amused their religious fancies by iutenveaving scenes, of which Christ, the Apostles, and other objects of devotion, served as the themes." He remarks farther, that "these
spectacles served as the amusement and the instruction of the people. So attractive were
these gross exhibitions in tlie dark ages, that they formed one. of the principal ornaments of
the reception which^was given to princes when they entered towns. When the mysteries were
.performed at a, more improved period, the actors were distinguished characters, and frequently consisted of ecclesiastics of the neighboring villages, who incorporated themselves
nnder thetitle of Confreres de la Passion/^
John Bouchet informs us that he saw one of these mysteries performed at Poitiers iU; great
triumph and splendor, and that most of the ladies and geutlemenef the neighboring countries
were present. It was called "The Nativity, Passion,' and Resurrection of Chriist." Another
ofthe mysteries had for its subject, the election of an apostle to supply the place ofthe
traitor Judas. In this, Anne and Caiaphas are introduced, conversing about St. Peter and St.


^'Anne. I remember them once very honest people. They have often brought their fish to
my house to sell."
- .
" Cai«p/ms. Is this true?"
^ ' /
" Anne. By God it is true: my servants remember them very well. To live mote- at their
ease they left off* the business; or perhaps they were in want of customers. Since that time
they have followed Jesus, that wicked heretic, who: has taught them magic: the fellow understands necromancy, and ts the greatest magician alive, as far as Rome itself."
According to Lord W^oodhouselee, (late professor of civil history, and Greek and Hebrew
antiquities, in the University pf Edinburgh,) these mysteries werethe first dramatic representtaions known in Europe. They were' acted, he says, in his Universal History, by the^ monks
,in their charches. ^Tliey originated'in the 12th centuiy, and continued to be perfonned In
England even to the 16th century. In the reign of Henry th? 8th, the Bishop of London
prohibited the performance of any plays or interludes in churches or chapels.

S/ Doc" 22.



The records of their sojourn at Cape. Cod—the " Shoal H o p e " of
Gosnold—show that they were not only anx.ious to settle on the coast,
,but on such particular parts of it as Would afford them the surest re'; wards for searching, the seas.*
.\ Nothing in our history is more certain than this; but I have nbt room
.to go into, the evidence. Their good pastor, Robinson, who w a s the
^soul of the undertaking, never joined them; but his sons did; and as
" one of them settled at Cape Ann, and another fixed his abode at Scituiate, we may conclude that they designed to follov^^ the "honest trade"
.of fishing. We.may close the discussion v/ith the sentiment that our
' '.fisheries should be dear to the American people because of the hallowed
.names connected with their origin,'and should be thought worthy of
.national protection for this reason alone.
True to their indenture with the Engiish merchants, we are now to
\. find that the Pilgrims embarked af once in the fislieries.
': Singular to observe, early in the spiirig after their arrival an Indian,
, to their "no small amazement,", canie boldly in among them, and said:
" W e l c b m e , Englishmen," in their own language. His name was
- Sariioset. He was followed in a few da.ys by another, who was called
Squanto, or Tisquantum. Both had been acquainted with the English
.-..who had fished on ihe coast, and could even tell the names ofthe masters-and fishermen of the ships. The latter, indeed, had been carried
' to England b3^ a^vessel that fished at Monhegan, and had lived' with
...a London merchant two 3^ears. Squanto served them faithfiilly till
• ,the end of his life.- He instructed them in the manner of taking fish,
• of planting corn, and of manuring the ground with alewives ; and. acted
as their guide in their journeys.
,,. In the spring of 1622, the settlers were in a famishing ^condltlon.
Fortunately a boat from one of Weston's fishing vessels (the Sparrow)
'; came intb the harbor, and gave information that thirty English ships
...were then engaged in maldng fares at Monhegan.' Edward Winslow
- departed immediately for that islarid to procure a supply of provisions.
. The fishernien had no food to spare, and refused to sell, but freely gave
:...sufficient' to relieve t h e pressing wants of their Ptymouth brethren;
•regretting, sa3^s WinslPw, that their store was small, and that they
' .could not express their love by a more liberaf cbntribution. He re.. turned vvith all convenient speed. " I found," he remarks, "the state.
». of the colony much weaker than when T left It; fbr till now we were
/ ' n e v e r , without some bread, the w^ant whereof much abated the strength
.,and.flesh of some, and swelled .others." To answer the charge of
negligence in suffering extreme destitution in a countiy represented to
• •; abound with -fish and fowl, he'adds: " E o r though onr bay and creeks
were fldl of bass and other fish, yet, for want of fit and strong seines and
A^.gtker netting, they, for the, most part, brake through, a,7id carried all away
"''^^(fore tliem. And though the sea were full of cod, yet we had neither tack"'/' * After the Pilgrims ha.d held a solemn consultation respecting their final settlement, a part
' • of them were disposed to select a place which-they-called Cold Harbor, (between Truro and
••^ Wellfleet, Cape Cod;) because, among other things, "ii seemed to offer some advantages both
- ' f o r whale and cod-fishery .''\ Others "insisted that they should proceed about, twenty leagues
further, to a place called Agawam, (now Ipswich,) uhcurbor which wasknown to fishermen icJio
' had bn/cn on the coast/'



S. Doc. 22.

ling nor halsers fDr our shallops. And, indeed, had we not been in a
place where divers ^ sort of shell-fish are, that ma3'- be takeri with the
hand, we must have perished, unless God had raised some unkriowis
or extraordinaiy means ibr our preservation." These are interesting
facts, and affbrd us accurate knowledge of wiiat was passing on the
fishing grounds of Maine, as well as allow us to chronicle ari instance
of praiseworthy huriianity on the part of the fishermen, and explaiB
the causes of the distress for food which prevailed at Plymouth.
While thus destitute, the Charltj^ and the Swan, two other of Weg^
ton's ships, entered the harbor, with some fift}^ or sixty men, who, relates Winslow, "were received into our town with whatsoever courtesy
our meari. condition would afford."
. ,
The calamities of the Pilgrims w^ere not at ari end. In 162-3, without relief from abroa.d, they" were reduced to a single boat; " and that,"
WTi'tes the quaint Hubbard, "norie of the best." Yet " i t ivas the prin'CijJal support of their lives,'*^ for " i t helped therii to improve the net
"wherewith the3'' tbok a multitude of bass, wiiich v^'as their livelihood
all that 3^ear." " F e w countries," he continues, "hayethis advantage.
Soinetimes fifteen huridred of them have beeri stopped in a creek, arid
taken in a tide. But when these failed, tlie}^ used to repair to the
clarii banks, digging on the shores of the sea for these fish." Neal's
account is similar. It is certain that the3^ possessed but one boat, and
one net. Such were their, resources to prevent absolute starvation;
arid as they spread a,part ofthe £sh'the3'' caught upon their corn lands'
as mariurp, they were compelled to watch these fields at night, during
seed time, to preserve them from the depredations of wolves.
The pnly^people near them were Weston's fishermeri at .Weymouth.
But in the course of the year, the coloriy there was abandoried. Some
perished of hunger; one exhausted his httle strength In crawling to a
claiii bank, and died upon it. Of the survivors, a part subsisted by
stealing from the Indians, and others endeavored to reach Monhegan,
therice to embark for ^England. Weston, hearing of these disasters,
and anxious to ascertain the condition of his affairs, came over in one
of his.own fishirig vessels,, disguised as a blacksmith. He was shipwrecked, stripppd b y t h e Iridlaris, and barely escaped with fiis life.
Strange ate the vicissitudes of human condition: he, the English merchant, who, in the d a y of his prosperity, had been the adviser and
patron of the weary and strickeri PflgrimSj now presented himself before them at Ptyriiputh, iri garments borrowed to cover his nakedness,,
a broken and ruined rii ari!
The period of extreme need soon passed away.; Tn 1624 they sent
a ship to England laden with fish, cured with salt of their own manufacture, and the year followirig despatched two others with fish and
furs; but orie, when near the EriglLsh coast, was captured by the Turks.
In 1626 they opened a trade with the fishing vessels, at Monhegan, and
commenced yo3Mges tp different parts of Maine to procure fish and .
furs; and twoy e a r s later, wx find them spelling: both corn and the products of the sea to the Dutch on Hudson's river. Blearitime,' the
irregular and liceritlotis course of the Eriglish fishernien upon the coast
had been stated iri ternis of earnest complaint b3^ Governor Bradford,
in a letter to the council that/claimed the eountry and its fishing

S. Doc. 22.



grounds« Meaiitime, too. West, cpramissloned by this cpuncll to levy
a tax upon vessels that were fbund fishing or trading within the limits
of their domains, had appeared at Ply mouth to execute his duties; but
unable either to collect tribute money, or to obtain a recognition of the
. rights of his priiiclpals, he had departed the seas, insulted and discomfited.
:. The Pilgrims may have built their first vessel in 1641.^ Their circumstmces considered, this was an aff'air of greater nioment than the
"constructloir of a packet-ship at the present time. This
barque was of but forty or fifty tons, and the cost was estimated at
pnly £ 2 0 0 ; , yet there were thirteen owners and a building-committee
bf four. The name has not been preserved. The same year, Mr.
John Jenny was allowed certain privileges at Clarke's island, to metke
'salt, which he was to selltp the inhabitants at tw:o shillings the bushel;
a n d " t h e herring wear was let for three years to three persons, who
are to deliver the shares of herrings, and to receive one shilling and
•sixpence the thousarid.for their troublp." Still further to promote the
manufacture of salt, the useof thirty acres of land, at the island, wa.s
granted, in 16.42, "to the five partners, for twenty-one years;" and
about the same time, leave was given tp Williani Paddy and John
.Hewes to erect fishing-stages at a place which yet retains the name bf
"Stage Point."
•: •
Preyious to 1650 the people of Hull were allowed to seine fish at
.Cape Cod; but so rne irregularities having occurred, the Ptymouth
court passed an order of interdiction, and limited the fisheiy there to.
persons belonging to the^towiis of Plymouth, Duxbury, and Nauset,
under restrictioiis inteiided to insure an "orderly course inthe manage-,
.merit of it."
• ^
, - Subject to continual annoyance and interruption b3^ the fishermen of
• Massachusetts, the,court, in 1668, directed that a communication should
^^be sent to the government of that- colonj^ " to request them, to take some
effectual care for the restraint of this a.buse, as m a y b e . " The
property at Ptymouth w a s " r a t e d " the same 37'ear. All persons "en- gaged about fishing", were "valued at twenty pounds estate." This
wa:s high; inasmuch as Edward Gray, \yhose stock in trade was the
niostvaluable,.w^ as rated orily''six score pounds/' ,
. In 1670, a valuation s was made of the "fish-boats,", and four w^ere
estimated at twenty-five pounds each. Though-'called boats—and
I suppose without decks—^many, probably, were of several tons burden, and could be safely employed at a distance from shore. The ~
fisheries, at this period, were corisidered as well established,' and were
steadity,aild profitably pursued.
. . F i f t y years had now elapsed since the settlement of Plymouth. The.
country, hack from the sea, was 3^et a wilderness." A generation,'born
in the colony, had attained nianhobd. Religious worship was maintained in ail the towns, but there were no public schopls. Few of the
Mayflower Pilgiims were then alive; and the number of educated persons was small. A proposition had been made, as appears by the proceedings ofthe court, t o provide-sclipolniasters ".to train up chilclren to
reading and writing;'' but AVI thou t results.- The profits ofthe mackerels^ass^ and herring, fisheries at Cape Cod, were now granted to found a

278 •

S. Doc. 22.'^

FREE SOHOOL; and In 1671, under John Morton as teacher, and Thomv^sV
Hinckley as steward of the fund, such a school w^as opened in the.
colony. This is a most interesting incident: the Cape which afforded'
the first shelter to the fa.thers, supported the first pubhc seminary for
the education, of the children!
Morton',- w^ho was a nephew of the secretary of the coloriy, proposed'
merely to teach the youth oi one town " to read, write, and to eastac-^
counts." But a grammar-school was soon established^ in Plymouth ;•
and several were actually in operatibn in other places as early as the:
year 1680..
. . - '
'. '
The fisheries, I conclude, were cbnsidered public property, and weregenerally leased to individuals for the benefit of the colon3^, or of par-'
ticular towns. The subject of "_rents" and of "profits " i s continually
referred to in the records, and orders to grant leases to petitioners, or
to protect lessees in the enjo3'ment of the privileges stipulated in thecovenants with them, are of frequent occurrence. An ordinance of the
latter description of extreme severity was jiassed, in 1678—the court
directing that'all fishing vessels not belonging to the colony should be •
seized fbr public use by warrant fi'om the governor, or one of his as-;
sistants, and that the lessees of the colony fisheries should be entitledto damages, to,be paid them out of the proceeds of the vessels seized
and confiscated. The people of Massachusetts were alone exempted:
from the penalties of this extreme measure.
Randolph, the first collector of the customs'of Boston, gave a generalaccount of the diflerent New England colonies, at this period, and said,
of " New Plymouth." that the people were principally "farmers, graziers, and fishermen ;" that there were "very few merchants, tliey being
supplied with all foreign commodoties from Boston;" and that " they.,
have np ships of burden, but only small ketches and barkes, to trade
along the coast, and take fish."
' The colony of Ptymouth was .united with Massachusetts by the>
bharter of William and Mary in 1692, and a separate notice of its fisheries accordingly cea,,ses at that date.
'John Alden, the. last of the Pilgrim band, :died onty five years .previously". He lived In America; sixty-seven years ; and in every adrriinistration during the whole time he participated in, public affairs.
To regard his connexion with our subject as merely official, his relations commenced with the first, and terminated only with the last, of
the incidents that I have here recorded. But we know, besides, that
his private interest in the " wealth of seas " and in general trade was
often extensive.:
Sufficient has iiow^ been said to show the general course of affairs
aniong our fathers, and to connect the branch of industry under notice,
with some of the most hallowed names in our annals. Mark Antony,*
* The Romans, like the Egyptians, carried the art of rearing fish to great perfection; and
almost every rich citizen had a fish-pond. At some of their feasts a thousand of the choice.s.fc
fishes were set upon their tables; and at a supper given to Vitellius by his brother, there was,
double that number provided for the guests. Tt was a custom, at tinie,, to carry the dolphin to their eating-rooms alive, in,order to glut their eyes-with the changes of its color when; >
dying. They were, pe.rhaps, the most sensual and. luxurious :peox)le who have, ever livedo;
Their gormandizing habits ^may be seen from the circumstance of Julius Cassar's haying takea

S. Doc. 22;


who was a keen fisher, was told by Cleopatra t o " leave fishing to us
petty princes of Pharos and Canopus." Leave it, is the sentiment of too
many of our countrymen, to " t h e ignorant, the superstitious, and the
improvident;" and. a single remark more may not, therefore, be
^Bradford and Winslow, both of whom were governors, with Alden,
Standish, Brewster, Allerton, and Howland, as associates, were not
orily lessees of fisheries, but of the whole commerce of the colony for a
term of3^ears.
• ,
These were Mayflower Pilgrims, and all signers ofthe compact
at Cape.Cod, before the landing, in which the great principle that the
*'majority shall govern" is recognised. Of Allerton, indeed, we may
speak as of a regular dealer iri fish and furs, since we find that he owned
vessels, conducted a fisheiy at Marblehead, made voyages to different
parts of Maine, established a trading-house far within territory claimed
as Acadia, and in Goniiecticut received products ofthe sea for sale ori
a share of the profits'. In fine, he was one ofthe most active and enierprising men of his day, and, though deyoted to trade, was employed
in arranging the most difficult conperns of the colony both at home and
in England. To cross the ocean two centuries ago'was a matter of
vast moment, but Allerton visited the cpuntry of his birth no less thari
five times in the brief-space of four years. ,
' .
Such, in conclusion, were some .of the men who devoted time and
talents to a business fit onty for " t h e ignprant, the superstitlbus, and
the improvident.'*
a vomit before slipping with Cicero, the better to make an enormous ineal.. When one of the
Stoics saw the works of Lucullus on the seacoast—^the inimense cellars and vaults, fish-ponds
and reservoirs, which he had constructed—he called him " Xerxes in a go-vMi." And Cato, the
censor, in complaining of his countrymen, said, " It was a hard matter to save Rome from ruin,
when a fish was sold for Hiore than an ox." , The Roman emperor Elagabalus, according to
Gibbon,-^ would mever eat sea:-fisk except at a great dist^iiice from the sea. He then would
distribute vast quantities of the .rarest sorts, brought at. an immense expense, ;to the peasants
of the inland countiy." Marc Antony is said to have given the house of a Roman citizen to a
eook who prepared for liim a good supper. '
i .
Some of the most eminent warriors and statesmen were extravagantly fond of fishing. Antony was one of thesel The remark quoted in the text is to be found in Plutarch; who relates
the following story: " He was .fishing one day with Cleopatra^ and had ill success; which, in the
presence of his mistress, he looked'upon as a disgrace. ' He therefore ordered one of his assistants to dwt;, and put o.n his hook such as. had been taken, before. This scheme he put in practicethree or four times, and Cleopatra percei-ved it. She affected, however, to be surprised
at his succes.s, expressing her wonder to the people about her; and, the day following, invited
them to see fresh proofs of it.'. When -the day following came, the vessel .was crowded with
people; and as soon^as Antony had let down his line, she ordered one of her divers immediately to pifet a sait-fisiion Ms hook. When Antony found he had caught his fish, he drew up
his line; and this, as may be supposed, occasioned no small mirth among the spectators. ' Go,
General,' said Cleopatra, 'leave fishing to us petty princes of Pharos and Canopus: your
_game is cities, kingd<3m.s, and pro^nnees.'"
Travellers in modern times find the ruins of Roman fish-ponds. At Agrigentum is seen .an
artificial lake, about a quarter of a league in, circumference, dug out of solid rock by the Carthagenian captives, and to which water was conveyed, irom the hills. It was thirty feet deep;
and great quantities of fish were kept in it t o r the publip feasts. The fish-ponds of Nero were
numerous ; and the Coliseum is said to have been erected on the site of one of them. Fishing.
Fiets, some of them quite jentire^ have been found in great numbers in Herculaneum, as \yell as
Ml Pompeii.
. .

S. Doc, 22.



From 1607 to the Revolutionary Controversy,
We have elsewhere seen that, aS; the French claimed the entire
country betwpen the Kennebec and the St. Croix, the ancient limits of
Maine embraced' hardly more than one third of its preserit territory^
As, too, mention has been -madp of the most distinguished Englisl|
voyagers who followed Gosnold 'to explore tlie coast, the first incident
to deniand bur attention is the mission estabhshed l y the Fathers Baird
and Masse, in 1609, at a place which they callpd St. Saviour, on the
island of Mount Desert. They were Jesuits,'and were soon joined,by
Father Du Thpt, of the same order. In J613-, Sir SaMuel Argal, who
was subsequently governor of Virginia, while on a fishiDg vo3''age to*
the waters in 1;lie vicinity, was wrecked at Penobscot, and' was informed by the natives of the founding of this mission ; and on his return to Virginia, measures were immediately adopted to destroy it.
Eleven fi.shing vessels, provided vvith soldiers and cannon, under the
comma.nd of Argal, were speedily despatched to accpraplish this purpose. The French had a ship and a barque in the harbor with guns
on board, and.had commenced a small fort; but,"surprised at the a p pearance of the Engiish, with no cannon mounted on shore, and with
mostbf their .men alisent in their various employments, the3^ were easily
subdued. Resistance was, hoy^^ever, made from one of the vessefe,
and Du Thut was killed while leveUing a ship's gun, and seyeral who
.assisted by his side wpre wounded. ^ Argal, soon master of the settle-^
ment, broke^up the cross and other emblems of French possession, destroyed everything connected with the fxilssion, and, after performing'^
a similar exploit further east, returned to Virginia. This, it is of interest to remark, was the beginning of the contests, wars, and bloodshed between the Enghsh,and the French, which, with occasional intervals, continued fbr a century and a half, and which terminated only
when the flag of England w^aved upon every Anierican sea hetweeo
Mexico and Labrador.
Sir Samuel Argal's character is variously represented. That, he wa,.s
. a bold and a bad man seems probable. The year before he came to.
Mount Desert he carried off'tlie celebrated Indian princess, Pocahoi>r
tas, and actually held her as his prisoner, when'Rolfe woopd .and w^on
her. The Earl of Warwick was his partner in trade, and, as is said^
was defrauded by hini.
. ._ 1
Omitting several minor events, we. come af once to consider Maine as
an English colony.
The first inhabitants were neither Puritans nor refugees from persecution. Sir Ferdinando Gorges, the originaf proprietor, o^rMord palatine, was an Episcbpalian, and a stout royalist or adherent ofthe Stuarts^.
and those whom he sent over to settle his domain were ofthe same religious and pohtical sentiments. H e was a deyoted friend to the colonization of America, and deserves our gratitude, even though we are
sometimes compelled,to condemn his plans, aiid the grasping spirit
which he evinced as a member of tlie Plymouth Council, I t may bo .

S. Doc. 22.


admitted that his purposes were entirety personal, and that he aimed
• solely to acquire wealth ; but stiU, whatever were his motives, the
vo3^ age of Challon, in 1606; the enterprise ofthe Pophams and the
Gilberts to the Kennebec, the following year, in which he had an interest; the voyages for fishing, and trade of-Richard Vines, his agent,
steadily pursued for years in a ship purchased with his own money; the
. adventure of Dermer to the island of Monhegan, undertaken under his
auspices, in 1619; the aid he afforded to Sir William Alexander, in
1621,-to procure the patent of Nova Scotia; the grant obtained by
John Mason and himself of the country between the Merrimack and the
Kennebec rivers, in 1622 ; and the subsequent grant, in his own indi-.
vidual right, of thb territory between the Piscataqua. and the Kennebec, which, in,honor of Queen, Henrietta,*:he palled MAINE—were all
beneficial to New England, and hastened its settlement. Yet, for himself and his'heirs. Gorges really aceomphshed nothing.t ' Two centuries ago one hundred thousand dollars was a large sum ; but he expended.that amount of money in his various enterprises in America,
which was entirely lost, if we except the twelve hundred and fifty
^pounds sterling received, by the representa.tive of his family, in 1677,'
from Massachusetts, in the purchase, and i n full payment for a qult("claim deed of Maine.
' . ^
The immediate objects of Gorges were to establish fisheries, to erect
saw-mills, and to open a cbmmuriication with the Indians. Fishing
and lurnbering, indeed, cpntinued to be the great branches of industry
fpr more than a centuiy after his death. As late as the year 1734,
there were no more .than, nine thousand persons of ..European origin
between the Piscataqua and the St. Croix, and thence to the dividing
and disputed "highlands," where royalty last contended for the soil of
Maine. In truth,, not a grant was made'east of the Penobscot ^previous
tp 1762; and Machias, though the oldest town between that river and
the frontier, was npt "alienated prior to 1770, and had no corporate
existence until Massachusetts-became an independent State.. The
general condition of Maine, in fine, as the revolutionary controvers3^came
•tb a crisis, may be summed up thus: the w^hole number of inhabitants'
was about equal to the present population of the cities of Portland and
Bangor;, the supreme court held one term at Falmouth, (riow"PoVtland,) and one at Ybrk, annually; there were ten representatives to
tlie general court, none of whom, lived east pf Brunswick or the Aiv
droscoggin-river; the number of clergymen was thirty-four; the'six
councillors or barristers at law w^ere Willia.m Ciisliing, James Sullivan, David Sewall, Theophilus Bradbury, Caleb Emery, and David
Wyer, all of whom were whigs, except the last; of incorporated towns,
there were twenty-five ; the only custom-house was at Falmouth; the
patronage of the crown was cpnfined t o the officers of the revenue, to
a-corps of civil functionaries by no means numerous, to a surveyor of
the king's forests, and his deputies.
*She was a French princess, and her estate in France.was called "the province of Maine.". '
t Sir^Perdinando Gorges died before Jiine, of the year 1647.' He suffered much for his de^
votion to the Stuarts. Maine, of which he became sole proprietor, was neglected by his son.'
John,to whom it descended; and was .sold by. his son Ferdinando, in^l677, to Massachusetts,
fol the sum £1,250. The first Ferdinando was the author of tracts on American colonizatibii.


S. Doc. 22.

I propose how to take a rapid view of the events connected with the
sea. It may be assumed that the island of Monhega.ii—already so
frequentty mentlbned in this report—was the seat of the first fishery in
Maine; a.nd that the first resident fishernien were those who fixed their
abodes on the coast of the main land between the Kennebec^ and Damarlscotta, in 1626. The same class of men had habitations at Cape
Porpoise as. early as 1630; and there were fishermen's cabins and '
hunters'-camps, very possibly, near the site of the city of Portland,
befire the close of thp same year.*
' ff
In 1631, Aldsworth and Eldridge, two merchants of Bristol,. England, obtained a grant known as the '^Pemaquid patent," which gave
them the exclusive right to fish in their own waters.
The patent embraced, seyeraf thousand acres o r i a n d on the main,
the Damaiiscove' Islands, and all other islands within nine leagues of
the shore; and thus, whether designedly or otherwise, included Monhegan. The whole territory, though now almost in the centre of the
seacoast of Maine, was east of Gorges' eastern boundary, and therefore within the French claim. It would seem that a fishery was
established at Richman's, or • Richmond's Isle, near Portland, previous
to 1631; since, in that year Prince j:records^ in his annals, that Governor
Winthrop was' informed of the murder there of Walter Bagnall and
ariother person, by "Squidecasset," an Iridian sachem.; which isle,
says Prince, was part of a tract of land granted to Mr. Trelane,t a
merchant pf Plymouth, England, who had " settled a place fbr fishing,
built a ship, and improved many servants for fishing and planting."
The annalist should have added, that the grant was to Goodyeare, as
w^ell as to Trelawney. Both were Episcopalians; and in J 6 32, they
appointed . John Winter to superintend their fishery.
island soon became' an important and noted place ; several ships were
furnished with cargoes of fish annually, and Winter often emplo3^ed as
many as sixty men. Josselyn was at the island in 1638, and relates
tliat he went on board the Fellowship, a ship of one hundred and
seventy tons^ and that among the friends who came to bid him fare^
weU was a Captain Thomas Wannerton,:.who drank to him'"a pint of
kill-devil, alias rhuiii, at a draught." , Winter, says this quaint chronicler,
w a s " a grave and discreet man." The whole population of Maine, at
this time, did notexceed one thousand persons, of wliprii quite half were
fishermen, who lived at the places named above,.on the river vSt. George,
and elsewhere on the coast w e s t of the mouth of the Penobscot.
In 1645 there was an action commenced in the,courts against Winter, by John Trelawney, of Piscataqua, on an account for services in
the fishery at Richmond's island, in which Trelawmey appears to have
recovered judgment.
^Winter died the same year, leaivlng a daughter, who married Robert
Jordan, an Episcopal clergyman. Jordan administered upon Winter's
estate, and became involved in suits and difficulties in closing his
, *The first house ih Portland was built by George Cleeves, in 1632, at a place called ilfacAigoiine by the Indians, and Cleeves' Neck, or Munjoy's Neck, by the English. Cleeves became
a distinguished magistrate in that, part of Maine, and died very aged.
. t~The name should be Trelawney. . - .
' , " / • /

S. '.Doc. 22.-

• 283'

affairs." " Tlie report of the commissioners fbr the plantation at Rich^
inond's island," made in 1648, is worthy of notice, as containirig curious
facts to sliow^ the prices and traDsactions of the time."' The commis-_
sioners were appoirited at the instance of Jordan, who claimed that a
balance was due the estate of his father-in-law. It is said in the
report, thai, in the six years preceding his decease. Winter had sent his
principal in Erigland, "in several ships, in fish,, merchantable a.nd refuse, 3,056J quintals," and of "core-fish, 38J quintals;" of "train-oil,11 hogsheads;" and other commodities of the sea ; which, "according
to" the prices here, cannot amount to less than £2,292.^' The inventory
pf the property.,belonging to the fishery, shows three boats in use, with
their mborings and appurtenances, ^ ' 2 8 ; two old boats out of use,
valued at £ 2 ; the fishing stage, with a quantity of old casks, .£10 65.;
six dozen hooks,, at 16 shilhngis;. five dozen of liDes, at. <£7; one seine
and two old nets, £4: 10s.; about ninety hogsheads of salt, .£65 IO5.;
andthatthere was due, the concern by a Mr. HiU, the sum of £84t 15s.
Qd. for one hundred and thirty-three quintals of fish sold but hot paid for.
The fishermen who frequented the waters bf Maine having often de.itroved tiniber and wasted the forests, on the shores, and haviii2: acqtiired the habit of carelessly packing and curing their fish, the county
court were directed to appoint proper officers to correct these abuses by
an ordinarice of 1652; at which time Pemaquid had become the principal .
plantation between the Kennebec and the Penobscot, a great fishing
mart -and place of shelter for vessels, passing to and fiorii the Frerich
and Eno^lish settlements scattered along the coast.
In 1657j we have an Indian deed of land in Portland as follows :
^' Be it known unto all men that I, Scittery Gusset, of Casco Bay^ Sagamore, dp hereby firmly covenant, bargain, and sell unto Francis Small,
ofthe said Casco Ba3';, fisherman, his/heirs, &c., all that upland arid
marshes at Capisic, lying up along the northern side of the fiver, unto
tlie head.thereof, and so to reach and extend unto the river side of Ammoncongaii;" This Sagamore was, possibly, the murderer of Bagnafl,
at Richmond's island, in 1631. . The consideration for the lands sold',
to. Small was one trading coat and one.gallon of liquor annually. • Four
years later Nicholas White, of Casco Bay, sold to John Breme,:" now of
the same Bay, fishernian," all his interest in Hbuse island, near Portr
land, being one quarter part, but reserved liberty to Sampson Penley
t(i make fish on the island during his life. These conveyances show
what was passing two centuries ago at the present commerciar capital
of the frontier State.
, .
V •
. In 1667 the commissioners of King Charles to New England gave
a., sad account of the morals of the persons connected with our
subject on the ." Kennibeck river," upon '> Shipscot river," a,iid at
"Pemaquid." ''These, people," say they, " for the most part, are
fishermen, and never had any government among them ; mpst of therii:
a,re such as have fled from other places to avoid justice.' Some here
are of opinion that as rnan3" men may,share a woman as they do a boat,
and some haye dprie so.". Josselyn's* picture of Maine, at this period^.
* John: Josselyn arrived in Boston in 1663, and lived in New England a number of yearsi
His account ef his adventures in his two voyages is amusing.

S; Doc. 22;


is too curious to be omitted, though my limits will not permit its insertion entire. " About-eight or nine miles to the eastward.of Cape Porpoise," he writes, " i s Winter harbor, a noted place for fishers ; here
they have many, stages." " A t 'Richmond's island' * * are likewise
stages for fishernien. Nine miles eastward, of Black Point lyeth scatteringly the town of Casco,"^ upon, a large bay, stored with cattle, sheep,
swine, abundance of marsh and arable land, a corn-mill or two, with
stages for fishermen. * * * Further yet eastward is Sagadahock,t
where are many houses scattering, and all along ^stages fbr fishermen.
* * * * From Sagadahock to Nova Scotia is called the Duke of York's
province-; here Pemaquid, • Martinicus, Mohegan, Capeaiiawhagen,
where Captain Smith fished for • whales, Muscataquid, all .filled with
dweliing-houses and stages for fisherriien." ^
. •,
Agaiii,,.he says that " T h e people in t h e province pf Maine m a y b e
dividedinto magistrates, husbandmen or planters, and fishernien: ofthe
rnagistrates some be royalists, the rest perverse spirits : the like are the
planters and fishers, of which some be planters and fishers both—others
mere fishers." After speaking of the quantity of fish taken, and ofthe
various markets to Which the different qualities were sent, he thus describes'the manrier of fishing and the habits of those who lived by the
use of.the hook arid line: ." To every shallop belong four fishermen :
a master or steersman, a midshipman and a fbrempst-inan, arid a shoreman, who washes it out of the salt, and dries it upon hurdles pitched
upon stakes^breast-high,I and tends their cookery.;'These often,get in
one voyage eight or nine pounds a man for their shares." - The money
they earned,-he Continues, was squandered in drunken revels. The
arrival of a." walking tavern,'' (as he calls a yessel laden with wirie,
brandy, and other intoxicating hquors,) put an end to fishing, and-no
persuasions which their employers could use were sufficient to induce
them to go to sea for two or three days—"nay, sometimes a whole
week," and' until wearied with drinking. When thus carousing, " they
quarrelled, fought, and did (lie another mischief."
- '
The course of events during the hostile relations between Fraince and
England, cannot: be stated in detail. < Particular cases will show, however, the general conduct of the French rulers In Acadia, and thp kind
ofwarfarerheditated and actually perpetrated by their savage allies
'Within the borders of Ma.ine. F p r a t i m e , the Acadian seas were yisited by the eastern fishermen without molestation.. But in 16i75, De
Bou g, the French governor, not only prohibited his people from coritinuing their intercourse With their Protestant neighbors, but levied an
impost or tribute, of four hundred codfish on eyery Eiiglish colonial vessel found fishing upon the coast of Acadia, and required his- officers to
seize all that-^refused, and to take away whatevpr fish had been caught
with the outfits and provisions on board. || The remark of Mugg, (a






tThe country between,the Kennebec and the Penobscot. ,
, t The mannerof drying on " flakes" is very similar at the present time.
II RandoJph, in a letter dated at Boston,. July 28, 1686,'and "addressed to Mr. Blaithwaifc,
En.gland, remarks: "There tidll, I fear, be an eruption betwixt the French of Nova, Scotia
and our people in Maine and New Hampshire," and for reasons which he relates. "Wehave
sent," he further says, "to all places to warn our people, and to the fishermen, not to venture
upon their coasts, lest they besm*prised and made to answer for damages done by strangers."

S. Doc. 22.


sachem of some note,) a year or two afterwards, to the Indians on the
Kennebec, it iriay be assumed, was of Frerich origin: " I know," said
the savage, iri a laughing mood, " I know how we can even burn Boston,
arid, drive all the country before us; ice must go to the fishing islands and
take all the wliite men''s vessels.^^ In the lapse of a few^ years, the fishermen at Cape Porpoise were either slaughtered or driven off, and the
settlement there laid desolate; a fishing smack was intercepted near '
Portland, three of her crew-killed, and the remainder carried into captivity ; eight fi.shing vessels' were captured at the Fox Islands; the coast
for more than a hundred miles was abandoned, and the wretched liieii
who depended upon the sea for support, without'shelter, and too. scattered for concert aiid resistance, w^ere compelled to suspend their eiriplpyments., ^ . \ •
" .
. • ,,
- Iri 1725, several eminent sacherris arrived at ..Boston to negotiate a
treaty with the 2:0verriment of Meissachusetts. The fisheries, were re. sumed with the returri of peace.
From this time to the controversies that preceded the Revolution, there
are-but,few incidents, ill so rapid a narrative, to detain us. -Thp Rev;
Thomas Smith, of Portland, records in his journal, under date of Sep- ,
tember, 1726, that a "storm brought into Pur.harbor about forty large
fishing vessels," a fact that indicates a rapid recovery froin the desolations of war. He mentions, also, that in the^samp year several persons,
with their families, emigrared to that place from Cape Ann. In 1741,
he w,rites that "^the fish struck iri, wiiich was a great relief to people
almost perishing." - T h e number of fishermen who now had homes in
Maine was six hundred. "
"The war of 1756 was disastrous to persons engaged in maiitime enterprises, and several vessels were" captured by the French while on
the fishing grounds of the eastern coast. An armed ship w^as finally
>e..mplo3^ed t o protect these grounds, of the English
colonists.- In 1760, Mount Desert, containing sixty thousand acres,.and
the largest island in Maine, w^as grarited to Sir, Francis Bernard, the
governor bf Massachusetts. The gift, made b y t h e general court, was
confirmed by the Klng^ and was valuable, at the time, 01113^ for purposes of a fisher3^ Much harmony prevailed between Sir Francis and
the people'he was sent to govern, for two or three 3'-ears; but at his recall, in 1769, when .the disputes which he provoked had embarrassed
trade, ship-building and the fisheries, there were few who lamented his
In conclusion, two distinguished natives of Maine, who are intimately
connected wilh our subject, ^may receive a passing notice.
. S i r Wilham Phipps was born at Bristol, the 'f ancient Pemaquid,"
and was one of tw^enty-six children borne by his mother, of whom
twenty-one were sons. He lived in Maine until he was twenty-two
years of age, when he went to Boston, where he learned t o read and
write* ' " ' . ; . .
_ ^ ;
":• • .
* Sir Francis Bernard succeeded Pownall as governor of Massachusetts in 1760. He was
created a baronet in 1769; and the general couft drew up a petition to thoTCingfor his recall
the same year. He died in England in 1779. He was a friend of literature, and a benefactor of Harvard University^ His fa,UltB were parsimony, an excitable and arbitrary dipositioii,
the want of address and vvisdom. /

a Doc. 22,


He engaged in various enterprises, from time to time, by Which he
acquired wealth. In his endeavors lo conquer the French possessions
i n America he was unwearied, for he saw that, unless they were added
to the British crown, there could be no peace upon the fishing grpunds.
H e was at last knighted, and-, under the second charter of Massachusetts,
was appointed the first governor. When the Indians, who knew him
.in his youth, listened'to the tale of his successes and honors, they wem
amazed, for, says an old writer,/'they had fished and hunted with
him many a weary day." He died in 1695, withput children.
]- Sir William Pepperell, the comrnander of the memorable expedition
against Louisbourg, was the son of a fisherman of the I§ies of Shoals..
.As a merchant at Kittery, the oldest inporporated town in Maine, where
he'was born, where he lived and died, and where, strangers are'still
shown his large mansion-house and his torrib, he was personalty con-^.
^cerned iti the fisheiies. He acquired great wealth. . The dignity pf a
baronet of Great Britain, an honor never before nor since conferred on
,a native-of New England, was bestowed in reward of his military services; and not long previous to his death, he was created, a lieutenant
general. He deceased in 1759. His grandson, who inherited his title and
a large part of his estate, was a loyalist in the Revolution.; and losing
his patrimony urider the confiscation act, was a recipient ofthe bounty
ofthe British crown. The baronetcy is now extinct; and such are the
vicissitudes of humaii condition, that members of the Pepperell family
have been literally saved from^ becoming inmates of an almshouse by
individual charities. ,




• _

From 1^23 to the Revolutioriary Controversy.




T o include the' early inhabitants of New Hampshire with Puritans
and ariiong refugees from rehgious persecution, as some do, is to degrade
. to mere fable many of the best authenticated facts in histoiy. The
sole purpose of the first and bf the subsequent proprietors was to
acquire wealth by fishing and trading. The original patentees were
Sir Ferdinando Gorges, John Masbn, and several merchants of London,
Bristol, Plymouth, Dorchester, and other places in England, who purchased the country between the^ Merrimack and the Kenripbec,* arid
back to the great lakes and the St. Lawrence, and styled thernselves
the "Company of Laconia." In 1623 they sent over Dayid Thompson, Edward and William Hilton, fishmongers in Londori, with a num.ber of other persons, in two divisions, furnished with ample t;ools, implements, and provisions, to commence a fisheiy arid plant a coloriy.
^'Qne division landed on the south shore of the Piscataqiia, at its mouth,
where, inimediately to provide^salt to cure fish, they.built salt w^orks,
* In a paper which Hutchinson preserves in his "Collectioin," and which he ascribes to the
. commissioners of Charles II, or to some person employed by them, it is said that '^Mr. Mason
had a pattent for some land about Cape Ann before the Massachusetts had their first pattent;
whereupon Captain Mason and Mr. Cradock, who Was the first governor of the Massachusett.s,
aild lived in London, agreedthat the Massachusetts should have that land which was graunted
to Captain,Mason about Cape Ann, and Captain Mason should have that land .which was
' beyond Merimac riyer and grauntedto the MassachusettSj" &c., &c,

S. Doc. 22.


,,aiid,- to secure shelter for themselves, they erected a house which they
called "Mason Hall." The fishery and fur trade engaged their whole
attention to t h e exclusion of agricultiire; and, during the seven years
succeeding their arrival, they completed but three or lour buildings.
Gorges and Mason.soon became sole owners of Laconia; for their
associates, discouraged by the continuardemands upon them without
returns^fbr the capital invested, relinquished their shares. B;ut Gorges
and Maspn did. nothing to change the original designs of the" first patentees. They fornied no government; they merely employed men to
fish and trade for them, without erecting any tribunals whatevbr to protect their o>vn-interests or the rights, of others.
Finally, Lkconia was dividedinto tw^o colonies. To Gorges was
assigned, inhis own'right, the region east of the Piscataqua, to which
• he gave the name^of Maine; and to Mason the territory on the westerly side of t h a t river, which, in honor of the county in which he lived
- in England, he ca:lled A^eia Hampshire,.
. M a s o n was bred a merchant, but became an officer in the British
navy, and in that capacity had resided at Newfoundland as one of the
governors of that island, of the description spoken of in the second part
.ofthis report. He was, therefore, personally acquainted with the management of a fishery.. In his sentiments he was sb unlike the Puritans
of the time as to anxibusly,desire the introduction of the feudal S5^stem;
-^ of lords and serfs into his domain of New Hampshire. ^ This Was his
darling plan, and he put his fortune at stake and sacrificed his all to
accomplish it. Such was. the founder of Pbrtsmouth, and of the State
of which it is the commercial capltah*
• The history of industiy upon the sea, for the century and a half that
New, Hampshire remainpd an English colony, i s bii^f and without
events ofVparticular interest. In 1632 Mason WTOte:from London to
his agent Gibbens, on the Piscataqua, that " t h e adventurers here have
' been so discouraged by reason of John Gibbs's ill dealing in his fishing
voyage, as also by the small returns sent hither by Captain Neale, Mr.
Herbert, or any of their factors, as that they have no desire to proceed
.\any further until Captain Neale come hither to confer with them, that,
by conference with him, they may settle things in better order."
Again, in the same letter he remarks that " w e desire to have our fish-'ermen increased j whereof we have written to Mr. Godfrey." In July,
1633, Gibbens said, in a communication to his employers, that "for
3'Our fishing you coniplain of Mr. Gibbs. ' A Londoner is not for fishing,
rnelther is there any amity betwixt the west-countr3^ment arid them.
Bristol or Barnstable is very convenient for your fishing ships. I t i s
- not enough tb fit out our ships to fish, but they must be sure (God will)
to be at their fishing place the beginning of February, arid not come
t o the land when other men have half their voyage." The last letter
is apparently a reply to the first, and both; show that, after ten years'
experience, the fisliery w^as managed without skill, and afforded no
^profit, while.the intimation of Gibbens, relative to the late arrivalo.
* He died in 1635. In 1691 his heirs sold thfeir rights to New Hampshire to Samuel Allen.
!, t West countrymen of England. Nearly all the fishing vessels that came to America were
' from the \yest counties.


S. Doc. 22.

^ his employers' ships,- may be construed to mean that English merchants
sent their vessels to our coast in mid--^winter.
The colony w^as indee<l in an uripromising coridition. For years
afterwards there was but little change for the better. The colonists
neglected the soil, and the food necessary for their support was obtained In Virginia and England. . "Puscataway," said the noted John
''Underhill,"is a desirable place, and lies in the heart of fishing;" and
such is theainiform account ofthe early chroniclers; but y e t , the capital invested there by the original patentees, and b37 Gorges and Mason,
was entirely lost.'
Winthrop relates that In 1641 a shallop, with'eight men, "though
fore warned, " s e t sail mi the "Lord's day" from Piscataqua, for Pemaquid ; that, driven before a: northwest gale, they were absent at sea
about fourteen days, but arrived finally at Monhegan, where four bf
the men perished-of cold,\aiid where the survivors were rescued by
. .
^ ^.
. The trade of P.ortsmouth was of slow growth. The number of
vessels that entered the port in 1681, was forty-^nlne; but some were-of
the burden of ten tons, or mere boats, and lione were larger than one
hundred and fifty tons; while the whole amount of impost or customs
collected was less than c£62. A pleasant anecdote of a worthy divine
of that tbwn occurs in 1690, which may be here related. This clerg3inan, in speaking ofthe depravity of the times. Is represented to have
fallen into the error of saying to his people, that "they had forsaken the'
pious habits of their forefathers, who left the ease and comfort which they
possessed in their native land, and came to this howling wilderness tb
enjoy, without molestation, the exercise of their pure principles of religion;" when one ofthe congregation, interrupting him, rose aiidreplie:d:
"Sir, you entirely mistake the matter ;oi^r, ancestors didiiotcome liere on
account of their religion, but to fish and traded'' The . hearer, ,how^eyer
discourteous, was in the. right as to the fact.
In 1715, Kitteiy, opposite to Portsmouth, in Maine, and the seat
extensive fisher3% was madp a p o r t of entry in consequence of the improper duties and exactions ( a s w a s alleged) which the government of
New Hampshire demanded ofthe merchants and fishermen trading at
the towns on the Piscataqua. The difnculties which caused this measure seem to have occasioned much excitement. Massachusetts,to secure respect to her.authority, erected a breast-wprk northerly of Kitteiy
Poirit, and laid a platform sufficient to mount six guns; appointed a
navakofficer and notary; and ordered the masters of fishing and of
oj:lier vessels, as well as other persons transacting business on theiiyer,
to pay into /iter treasuiy, irripbrts, powder-money, and other duties, as
stipulated by her laws.
. An answer was framed to inquiries ofthe Lords of Trade a n d P l a n tations, in 1730, which shows that the commerce of Portsmouth was
stilf small. The exports were stated to be "fish and luriiber;" the number of vessels was only five, of about five hundred tons in the aggregate j
and the tonnage of vessels trading there, owned elsewhere, even less.
''The province," it was said, "ma\es use pf all sorts pf British manufactures,'amounting to about ^5,000. sterhng annualty, which are had
principally from Boston." " T h e trade to other plantations" was to

IS. Doc. 22.


the "Carrlbbee islands, wliither we send lumber and fish, and receive
in return, rum, ;sugar, molasses, and cotton ; and as to trade to Europe,itfs to Spain or Portugal, froni, whence our vessels bring home salt.,!'
This. Is a meagre account, after the lapse of niore than a century.
.' There is nothing t o . add. ' The sea and the forest continued to supply, the staple exports. A sirigle distillery for the manufacture of New ,
;England tum y^as erected, arid two or three vessels were sent,=' annuall3^,
to .the Dutch and French West Iridips to,procure molasses for"distillation, from the time, probably, that intercourse;yyith these Islands vvas
interdicted, down to the Revolution; and this.illicit traffic was the only
material change in the cpmtnerce of New; Hampshire between .1730
and 17751' Certain it is, that: until the fisheiies arid'other maritime
pursuits were Interrupted by the o'verthfow of the royal'government,
and the w a r that.fpllowed, agricuiture'was neglected. :' .'
' \' •
The coloriy founded by Gorges and - Mason de'peiided upon axes
and saws, shallbps and fishlrig-lines, until necessity compelled a resort
tP: the plough. Its first exports. of corn were rfiid the desolations of
the struggle that'resulted in giving it the rank and blessings of an independent-State.."
.. >-: >
. - .'
• ' ';
i^ /
] / - \ . y ^



' •••-„••

I S L E S O F - S H O A L S . - ' " ^;'-

• -^ !

, From 1014: to the Revolutionary Qpntroversy.







The cluster,^pf eight islands that bear this name, riiay contain pos-^
slbiy six Jiundred acres. .Strangely . enpugh, • they belong t o ;twa.
States. - Those' named .Haley's or Smutty-nqse,, Hog, Duck, Cedar,
arid Miilaga,.were eiribracedin the charter obtained by Gorges of King
.Charles, in 1639, and are under the jurisdictibn of Maine at tliP present/tiriie; while Star," White, and. Londoner's'islands are united tb
New. Hainpshire. These islands'were discovered in 1614, by the celebrated John VSmith, and were named .by him " Smith's Isles." /This,
name was changed previous to 1629, sirice, iii'the deed- of the Indian
Sagamores to Wheelwright arid others, of that ypar, they are called"
the "Isles.of Shoals." ^~^Dreary and:inhospitable -iri^ their appearance,,
they would have remained without iiihabitants to our own da3s proba-bly, but for their; advaritageous situation-for carrying on the fisheries.:
Upon, thpm all there .are chasins in the rocks several 3^ards wide,^
and from one to ten deepi occasioned,: as < some; .suppose, by a vlplentearthquake., ; -,
- . ,
, •
. ' • . ' '-'-^
.Tn places, acres, of rock are partially or "entirety severed, and through'
the fissure's, thus formed^ the sea at high tides, aridiin some storms,
rushes in torrents. /There is.but orie securp harbor, which is of greatimportance, sheltering riot only to the vessels of the resident fishermeri
of, the islands, but the'merchant yessels coming upon, the coast in dis-,
tre^Si.' \ :'• • '''\:f'--'/
'• ^ '•'/ ,. . • i . ,^- "v.-v."'- ' ':'•••,'• ^"
"".The Isles of Shoals were occupied at a. very early date, and sbon '
.•.became places ofnoteand of great resort.;.'Ia^i661, they'were inhab-^)ited by upwards'bf forty faniilies. ..'The fisheries were prosecuted with
vigor and success'at that period, andsiibsequentty, for quite a centuiy..
Three or four ships were loaded" there arinu'ally,as soon as ithe year



S. Doc. 22.

17'30, for Bilboa,.In Spain; and large •quantities of fish w^ere carried,^
besides, to Portsmouth, to bp shipped to the West Indies.. Prior to
the Revolutipn, the dun-fish of these Islands had attained universal celebrity, and were consicleredto be the'best table-fish in the world.
The population i n ' 1775 was^ abput six hundred. - Fishing was the
only emplpyment. The annual catch \vas bet.ween three and foiir
thousand quintals.. • The inhabitants owned a large fleet pf boats and
shallops, and seyeral yessels; and fancied, as many fishermen still do,;
that the fishing grounds were prolific in proportion to the distance from
•home, and extended ::theif adventures to Newfoundland accordingly.
It is of interest to reliiark, as showing, the prosperous condition of these
islands, and the'means of education in " t h e olden time," that gentleinen of consider atimij of sbme of t h e principal tbwns. on the seacoast, .
sent their sons therefor literaiy Irisfrubtion.
The war of the Revolution produced a. disastrous change. I t w a s
found by-the whigs that their eneriiies extorted articles of.sustenance
a s well as recruits for their service, and they ordered the'inhabitants to
abandon their honies. In obedierice to the hard' mandate, a large proportiori removed tb towns on the mainland, and never returned. A
single inciderit that'occurred early in the contest, will serve to illustrate the general situ at ion'bf the islanders previous to their .clispersipni
Ah aged woman, who lived on Star island, kept two cows, which fed
in winter pn hay cut in summer among the rocks with a, knife, aiid
with.her own hands. These useful animals were; always in excellent
order, and to her were invaluable. . To her great sorrow, though paid
foivthey were taken :by.the-.British g.nd slaughtered fbr beef^ ,
.The.fishermen of the Isles of ^Shoals, as a class, were moral and
exemplary men during the entire period embraced iri bur iriquiiie^.
A place of worship was erected even before the: 37ear 1641, at which
time the Rev. Mr./Hull was their minister. TheyW e r e disturbed,
however, in 1642, by-Mr. Gibson, an Episcopal clergyman, who went
amongthem', jierformed'Services according to^ the rites of his, church,
and created a; disaffection ^towards the government pf Massachusetts, ,
which then claimed to exercise jurisdiction over them. . The Rev. John
Brock* cbmmenced, his pastoral labors about' 1650, and remained
among them twelve J^ears. .^He " was an excellent man, and was succeed ed by Mr."Belcher, who was equally worth)^ ^Mr. Mbody followed,,
in 1706, and continued their pastor upwards ;of twenty-five years.
iHis successot was the' Rev. Jphn Tucke, whose ..ministry teriniiiated'
only with .his life, in 1773. ' Their last spiritual guide,\previous to the
gerieral dispersion, two or three years •afterwards, was thp Rev.. Jeremiah' Shaw.
Thus we have "the remarkable fact that these lone
islanders maintainedsreligious worship, with hardly ari interval, for one
liundreda.nd thirty-five years. Equally.remarkable, is the fact that
the^salaiypf Mr. Tucke was reg.arded, at the time,/as one of t h e most
"valuable (his situation considered)in all,New- England. His stipend
was fixed at a quintal pf merchantable wiriter-fish per man, and rio'
change was made, for fifteen years'. This ^quality of fish sold -at a
• * Rev. J o h n Brock was b o m in England, in 1620; came to America about t h e year 1637>^
•and died m 1688. • ; • ' ~';••:
. . ' 5 - ' .v . ^, . .^ - :' ; ' ^ ••;' --^^ •

-S. Doc. 22.


- guinea the'quintal, and the number who contributed tothe good man's
support was from eighty to one hundred.
A detailed .accpunt of the sufferings of these people must be omitted.
It will sufficb to say that,in'the Indian wars, plundering excursions
were frequent;'that m a n y femialeswxre carried intP captivit3^; that one
island,was eritirely deserted by the settlers, in ''consequence of .savage
.inroads.; arid that.strangers aretiow^ shjDwn " B e t t y JVIoody's Hole," a
chasiiT in the rocks, where, according i o tradition, one Betty. Moody
. Goncejiled herself during an-Indian incursion. Poor, as ,11163^ were, in
•eveiything. but the products of the. sea, they were still plundered by
: the infamous Low, andvother pirates,^vlio infested our coast, and.were
disturbed in their industry-by. visits from the French, who. captured
. their boats and shallops.
.. • '
. .
' Brief, too, must be the; record of disasters from and on the sea.
Singular to, relate, first, that-soon after the settlement of these isles, a
house oil Haley!s, island was washed frbm.its found;ation in a; storm,
and carried entire to,' Cape .Cod, where it was secured, and a discpveiy
made of its "place of departure by opening a b o x of linen, papers, &c.,
..w^hicli it contained.. Winthrop notices the ovetsetting'of a shallop, i n
. 1632,. and the drowming .of three fishermen,, whose boat was cast upon
the rocks eleven "years later. Hubbard'speaks of "several fisherrnen"
who, embarking, at, the. isles a day or two befbre Christmas., 1671, to
keep the holiday at .Portsmouth, perished in;going on shore from their
:vessel. And \ye learn, from anPther source, that in .1695," 'r'niany
boats arid m e n " were lost, in a violent gale. ^ These instances: to,.except the extyaordinary:, voyage ofthe dwelling-house, indicate, with soihe
• degree of accuracy, the'pei^ils and lossPs of life and property not uncommon to thpse- who earn theif' bread iii the waters that surround
these bleak,and: barren islands. .'. ; .1 : ,'
^ ,.
That the fishermen of the Isles of'Shoals are " a peculiar people"
is a'Avell-kriov^n and generally accepted saying. • The anecdotes preserved of those of b3^goiie generations; are pertiinent to our purpose, and
^will giye a miniature picture of the course of Jife ariiong their fathers,
as well as account for some of the expfessioiis and habits w^hich continue to amuse persons from the contirient. who now yisit them.
First, it would seem-that prior to 1647 the court had,.; ordained that
"iio women shbuld live upon the Isles of Shoals," and; that .one John
Renolds, disobeying this ordinance, carried-his. wife there with the in^
tentibn of living, with her. This was riot to be; eridured.:b3^ Richard
•,Cntt, and his associate, GJuttirig, especially as Renolds took with him,
•^ialso, a "great stock of goats and hogs." , Thereupon these:aggrieved,
men, in a petition to the governmerit, set forth thp facts in th^e case, and
-prayed for relief by theremoyal thenceof the several nuisances of Mrs.
Renolds, her goats'and her swine. T h e court gravety corisidered the
matter, and ordered Renolds to, take his four-fppted" -property to the
main,ia:iid "within twenty'da3^s;", but wisely concluded; that,; " a s for
the removal of his wife, if nb fiirther complaint come against her, she
may as yet eiijoy; of her husband.'',.
Again: . During'the ministry, of Mr. Brock the fishermen were induced by him to enter into an. agreement, to one Week.dtyin
every month in rehgious worship, , Once. jio-»-rever when a da.y thus •


S. Doc. 22.

set apart occurred, the3^ desired him to postpone the meeting, because
the weather, wiiich for a number of days previous had been too boisterous to allow them to visit the fishing ground, had then become moderate. To this request, sa.ys his biographer, he would not consent.
Finding that they were determined tp "make up their lost.time," he
• addressed them as follows: " I f you are resolved to neglect your duty
to God, and ivill go away, I say unto you, catch fis'h if you can ;.but
as for 35^611" who will, tarry and worship the Lord', I will pray unto "him
ior you, that you may catch fish until 3''pu are weary." The story cpn-r
eludes with the averment that pf the'thirty-five to whom this address
•was iriade,'thirty'went to the fishing-gr.ound, arid that five remained
.with the good man.Brpck. ' T h e thirty caught b u t y o w fish, though
they labored all day ;^while the five, who followed at the.conclusion of
the religious services, caught five hundred. "After this,", says the riarrator, the- week-day meetings ''were\well attended." I t i s related of
Mr. Brock, that Pn another occasibri he said to a poor fisherman, who
-had been very useful in carryirig'pers:ons who attended meeting across
from Island:-to island, and whb had lost his boat in a storm, ."Go home,
honest nicm,'L will <meiitioii the matter to the Lord: you will liave.3^our
boat again to-morrow." On the next day—so closes* the account—"iri
answer to earnest prayer the man recovered his boat, whicli was brought
^up from the^ bbttom b3^ the anchor of'a-vessel, ^ cast upon if without
^design." ^ •" ,
' •'. •
' •
A ;sa3ing still fa:milia:r among nautical men, is said to haye had\, its
• origin in the fbllbwing .circuiiistancp,;: -V^hile .Mr. \ Moody w a s theminister at the isles,"'a fishing shallop, ^vlth"all, on board, was lost in a
gale in IpsAvich bay. " Mr. Moody, anxious to-improve this melancholy
.. event for the.awakening of those of his hearers who "were exposed''to
the like disaster," put home the case in-."language adapted to their
occupation and understanding," thus : " Supposing, my brethren, any
• of you should be taken short in the bay, in a northeast storm, 3^our
. hearts trenibling 3vith'fear,:arid. nothing but death before you ; wliither
; would yo.ur thought's turn ? ;what would, 3^ou dp?". ^ ''-What would I
-do ?" replied a hsherman/ '•' why,X should hoist the foresail and scud away
for' Squam.^^' To explain the wit or point of the answer,it is necessary
to add that Squarii harbor, on. the north side of Cape Ann, w^as a rioted
place of shelter for fisliing vessels when in, tiie positibn supposed by
••Mr. Moody..-.
•••, ,'
.•-'.' ,'
• ' •' ' ^- •
A t a.time when piracies were com mitted cri the coast, a fisherman of
the name pf Charles .Raridall, with others, werC' takeri by some freebooters and whipped with great'severity. This act perpetrated,,the
pirates s a i d , " You know old Dr. Cotton Mather, do^ you?" • " Y p s , "
^•\vas the reply, "yve have heard of him as a':verj good man." " Well,
, then," rejoined the gang, "our brders are, to make 'each of; you jump
up three tiines, and ,sa3^ each time,- 'Curse Parsori Mather,' otherwise
you are all tp be hanged." liahdall. ancl his comp.anlons"complied..
In conclusion. A worthy deacon, rpa:ding aiine in the old yersion of
the Psalins, said, "And I know more,than,all the Indians, d o ; " when
he should, haye read, " A n d ;I know, more than all, the'ancients do f^
Whereupori '.'one of the asseinbly, who had riiore wit than piety, ac-:
quainted, with the^crafti^le§s .and shrewdness pf liidians, rose' and a.d





dressed the deacon in a loud voice, 'If you do, you are a plaguy cmi^
ning man.'"
' "
I will bnly add that the .words, " I will make you fishers of men,^^ were •
used as the text at the prdination of Mr. Tucke; and that among the
votes passed by the inhabitants at the time of his settlement, was onO'.
imposing a fine of "forty shillings old tenor" on all who "every fall,when he ^lias his wood, to carry home, is able to come, but will nbt
come." ,
" .
Such is a rapid; view bf affairs^ at the eight islands that lie off the
. entrance pf ^ the Piscataqua, .while^ they belonged to the British- crown.'
•.^ '•'

.' •


' •'•--

" •




' \ /From \ 614 to the Revolutidiiary Controversy. '





• The settlement of Massachusetts is t o be.traced directly to t h e . fisheries. Lest ^ this statement should be thought tob' broad, and t o need
quahficatiori, I will cite from the best authbrities. extaiit,to.sustain it.
And first, Hubbard, who says the " occasion"- of planting this colony
was, that, " As some merchants from the west of England had a long
time fi'equented, the parts aboiit Monhegan,: for the taking of fish, &c.,
so did others, esppcialty those' of 'Dorchester-, make tlie' like . attempt
upon the northern promontory of Massachusetts Bay, in probability first
discovered by Captain Smith before or in they-ear 1614,'' 'and called
Cape Anil, in honor ofthe royal consort of Kiiig-James. "He-re," he
continues, " d i d the aforesaid nierchants first erect stages whereon to
rnake their'fish, and yearly sent their'sfiipsthither for that end, for,
soniP considei"able time, until the fame of the plantation at^New Ply.iriouth, with the snccess thereof, was' spread abrPad through all the.
western parts of England," &c.. Again, "he says that, '" On this con-'
-sideration,.it was. that some merchants and other, gentlemen a.bout Dorchester did, about the year 1624, at the instigation of Mr. White,^^ the '' * The Rev. John White (as stated in the Chronicles of Massachusetts) was born'in 1575, and
in-1605 became .rector of a parLsh in Dorchester. He removed from.that -place,'and-was absent for several yearSjl^iit returned to Dorchester, and, died there in 1648. In-the civil wars
• in England he took sides with the Puritans. He^was one of the^ assembly of di"\4nes of West-;
minster, and '.'shovved hi'mself one of the most learned and moderate, among .them, and his'
judgment :was,.much relied on therein." Callender, inchis .Historical Discourse on Ehode
Island, calls him the " of the Massachusetts colony.''. His name often occurs in the
meetings of the -Massachusetts Company in London.; The'thurch in which he preached in
Dorchester ,was demolished in 1824. ' That city, the-"'cradle of the Massachusetts colony," .
sends'two members to Parliament.; it is.on the river Frpnie-; 120 miles from London.. . ;
The ".Planter's Plea,',',-a, tract which was printed in London in 1630, soon , after Winthrop
and his'company sailed for Massachusetts^ .has generally been ascribed to Mr. White. . A chapter of this tract is to be -found in Young's Ghronicles-of Massachusetts. It fully warrants the
statements in the text in relation to the original objects of colonizatioii,'as the following extracts will show:
' .
' ,"Abi)ut the year 1623," saysMr. White,:or the \\titer ofthe Plea, " some western merchants,
who had continued a trade of fishing fbr cod .and barterhig for those, parts for divers
years .before, conceiving that a colony planted on the coast might ftirther .them in those em.,ploymehts,"bethought themselves how they.might brii-fg'that project to e'fi'ect, and commimicated. their purpose to others, alleging the conveniency of compassing their project with a
small charge, by-the .opportunity-of their fishing trade, in which they accustomed to doubleman their ships, that,.by the help.of,many hands, they might despatch their voyage,and lade
their ship with fish while the fishing.season lasted, which could not be done with a,bare sailing


S. Doc. 22.

famous preacher of that town, upon a'.common stock, together, with
those that were coming to make fish,: send over sundry persons in
order to the Parrying on a plantation a t ' C a p e Ann, conceiyiiig that
planting on the land inight go oii equally w^ith fishing, on the sea, in
those parts of America. Mr. John Tylly and Mr. Thomas Gardener
were employed as oVerseers of that whole business—-the first with'
reference to the'fishing, the .other with respect to the planting on the
mainland," &:c.
\ ,;
. •' "
Holmes, i n his American ^Annals, states that, " the .fame of the plantation at Plyriiputh being; spread in the west of Eiigland, Mr. White, a
celebrated niinister of Dorchester, excited some nierchants and other,
gentlemen, to. attempt another settlement: in New England. They
company. Now, it \vas conceived that, the fishing being ended; the spare men that were abo-^e
their necessary sailors might be left behind,'with provisions for a^year; arid when that ship
returned the next yeair they might assist them .in fishing, as they had done the .former year;,
and, in the mean time, nii.ght employ themselves in building and planting corn, which, with-th.e
provisioiis, fowl,,and venison that the land yielded, would afford theni the chief of their-,
food. This proposition of theirs took so well; that it drew on divers persons to join with them .
in this project; the rather because it was conceiv^ed that npt only their own fishermen, but the ^
rest of our nation that went thither on the same errand, might be much advanta,ged, not only
by victuals which' that colony might spare them In time, but withal, and more,, by the •
benefit of their ministers' labors, which tliey might enjoy during' the fishing season; whereas,
othervvise, being usually .upon those voyages nine or ten months in a year, they were left all
the while without any means of .all. Compassion towards the fishemien, and
partly some expectation of gain,, prevailed- so far, t h a t for the. planting of a colony in^New •
England there was raised a stock of more than £3,000; intended to be ]3aid in in five years,
but'afterwards disbursed in a shorter time.'-•
.- >. ..._
' '.
- _'
Such, then, was the original design. We next have an account of the operations and dias-^
ters ofthe contributor.s'of this fund. "The first employment," cuiitinues the writer, "of thi:?;
new raised stock, cwas in buying a sma,ll ship of fifty tons, which was, with as .-much speed-as'.
_ might be, despatchedtowards-New England upon a fishing-voyagel ^
by reason the voyage was undertaken too late, she came at least a month, or "-six-weeks laterthan the rest of thefi.sliingships'that went .for that coa:'st.; and by that means wanting-fish to
make up her lading, the master thought good to.pass into Massachusetts bay, to try- whether
that would yield him any, whiQh he performed-; and speeding there better than he had-reason
. to expect, having left his spare men behind him in the. country at Cape Ann, he retimied to
a late, and consequently a bad market in Spain, and so home." The loss incurred in this
V03'age was upwards of £600. ' " '
.. .
• '
The company,.the next year, :bought a "Flemish fly-boat''of about one hundred .and forty
• tons, which, relates the writer, "being.unfit for a fishing voyage, as'-being built merely fo,r.
burthen, and wantirig lodging for the' mfen^which she needed for such an .emplo3'ment, they
, added unto her aiiother deck, (which seldom proves well with Flemish buildings;) by whicli
means she was-carved so4iigli that she proved wait,'(crank.) and.unable to bear any sail; so
that before^ she could pass on upon her voyage, they w^re fain to shift her first, and put- her
upon abetter trim, and afterwards,, that proving to little purpose, to unlade her, and takeher
up aud fur her. • . * .'"* / ^ '
And when she arrived in the country, being directed by,"
the master of the smaller ship, upon the success of his former year's voyage^ to at Cape,
Ann,,not far' from Massachus,ett.s. bayV'sped very ill; as did also the smaller ship that led her
thither, and fomi'd little fish ; so that the greater ship returnee^ with little more than a third'
- part cf her lading, and came back (contrary to her order, by which she was cohsigned to Bour^
deaux) directly for England;" so that the conipany of adventurers was put to a new chai-ge to
hircva small ship to carry^that little-quantity of fish she brought home to market." These two
ship3,left behind them at Gape Ann thirty-two men.' In 1625 three vessels were employed,
but with continued loss. In 1626, the " adventurers were so far diseouraged that they at>aiidoned the further p'rosecution of this design, aiid took^order for the dissolving of the company
on land, and sold away tlieir shipping and other provi>sions.'^' ^
• • •.
, Most of the fishernien and,other persons in the adventurers' emplojanent at Cape Ann returned to Eugland; "hiit atew of the. rnost honest 'and industrious'resolved tb slay behind,
and to take chargejofthe. cattle, sent over the year before, which they, performed accordingly.
And not hking their seat at Cape Ann, chosen, especially for the supposed commodity, of fishing, they transported themselves to Nahum-Kelke, [Salem,] abou,fc four or five, leagues distant
to the southwest from Cape Anii."
• • '-f
- ^ ,

S. Doc. 22.;


accordihgty, on a comiiion stock, sent pver several persons, w^ho began
a plantation ; at Cape Ann,*, and held this place'of the Plymotith:;
settlers, for. whom they .set up here a fi.shing stage;"
' We have thus the.positive declarations that the "success of the English
inerchants in fishing, about the island of'Monhegan, in Maine, and of"
the ^Pilgrims at Plymouth,,, wxre-the original and moving causes of
attempting to. settle "a second colony in New England. ,,As the good
rninister Roblhson/was. the principal founder of the first, so the pastor
White was like; instrumental in .;promotiiig the last. ,T-he general accuracy of Hubbard and Holmes will not ,be disputed. The latter, lii
this particular case, must have been well infprmed. Ipswich, of which
tpwnvhe was the riiinister, was a noted and 'fiivprlte station for the
English fishing ships that came to the cPast previous to the'coloiilzation ,
of Massachusettst and, aside from, the> facilities of acquiring .infprrnation from that source, he was personally acquaintedwitli Roger Conant,
'. the great actor in'the events of .which we are nowtovspeak.t. .
. ^In the .fishery at Gape Ann, Uie, minister White, seerris tofiave had,a
personal interest.: In 1,625, Conant,, at his instance, w^.as appointed to;
succeed' Tylly and: Gardener in .the managementof the -'company's concerns there.. Conant was. already in New Engiancl. He arrived at
Plymouth in 1623; "but, unhappy there, and averse-to the rigid views
ofthe Pilgrims, though himself a religious man,'had removed, thencp to
Naiitasket. He 'undprtook. the fishery, which, provi rig unprofitable,
was abandoned. " He .disliked;the place as niuch as^ the merchants
disliked the business;", and, pleased-.with. Naumkeak^ (Salem,) removed there., -.Deserted by his employers, and helpless niid hordes of
savages, he was adyised, implored, arid, warned tb quit the country.
Discomfiture and ruin had atterided the efforts of some of the best men
in-England to'colpnize Newfoundland ; death and'other sad calamities
had put an end t o the colony -attPiripted i n Maine ; the plant alio ri at
Weymouth had produced a harvest of. sorrpw and poverty to its projector ; the colony at Plymouth survived, but a single boat and net had
alone savPd it frpm utter extmction ; and now, the destiny of Massachusetts was s,uspended lipon,the decision of an ejected manager of a
fishery. ' Conant knew and said that he staid at his'post at the^hazard ,
* Called Gloucester in 1642.
' '"•/'
• ...
' ^
t .The Rev. William Hubbard'was born in .England in 1621, 'and;came to America -with his
father in, 1635. He was gradua;ted at,Harvard University, in the first class, in 1642. He was
settled.a't Ipswich; Massachusetts, and died there in 1704, a,ged 83 years. His Ilistery of New
England remained in manuscript lihtil 1815, when it, was published by the Massachusetts His-,,
torical Society, as a^part of their Collectioiis.' ', .
,,' • •''' ,
^ "The most original and,valuable part of'Htibbard's history," remarks Dr. Joung, in the
^Chronicles of Massachusetts, is the chapter "in which he gives us a statement ef facts in relation to the first^settlements at Cape Ann and Salem, which can be found no^yhere else." These
facts the/learned Doctor incliiies-to believe Hubbard obtained;fro.m Conant himself " Living ^
at Ipiswich; he must have been acquainted with .this prominent old, planter, who resided but a
few miles from him, at Beverly,, and' who survived till 1679. .Some^of the.facts which he relates he could hardly have-obtained from any other source."
,, " W e may
therefore consider that * * * we have Roger-Conant's own narrative, "as taken down by
Hubbard in the conversations-which he held'with him when collecting'-the materials for his
h i s t o r y . " ,




. '

' ' • • , . • •





• "••

Conant is'everywhere spoken of in. terms of respbct, and ,was an. excellent man. : " The
superior condition of the persons who came^over, with the charter cast a shade upon.him, and
he lived in obscurity."
, ^.
. '


S. Doc. 22.

of his life. The minister White, grieved that his associates had so
suddenly relinquished their designs, entreated him to remain, promising
to send over a patent, men, provisions, and ^merchandise, to open a
trade with the Indians. " A s if aniniated with some superior instinct,"
and with visions of a future home for the stricken and hunted men: of
his own faith, he listened to the wise and courageous pastor's solicitations.
^ ^ • 'V • " • . "
' • ^ ^ • . ' • . • • • \._
Three trusty companions,* designated by-Mr. White, consented to
share his fate; but these, repenting of their engagement, finally pressed
him to depart with them to Virginia. In the loftiness of his.virtue he
uttered " H e r e will I wait, the providence of God,^ though all .should'^
forsake m e ! " They pledged them selves anew to remain - with him';,
and one of them 3Vas soon despatched to' England to probure supplies,
to renew the attempt to found a colony., i'
, ', ..,
' Meanwhile,.Mr.-. White,'true to. his promises, never losj: sight of
Conant, or of Massachusetts,. The integrity aiid zeal of both were in
due time rewarded vvith success. In 1627, when Sir-Henr3^ Rpswelly
Sir John You ngi and other geritlemeii,; had purchased, the coiiritry be-;
twecu the Merrimack and the Charles rivers, Mr. White caused, these,
patentees to become acquainted with persons, of siriiilar rank in
London, and thus enlisted Winthrop, Johnson, Sir Richard Saltonstall,
Cradock, arid pthers, in the enterprise which he himself so untiiirigiy'
promoted. The London gentlemen werp at first associated with those
of Dorchester; but in the end, became the sole patentees. Ofthis
second company Endicott was the first agent, and on his. arrival at
Salein, in 1628,; he succeeded Conant: in the of affairs.t.
It is important t o remember that the London cornpany, by their'
purchase,: did not become proprietors of a charter uiider^ which to
people and govern a Commbnwealth, but'merely of a .commpn patent
grarited for purposes of trade,^ and similar tb several that liad been
* These pe^soiis were John Woodbury, John Balch,"and Peter Palfrey. "All bearing the
name of Woodbury, in New Erigland,-probably descend frOm John,-or his brother William.'A son, of Balch subsequently married ai daughter, of Conant. The Hon. John G. Palfrey claims
Gonant's asisociate, Peter, as hi.s ancestor.—Chron. Mass.
' .
t Endicott, after his arrivalto supersede Conant and his associates,, desired the company in
England to send him over a " Frenchman experiencedlri making of salt and planting oiVyines;",
In answer to this, request the company informed, him,'Ajiril, 1629, " W e have inquired diligently for such J but eannot meet with any of that nation. Nevertheless; God hath riot left; us
alt6*gether uiipfovided of a mam abje to .undertake that,work;. for that we.haye eiitertained
Mr. Thomas Grayes;; a man.commended to us,as well for his honesty as skill in many things
useful. First, he prof cs seth great skiilin the making of salt, both iri ponds and pans, as also to.
find out salt springs, or mines,^^ &c. Graves arrived at Salem in June, 1629, but did not
remain in America, probably,-many years. . ,
. ." r • >.
.^ . in 1629, the Massachusetts .company sent over from England "twenty-nine wejght'! of salt
in the -Mayflower,- Four Sisters, and Pilgrim, "together with lines, hooks, knives, boots,,and
barrels, necessary for fishing;" with.directioris to employ their men "either'in harijor or upon
the bank," 'and with a; desire to their agent "to confer and advise with Mr. Peirce,--who hath ;
formerly fished there."
'' - •
' ' ./'
The Mr. Peirce here mentioned was a celebrated navigator of the time. The "Mayflower,"
of which he was in command in 1629, was the same that brought over the Pilgrims to Plymouth
nine years previously He. was an experienced fisherman. In 16^30 he was ma.ster' of the,
Lion, and arrived at Salem in May of that yeai'. He was again' at Salem and at Boston^ m
the sa,me vessel,'iii 1631'; Avheri'his arrival was the occasion of much-joy, as the Goloriis:ts were'
/ famishing, and he came "laden with.-provisiohs." It'was" apprehended that he had been "^cast
away, or taken^by pirates.": '| The celebrated Roger Williams and his wife '* were passengers',
with Captain Peirce in li53r.~C/t7:ow..i»f«ss. : "
- .- , . . . . ,

S: Doc. ^22.


previously obtained by other companies that designed to adventure for
fish and furs elsewhere in-Ain erica. The ortginal plan of Winthrbp,
Saltonstall, and their associates, while it embraced a settlement of
their domaiii,. still prpvided" that the cbntrolling power should: remain
in England.' Mathew Cradock, a rich London merchant, in accordance with this'arrangemerit, was appointed by the patentees their first*
governor, in the sense that the head .of the Bank of England is'
denominated "the goverrior" -of that institution. - Cradock,* subse:qu;ehtty, not only relinquished volunfarltyi but proposed the:
measure'of transferring the .government to the actual settlers.
• The w^ise, niagnanimous, arid,, patient Wiiifhrpp;rwas his successor,
and the first gpvernor bf the company who .came to America.: He
arrived in 1630, y;7ith a considerable bpdy of colonists. Disembarking
at'Salein, he soon removed to Charlestown,, and thence crossed the river
to Boston, where he fixed his permanent home. These, as' I understand the subject, are the prliicip,.al facts that the origin of
. • .
• ' ,
in passing fi:om the topic, a sirigle, w^ord more of Roger'Conant.
:His histoiy has not been written.; it exists oitty in fragments. . H e '
was.a good man. He .possessed the true test of merit, for he neyer '
clairipred, or even asked," for reward. In his old age, he did indeed
petitiori,' that -vas "Budleigh," in" England, . w a s his ^ birth-place, so
'iBudleigh,"t in America, might be his burial-place; .but this, poof"
boon was deiiipd fo the Christian hero, who stood by and saved the
cblony in the hour of extremity. If men w^ould be' remembered by
those whb cbme after them, they must win battles,..or acquire position'
iri the State. Roger Conant was but an humble superiritendent of a
fishery, and of a plantation under taken, anion g the bare rocks of Gloucester, aiidas forgotten. , \
/ •
YVilllam Brewster, of the Pngrlm band of Plyriiouth, was an. accomplished sbhplar, and a man of distinguished talents; in Europe he was
engaged in diplomacy, and was an intimate, friend of the minister* of
iQueen Elizabeth, who. signed the death-warrant of the beautiful Mary
Stuart, ^Queeii of Scotland; but in Anieiica he was simply " a ruling
elder in the church;", and he, top, has.passed from the memory of all,
save the students of history.
We are now to trace the progress of the fi.sheries of Massachusetts,'
and record a serious quarrel at the outset. ; The circumstarices, briefly
Telated,, were these: .The Pilgrims at Plymouth, and the, merchants in
Erigland who were, interested with them,, seem tp.have built a fishing'stage and prpvided other accomriiodations at Cape Ann, in 1624, |'

* Governor,Cradock was a member of Parliament for, Londpn in, 1640. " A descendant,
George Cradock, was an inhabitant of Boston in the middle of the last century."—Chron. Mass.
t This was in 1671, after the second di-vision of Salem; and after the incorporation of Beverly, which name was adopted without consulting Conalit^and his friends. He gave two reasons
in his petition for a change of the name; orie, that the people were constantly nick-hamed
*tb^gg^Hy/\ and the other, that those who^ remained with hini in,the crisis mentioned .in the
text, as- well as himself, were liorn in " Budleigh." He built the first house in Salem,' and Ms
son Roger was the first white child born there.. . He died in Beverly, 1679, at the'age of 89. tThe celony" of Plymouth obtained a patent of Cape Ann about, the .year 1623, and sent
vessels there to fish. A "stage," for the accommodation of their:fishermen, was the
Cape in 1624.
' '•
;,, ' ...
. . .


S. Doc. 22.

w^hlcli one-Hewes', in command of a West of England'ship, occupied
in the absence of the Plymouth fishermeri. . Hewes acted under the
brders of these merchants, who now, it further appears, had dissolved,
or Were about to di'ssolve; their business relations with the; Pilgrims,
arid some of.whom, on account of the difficulties, that had occurred,
cherished an enmitytowards, therii. ' On hearing that Hewes had takeri
possession of the stage, Goverrior Bradford; ordered the .renowned In- '
dian-slayer, Miles Standish, to eject him. Hewes refused to yield, and
Standish resolved to employ force. Hewes made a sort of breast-work >
on the stageof the casks used, in fishing, and was thus stroiigly fortified,.
while his opponents were on the land and almost at his'mercy. At the
point of collision and bloodshed, Conant (of whom yve ha;ye spoken):
andCaptain Pearce,'a fast frierid of the Ptymouth settlers, who wa:s \
also there with a fishing-ship, interposed their ,,good "offices, and sue--. '
ceededin compromising the diflicult3^,-Hewes and his men agreeing to
erect another stage. /
.. '
The iiext incijclent that deserves our attention is of a^ diflerent nature..
Mr. Higginson, the first minister of Salem, arrived in 1629. . Abbutohe.
hundred of the • colonists died'befbre the close df the following year,
and among them this excellerit divine..", He wrote a .tract called," New,
England's Plantation," which was published* in 1630, and contains,
the fbliowing glowing, description "of the treasures bf bur seas; " T h e ^
abundance ; bf sea-fish," , he says, " are ahriost beyond ' believing, and
sure I: should scarce have beheved it, except I had s;een it with mine
own eyes.' I saw great store .of whales, and grampusses, and such
abundance of niackerels that it would, to behold, likewise
codfish in abundance on the coast, and in their season arie .plentifully .
takeri. There is a fish called bass, a most sweet arid wholesome fish
as eyer I did eat; it is altogether as gobd as our fresh salmon, and the.,
season of their coming was begun when we came first to New Eng- "
land in June, and so continued about three months' space.' .Ofthis fish
bur fishers take many hundreds together, which-1 have seen lying on the
shore, to my admiratiori: yea, their nets ordinarily take niore than they
are able tb hall to land, and for want-of,boats'and men they are con-^
strained to let,many go after t h e y have "takeii tfieni, ,arid yet sbme- ^
times they fill two boats at a time with them. And besides bkss,.
We take, plenty of scate arid thornbapks, and abundance of lobsters,
and the least boy in the plantation may both catch and eat what he will
of them.- Fpr my own part I was soon cloyed them, they were
so great and fat, and luscious. I have seen some .myself that have .
weighed sixteen pounds; btit bihers have, had, divers times, so .great
lobsters as have weighed, twenty-five^ pound, as thby - assure ^rrie. ^Also
here is abundance of herring, turbut, sturgeon, cusks, haddocks, mullets, eels, crabs, muscles and oysters. Besides,, therpVis probability ;
that the country is of an excellent temper for the rnaking of salt; for
since our coming our fishermen have brought. home, very ^ good saltV^
* The Rev. Francis Higginson was born in 1588, and was educated at Cambridge^ England.
IKxcluded from his pulpit for non-conformity, he was invited to come to Anierica by the coin- paiiy engaged in'the colonizatipn of Massacliusetts.^ :He was.ordained at"Salem, in.August,
1629. He.left a wife ,and eight' children, who,,after his decease, removed to Charlesto-HTii
Massachusetts, and subsequently to New Haven, Connecticut. V

S; Doc. 22.

, .299

which they found candled, by the standing of t h e ' sea-water and the
heat of"the sun, upon a rock by the sea-shore; and iri divers salt
marshes that some have gone through, they have found' some salt in
some places crushing under their feet and cleaving to their shoes."
Winthrop* followed with his colony, as has been observed, in 1630^
and records in his journal that on the passage, " w e put our ship In
stays-, a:hd took. In less than twp- hours, with a few.hooks, sixty-severi
codfish, most pf thein very great'fish, some ri yaird arid a half long and
a yard in compass.'' Aiid again lie says, " w e -heaved out our hooks,
and took twenty-six cods: so w e airfeasted with fish this, day.'-' And
still further,' a few days afterwards, ," we took mariy niackerels, andmet a sha.llop,iwhich stood frPm Cape-A rin towards the Isles of Shoals,
whicli' some-English fishermen."
; ^^
' These passages are selected from- the many relating to our subject,:
which are to be found in the journals, letters,-and pther documents pf
the time, not Pnty for the purpose of showing the impressions bf the.
early settlets, but their-accounts of the manner of fishing, and the;
liature of the intelligence which they, transmitted tb England t o induce..additional emigrations. 'A' single illustration: of the' sufferings of the,
colonists,: and of their clepeiidericeu.ppii the-seas' for support, and even
to, preserve them from utter steirvatiori, as at Plymouth, may propertyfollow.'



' -•










• ;

- •"




Johnson,'W^hocame over in 1630, (and pirobabty in Winthrop's fleet,)
yy.lip was a member bf the House of Representatives upwards of twentyfive 3^ears,. and'spbaker of t h a t body in 1655, in ins curious but very
valuable work—^" Wonder WorkinQ- Providence bf Sion's Saviour in
New England,"' published in Lpridon in 1654t-^speaks of persons
who, " i n the absence of bread, feasted themselves with fish; the
^vonieri, orice a'da3^, as tlie,;tide gave way, resorting- to muscles and
, clam-banks, wiiere they'daity gathered their faniilies' food with much
heaventy-discourse; of the prpvisioris Christ had- formerly 'made'for
. mariy thousands of his followersin the wilderness:'' of mothers, meek
and resigned in their destitution, ,who sriiiled over their children, fanc3>
ing that the3" wpre as'"fat and "lusty-with feeding upon muscles, clams,:
and other fish, as they Were in .Englarid with their fill'of brea,d, which
riiade them;cheerful;in the. Lord's providing fbr them:" of others, who,
mid "the, great straits this wilderness people were in," were relieved
because "Christ caused abundance of very good fish to come to their
nets and, hooks:"' and, bf still others,' who, '"'unprovided w i t h these* '
nieanSi caught them with their hands; arid-so with fish, wild onions,
and other lierbs, sweetly satisfied till other provisions came in:",
and, .finally, that "ihis- year of sad distress was ended with a.terrible,
cold winter, with weekly snows, a:rid. fierce.'frosts between,, while/con-'
gealing Charles river, as well irom the town to seaward as above, in^.iohn.Winthrop,.first'resw/e?ii governor of Massachusetts, was born in Groton, England,
, ill 1587; and was bred to the'law. He was, a man of considerable fortune. He arrived iat
Salem,, June, 1630. .His journal of occurrences in the colony,-do^^ni to the year, 1648, as
edited by the'Hon. James.Savage, of Bostori, is one of the riiost valuable works extant to the
lovers of American history. He died in 1649, aged 61, ".'worn out by toils and depressed by
.afflictions." ; ' . , . . • . • • - ' ' : .
' • .' ' '
; '
* Republished in parts, in several volumes of Coll. Mass, His, Soc, second series.


S. Doc. 22.

somuch that men might frequently pass from one island to another upon
the ice."*
The aspect of affairs was soon changed. The arrivals of articles of
. necessity fi'om.England.; the opening of the soil to husbandry, and the
building of vessels, afforded the colonists ample relief in the course of
a few years. The "Blessing ofthe Bay;" a little barque of thirty •
tons, was launched as early as 1631. ,Her name indicates the feelirigs
of Governor Winthrop, who built her ;f and relates in a word the story
of the pressing wants of his. people.j: This- vessel proved the, "bless-:
ing"" she Xvas "designed to be,.and was the means of opening a Ppmmunicatiori with the Dutch settle_rs in New York, as well as bf maintaining constant intercburse with various parts bf Massachusetts.
In l633''a vessel was built at Boston, and called the " Trial:'' three
years .a.fter, the "Desire," of one huiidred and twenty tons, was.,
launched at Marblehead. Another, of three'hundred tons, was. built'^
at Salein In 1640:;, and the fifth in the colony, at the^ same, place, in •
1642. Meantime, the Dove, a pinnace of about fifty tons, had made a
voya'ge to Boston, laden with ccrii, to barter away for fish, and'whatever other commodities the colonists could spare. Such was the comniencement-of the navigation and cominerce of .Massachusetts. , '
Fish, were exported, from Boston, for the'first tiriie, I suppose, iri .
1633.. The adventure was t o a southern cplony;" and, Governor Win-:
throp appears tp have been^^ the vpyage. The vessel^
' which was laderi with furs as' well as the products of the sea; was
wrecked on the outward, passage when near the Capes, of .Virginia.
Another circumstance'of interest "occurred the same year,,namety, the
conviction of "the first riotorious theif in'Massachusetts,f\ who,' for stealing fish^ corn, and clapboards, was sentenced,to the forfeiture of his
estate, tp be. whipped, to be bound as a servant for three years, and, to
be afterwards at the disposal of the court. ' ^
.. •
. , V'
Mr. Cradock, though he never came tp Massa^phusetts,. established;a
fishery at. My stick, and built a house at Marblehead, which v^as burned
in 1634,'"there being in it Mr. Allerton*|| and mariy.fishermen whom '
he employed that season." Thus we coririect the J&rst governor who
was appriinted under the patent, and the firs! governor who ,
the colony, with the fisheries.of Massachusetts, a branch of industiy
* Roger Cla.p, in his.Memoirs,, speaking of. the scarcity of provisions in 1630, says: "Many
a time, if 1 could have filled my belly, though with mean victuals, it would have been sweetmito hie. Fish was a good help unto ine and others." * * *' *• " Oh!, the hunger that many,
suffered,cand saw no hope in an eye of be supplied, only by^clams, and muscles, and
fish. We did quickly build boats, and some went K fishing." Again, he says; "Frost-fish,
muscles, and clams, were a relief to many."
• • t It Avould appear from the instructions of the Mas-sachusetts Company, in 16-29, that a vessel
was built previously: "And if, you send the ships to fish at. the Bank,'" say they, ".arid expect
them.not to return again to the :planta;tion, that then you send our hark that is already huilt in
the comitry to bring back our fishermeuj and such provisions as they had for fishing," &c.,&c.
t In 1633, the Rev.-'John Cotton, minister of Boston, the Rev. Thorn as Hooker, the first
minister of Cambridge, and the Rev., Samuel Stone, one of the first.ministers of Hartford,
came over to America in the sa:me vessel'.^ On their arrival, the ]3e'ople were told that theirthree great necessities were now supplied, for-they had Coftbn for their clothing,'Hi?oA^er for
their fishing, and 5^01^6 for their building.''-,..
' •
1 The Plymouth Pilgriin who came over in the Mayflower.
' .


Doc. 22.


which now many affect to belieye is fit only for the attention of "the
ignorant, the superstitious, and the improvident."
: .About the year 1636 the celebrated-Hugh Peters,* minister of Salem,
moved the people there to raise a capital for the purpose of commencing
the business of fishing. With untiring,ze§l he went from place to place,,
-and labored in public and In private to accoriiplish this, design, and to
induce his flock to build ships'and to embark in commerce. He "was
-emirieritty successful, rind persbnally pngaged in.the enterprises which
he recommeiided;to others. " To him belongs, in a very great degrpe,:
-the merit of fouiiding the fisheries ari^d trade of that city. During .his.residence aild ministry, Salem wa^ without a rival in. marltifne affairs,
and claimed to become the'capltaf His departure for England gave a
check to busiiiess; Boston 'acquired the asPeiidency, and was selectpd
as the seat of government.- .That pa:rt of if ^^M^
Marblehead soon
obtained a suppiioiity in the fisheries, • and, petitioned for ^ an act of
. inpbrporation; while Gloucester, Manchester, and.the whole eastern»
shore of Massachusetts, engaging'in the sapie pursuits^, still further, les-.sencd its impqrtaiice for a considerable period. Of the merchant mlur.
ister, Peters, we may add,, that, taking the side of Cromwell in "the
civil 'war,iri England, he was executed there ori the restoration of the
Stuarts.f. J t is 'supposed in a late English publicatibn* that Peters was ,
one of the tWO;inasked executioners pf Charles the First, a.nd that it was
he who held up the monarch'sjiead to the view of the mriltltude.
' _ In 1639 y^e have tlie origin bf the system of protection. By an act
of that year, passed for llie encouragement of the fisheries, it was pro-^.
vided' that all vessels and other property employed i n taking, curing,
and transporting fish, according to thp usual-cburse of fishing yo3^ages,
should be exenipt from all drities;and public taxes for seven,3'ears; and,
that all fishermeri during, the season for their'business;' as well as shipbuilders,^ should be excused from the performarice< of military duty.
Such a law, in the infancy of the cplony, when contributions from every
estate, and the persoriaf service in arms of every citizen, werbirripera- ,
tively demarided by the exigencies of the tinies, shows the deep irnport.ance which was attached to this branch , of. business .by the fathers of
the Commonwealth.
." ^ \ ,. ^
" '^ -.
. , . "
Ofthe 3^ear 1641, Lechford, in his "Plaiii Dealing;; or. News- from New England," (printed in London, 1642,)| says tliat the pepple were
".setting on.the nianufacture of linen arid cbtton cloth, and the fishingtraLde;" /thaf tliey;were.";buildiiig of "^ships,.and had a good, store of
barks, catches, lighters, shallops, and other vessels;''.arid that "thpy
had builded and - planted tp admiration for the time." We-learn from
Jbhrisoh, i n t h e Work already ^meritloned, that the Rev. Richard Bhiid-,

•.; ^ d i - : H u g i i P e t e r . ' . ;- •,.,,' ^ .'



-• • '•:.••'-.• •'-.'.

* + Hutchinson preseiTf^s, in his Collection of Papers, a lette-r frpin Mr. John Knowles to.
Go-\wrior Leverett, dated at London in 1677,:by which it appears ;thaf Peters'sVvidoW was in.
great poverty. Knowles says: "Sir, there is another trouble^which I presume to.putt upon
you; which is, to speak to the reverend [Mvi] Higginson,-pas.tour of Salem, to iiiove that congregation to doe something for'the:maintenance of'.Mrs. Peters, who, since, her husbaiid suf^ ',
. fered here, hath depended wholly upon. Mi-. Cockquain and'that church whereof he. is pastour.
I fea;r she will be forced to ,seke her living:iri the streets, if some eourse be not taken for her
relief, either by Mr^ Higginson.,^QrvMr. Oxenbridge, .or some other ^'sympathizing iriini.ster."
tRepublished in "Collections of ^Massachusetts Historical Society, vol. 3d of 3d. series.. ; ,

•302 -


S.^-Doc.-- 22.'

Irian had gathered a church at Cape Ann,, " a place of fishing, being
peopled with fishermen;" and that "their'fishing trade would be very
beneficiar had they men of estates lo manage-it." Wei read in Winthrop's Journal, that "this year the nien followed fishing so well, that
there was a.bout three ^-hundrcpd thpusand dry fish sent to"
and iri Hubbard, that'the colonists received letters from England by.
the English fishing ships; that came, to the Piscataqua. Iri 16.42, w^p
find iii'Winthi:op that the same class of ;shi]is brought news of the civil
•wars between theKingandParllament, "whereuppn the ehurclies kept
.divers chiys,of huirilhatlon;" and that "there arrived anbther.ship with
salt, -which' was p ut off* ,for pipe-staves j " ^ so 'that ' 'by an unexpected'
proyidence" there was " a supply of salt to go, on with fishing:',! andin ;
Holnies,; that '^the ,sett;leinent iat Cape. Ann^ was established to be a
piantatlori, arid called Gloucester." ' Again, Winthrop records, in 1643,
the return^of the - Trial,.'' Mr. Thomas; .Graves,; an;able and - a godly
man, master,", from a voyage J b Bilboa and Malaga. ^ This was the
"first vessel built .'at Boston.', Herj outward cargo consisted of fish,,'
'' which she sold at a good rate;'' and .-she , broirglit home." wine, fruit,
oil, iron,; and wpol, which was a great adyantage to the countrjV and ,
gave eiicPuragementto trade.'' ;
^ : . _ . ' .
.' '
., In 1644, we -.have an incident pertinent to our purpose, Which is related
with spme paiticularity in the chronicles of the time.' , It appearsthat
a; Lpridon ship-of tWenty-four^guns, Captain Stagg, anived at Bpslipn-,
with a'cargo-of wliie, from Teneriffe; that a. Bristol ship, laden with;
'fish, lay in the the.same time; that- Stagg, authorized b}^ a\
commission from the .Crbriiwelf party in, Erigiand.tb capture 'Vessels
belonging to Bristol, made'prize of this ship;- and that a Bristol mer. chant, • and - .others interested in the ves sel, and • cargo seized b y Stagg,.
collected a mob, and raised, a ttimult.; It appears, fuitlier,_tliat some of
the citizens of Boston," apprehensive of serious -cbiisequPnces, made
piisoiiers'.of the merchant and other strangers, and carried them before
Winthrop, 3vho confined them under guard in a public house;. :aiid that the people bf., the town concerned iii'the affair were committed to.
prison. Stagg was npxt called tp an accpiint,- but it was found that lie
had not transcended his:authority.,; A great excitement was;produced
by the occurrence; and,, some of the miriisters, participating in t h e commori feehng, spoke harshly, of Staggin their., serriions, arid exhorted thp
tnagistrates\to maintain- the people's liberties,-which they.'considered,
h a d been violated by his, act. ^A part of thp magistrates were of the
.opinion that' the Bristol, ship should be restored;'but the majority expressed; a.differeiit view ofthe case,-, and, Stagg. was allowed to.retriiii
ihis, prize. But the merchants of Boston, who, it would seem. Were,
owners of .the x'argo of fish,'petitioned to be allowed to test.the riglit of
the captor to ^/zar property by a suit a t law. ,' Their request was'granted;
yet,'when the governor, six other.rnagistrates, and the jury assembled,
• thpy werp induced tp refer the decision of the whole matter Jo the coiirt ;
of admiralty. ~ Thus tefmlnated an affair which, at the riioment, wore
a very seripus aspect; and threatened to involve the government of
Mass;achusetts:iiia cbntroyersy with their Puritan friends in England.
Concluding''our accpunt, bf the year .16144 with the remark t h a t one
ship,: built';at Cariibridgp,,. and another, built at-'ton, sailed from the

S. Doc. 22.


latter place,for the Canaries with cargoes of fish arid pipe-staves, we
come, in 1645, to the first voyage undertaken on' the distant fishing
grounds of, Newfoundland. The projectors of the enterprise ^vere
merchants pf Boston and Chaiiestown, who, according to Winthrop,
" sentibrth a ship and other vessels"- to. the Bay of Bulls. The eflfects
of the civil war between'Charles, arid his people, feltj as we have just
seen, in the capture of the Bristol ship in Boston, were dLsastrous even
in those remote seas; fpr when these Vessels had nearly completed
their fitres;. the ship and liiostpf their fish were .seized by a .cruiser^
belonging to'the "Ring's ^party, and retained, to, the .great^ Joss of tiie
• ' ,
.^" . , '.
. ." - .
By a.n act of .Massachusetts, .in 1647, every householder \y as allowed
"free fishing.and foWhng" in any of the^greaf ponds, bays, coves, and
fivers, as far " a s the sea e'bbs and flows," in their respectivp' towns,
unless "the freemen" or the'general court "had.otherwise appropriated
, them." By a law bf the fbliowing 3^ear,"-fishernien and Others were
forbidden to contiriue the practice of-cutting fuel arid timber, withput
license, on larids individuals or towns; though during the fishing season, persons wholielongpd to the cplony might, still dry their fish,
and use-Avood and timber necessary for their business,.on all such lands,
by making satisfaction to the proprietors. .These law's were followed,
in 1652, by another, which provided for the appointment of sworn " fish
vipwers," a t " every, fishing ' place" within the jurisdiction, wiio were
required to/reject as unmerchantable, ;all •'•' sun-burnt,, salt-burnt, and
d r y fish, that hath been first pickled," and-whose fees: on merchantable
fish were fixed at one penny t h e quintal, " t o be paid, one half by the
deliverer, and the.;dther half by thp;;receiver."* ..
- ^ , .' . ;
\Meantinie, a schism had pccurred,bf:twepn certain persons and the.i-uling'pbwers of ^lassachusetts; and the fornier, em body ing, their supposed giieyances iii petitions to the Lords Com mission ers of Trade' and.
Plantations, had; circulated these, papers for signature. \'.^ Tlie^v had
.sent their agents up and down the, country,'' relates Hubbard, " b u t of
the. many thousands they^ spake of, they-cbuld •find oiily. twenty-.five
hands tp the chief; petition;' aiid those' were, for the most: part, either youno; men whb came over servants, and never had over mtich slfew of
rehgiori in them, "or fi,shermen;of Marblehead, feared to be.profanpper^
sons, divers of whom Avere brought: frorn Newfoundland, for the fishing
season, to r e t u r n i i g a i n . ' ' '
, ;^
.-.^ r .
To relieve ,our narrativev we .may noW; select some ;ani,usiiig passages from Jossetyn. This veracious chronicler—who saw ',^ frogs that,
when, they sit upon their breech, are a ,fbot high," and ascertained that
• * In-' "An Abstract of the Laws'of New Engla.iid,"printedJh London in 1655, and by William Aspinwall, the publisher, ascribed to;Mr. Cotton', which Hutchinson,-who preserves it in
his " Collection of Papers',", say's "ought, entitled An Abstract of, a Code or System of Laws'prepared for the Conimon wealth of Massachusetts Bay,"'\ve find In chapter 3dj'
under the head "Of the. Protection arid Provision of the Country," the following': "Because
fish \k the chiefe : staple-commodity of the countiy, therefore: all due incouragement. to begiven unto such hands as shall sett forward, the trade ofifishing, and for that end a law to be
made that whosoever shall apply themselves to sett forward the^ trade of fishing, as fishermen,
mariners, and'shipwrights, shall be allowed, inan. for liian, or other, of the labourers,of
the country to plant and reape-for them in the"se'a.?on of the-yeare at the publique'charges of
the Commonwealth, for the space of these seaven yeares next ensuing,; and such labourers to
be appointed and paid by the treasurei\o.f the GommohweaM^^
' ;.
. v

. S. Doc. 22.


".barley frequently degenerates into oats"—made twb voyages to New
England, and lived here a nuniber of 3^ears. He was in Boston In
1663. He.thus discourses offish: '-'The sea-hare is as big as grampus
or herring-hog,.and as white .as a sheet. * ,* * I hay.e seen sturgeon
.sixteen foot in. length; of their, sounds they make isinglass, which,
melted-in the mputh, is excellent to seal letters: * ,* * ' negroes or
sea-devils,. a very ugly fish, having a black scale: * .* * squids, a
soft fish'somewhat like a cudgel, their horns, like a snail's:.: * ,* • f
the dolphin;- the- ashes of their teeth, mixed with hpney, is gobd to
assuage the pain of breeding-teeth in childreiiV J^ * f^_. the alewife
is like a'herring, but has a bigger belly, therefore: called ari; alewife:
* # # ^I/Q bass'\is a salt-water .fish, too,, but most an end; taken in
rivers: one writes that the Tat i n t h e bone ofVbass's head isiiis.braiiis,
• which Is a lie: ,, f; - * *" the.' salmon the .first year is a salmdn-smtelt, the
.second a mart, the third a^spraid, the fourth'a soar/the h k h a sorrel, the,
sixth ^fork/et-tail, and the seventh, year a sdlmon/\ < One kind oiturtle;^
.he says, if burned to ashes and mixed with oil and 3yiiie, " healeth spre
legs," while the ' burnt'shell, if cbnipounded, with . whites of ./eggs,,,'
•"healeth ^yomen's nipples;", and he avers that sea'rmuscles,iidried arid
pulverized, "will;perfectly cure the piles," and that°"troiifsgrease is
good for the piles, arid clifts."
Ofthe iiihabifants of the sea he enumerates sixty-four kinds, to some of which he affixes names sufficientty
barbarous to display his stock of learning;' and cprichides with the: rp,mark,.;that "the fish 'are swumlby, arid the sefpants are creeping on—terrible creatures-^-carrying stings in their tails .that will smart worse
than a.satyr''S\YM^, Ihoyi^'it w
as Mr. Shepperd's, the mad
gentleman atiVIIltonT—IVIowbrayes Constantinus Lasculus." ; / < l. ' ; .
W e turn'from Josselyn to an angry king. : Tp supply a circulating,
'medium, Massaphusefts, as early, as 1652, commencpd tlie vcoiriage of
-the "pine-tree" shilling-pieces, at which Charles the Second was inuch
.disp,leased. The general court, in-16,77, to appease him, prdered a;present of .,^'teri barrels of cranberries,'two hogsh^Pads of sariip, and
three thousand codfish."*^ Duririg the same year abbut t\\^enty fishing vessels were captured by the Indians on t h e coast of Majnei Most
of them were owned in Salpm; and having from three to six men: each,^ .
could have rriade a successful resistance had they riot been taken b y
surprise; or, as sa3^s':*Hubbard, had they not been:"k dull and heavy-rrioulded sort pf people," witnPut " either skill or cpurage to kill ianything but fish." lus fact, '.some' vessels .did niake. a mariful defence,
lost anumber of men killed, and carried home nineteen others woundedi:
A large ypsselwas immediately equipped by. the mercha;nts_ of Salem,'
arid despatched to re-capture their vessels and puriish^ the captors.The Indians plundered the fishing-ketches,.^abaiidbned, them, and eluded
thpiirpursuers, v s
'• _
.;. ., • f- /
' ;.v
.In 1692 Salem:lost by removals about ia quarter part oi its whole
population,, in conspquerice of the trials, for witchcraft. The world;'
'ririgs with the enormities pf this delusion. - Itvshould wonder, rather,:"
that witchcraft in America was so rieaiiy.confined 'to the fishing-county
: of Essex, at a peribd when all-Eiigland. was peopled with witches and;
^ Hume ^says thatthe^usual oath of Ch arie ^. the Seeondyvas, ^ Cod's-fish.\/. . . . ^ ^

Ef Doe. 201 •


goblins, arid when the venerable and devout Sir'Mathew Hale doomedv
two women to be hanged for vexing, with fits tli,e child of a herring;
nierchant! The prosperity of Salem was checked from other causes.
In 1697, John Higginson wrote his brother Nathaniel, that in 1689 he;
had obtained a comfortable estate,.and.was as much concerned in the.^°
fishing trade as most of his neighbors; but-ithat, in the course of thewar (then soon to be terminatecl) lie had met with considerable losses;^
that trade ha.d much diminished; that of upwards of gixty fishing ves-.
sels owned in that:tbwn at the commencement bf; hos.tilities,, onty six.remained; and that "he believed no place in Massachusetts had suffered
.more'by the war than Salem.;
.. At the close of the centur3'",,as w:e learn jfrorri Neal, the merchants' of
Massachusetts exported about orie hundred thousand quintals of dried
codfish annually t o Portugal, Spain, and Itaty, bf the value of four
hundred thpusand dollars; while from another source we areinformed,:
that, disregarding the -navigation act of'England, a large contra;band;
commerce was rriaintairied. by the irierchants of Bbstdn with most of;
-Europe. '
, '^^ ,
Thus fiir the mention of Marblehead has been incidental. Originally'
a partof Salem, and more prosperous iri the prosecution of the cod-'
fishery, it was supposed to'contain at one period a greater population^
than its parent towri. Departing from the chronological order hitherto;
preserved in the narrative, I shall here consider its history as connected
with our.s.ubject, for about half a century/^ We.haVe already seen.the:agency of clergymen in establishing the fisheries of Gloucester and Sar^
lerri, and are now to q;uote at large froin the autobiography of the. Rev.John Barnard, to show his influence at Marblehead. He commenced'
his ministerial labors i n 1714, at wliich tiine, he gays,-, " there V a s not ;
so much as one proper ^carpenter, nor mason, nor tailor, nor butcher,:
iri' the town." ' And, he continues : " T h e people contented themselves''
to be the slaves that digged-in the mines', and left the merfiiants of
Boston, Salein, and Europe to carry away the gains;: 113^ which means:
the towri was always in'dismally poor circumstances, irivolved in debti
to the merchants more than they were worth; rior could I find, twenty:
farriilies in it. that, upon the best exaralriation, could stand upon their
owri legs; and they were gpnerally as rude, swearing,'drunken, andii
fighting a cirew, as they were" poor.
" 1 soon saw that .the town had a price in its hands, and it was a;
pity they had not a'heart to imprbve it. I therefore laid myself out to ; •
get acquaintance with the Eriglish masters of vessels, that Tmight by let into the mystpiy of the fish trade; a-ud in a little time Igained a pretty thorough understanding of it. - When I saw the advaii--'
tages of it, I thought it my duty to stir up my people, such as I thought
would hearken to me, and were capable of practlsiiig upori the advice, to •'
send the fish to marketthpmselves, that they niight reap the benefit of •
it, tothe enriching themselves and serving the town. But alas ! I could' man with courage and resolution enpugh tb engage in it, till ;
I met with Mr. Joseph Swett, -a young- man of strict justice, great iiir
dustrj^^ enterprising; genius, quick apprehensip'n, and firm resolutiori,
but of small fortune. To him I opened myself fully, laid the scheme •






' • • •


S:; Doc. 22,

clearly before him, and he hearkened unto me, and was wise enougb
tp put it in practice. He first sent a sniall cargo to Barbadoes.
" H e soon found he increased his stock, built vessels, and sent the fish
to;Europe, and prospered in the trade to the enrichirig pf himself; and
"some of his faniity, by cariying on the trade, have arrived at.large es-tates.,,' The more promising young men of the town soon followed, his
example'; that now* we have between thirty and forty ships, brigs,'
^nows, and tppsaU'schopners, engaged in foreign trade. From so small
a begirining the town has. risen into its present flourishing circumstances,
and we need no foreigner to'transport'our fish, but. are, able ourselvesto send it aU to the market." He relates, also, that the " p u b h c w a y s were vastly mended;" that the manners of the people had greatty improved; that " we have . many gentleinanlikp and polite families;":
and t h a t " the very' fishermen scoiii the rudeness of theforiner genera.r tion." I rriay add, as the contribution of another pen, that Mr. Barnard
so zealously studied the " mystery" of naval architecture, as to" acquire
great skill; ^ and ; that."''several iif his draughts, the - amusement of
leisure hours, were commended by inaster; ship-builders.". He was^
faithful ill the performance^ of his ciericar duties; and besides;bestowing much in comnion charities, generalty supported two bP3^s at
school. He Was eminent for his learning and piety; was distinguished
aniong the divines* of America of. the last centuiy; airid in his old age
Was regaLrd.ed ;" as: the father of the churches." " His form w^as rer
markabty erect, and he never bent under t h e i nfirmi.t3^^ of years. His
countenarice w^as grand, his;mierirnajestic,;arid there w^as dignit3^ in his
w.hole deportmeiif." The " north church" in Boston was built for
him, and he preached the dedication sermon, expecting to be ordained.,
in accordance with a inutual agreement; but he w^as supplanted l y
apother candidate, who possessed the favor of Cotton Mather. " Of this
transaction he could not speak with calriiness to.the day of his death."
iiHe served the peojile of Marblehead up wards.of fifty 3^ears, and deserves theii; kind remembr^mcp jn. all coming time. Let our fishermen •
everywhere take cotiragp; With such benefactors in the.past, there
must be hope in thefuture, cheerless to them as seems the present.
". We returri to the j^ear 1714, near which time the,first vessel.of the
class called schooiier was huilt at Gloucester, by Andrew Robinson.
The account is well confirmed, and in. substanceis that having masted •
arid rigged a vPssel in "a niamier.unknown either in Europe or America/
a.nd to his own fancy, a bystander at the launch exclaimed, as shb'
started fi'orri the', stocks, " O h , hoiv she scoonsP'' And that. Robiiison ,
' replied, ";-4 schooner let lierbe/f Thus recent is the appearance bf this
description of vessel on; the fishing grqundis,.'and iri the coasting trade,
. O f t h e perils at.tending the pursuit of the. cod on the cpasts frequented^by; the • people pf Massachusetts during the period of French power,
and of warfare with the native 'tribes, a general yiew^ has' been given;
in the first part of this repbrt, and a particular caspiof-.Indian hbstilit3^
has" bpeii recoixled here.t We ma3^ now notice an occurrence in 1726,
.'^•This autobiography bears-date at Marblehead, Noveriiber 14, 1766, and' is'.te-be found in
the Collections of the Massachusetts Histbrical Society.
v- ~
tThe capture of the twenty vessel's in 1677. ''
' i
• " ..

S. Doc. 22.


in which Samuel Da.ty, of Plymouth, was the hero. While on a fishing
voyage he put into a harbor in 'Nova Scotia to procure water, and see-ing John Baptist, a'Frenchriian, on shore, asked him to come.on board.:
Accompainied b3^ihis ^son. Baptist accepted the invitritiori; arid, aftersome fiiendty conversation, Daty'arid hiselder guest retired to the cabiii'
to drink. .While there,. the younger Baptist returned fo the " shore.
Suspecting no. harm, Daty,"with his mate and .three of ;his crew, went
on shore also,'leaving Baptist in the vesseL The; son, with two Indians, iriimediately jdiiied Baptls^t, and assisted him to seize the yessel
as a prize. Daly applied to the mother pf Baptist to Intercede for the
restoration of his prope.rt3';. and after ;some d.ela3% she consented. The
treacherous Frenchman was, however, inexorable;'and, several other
Indians getting on board, he; ordered ;Daly to weigh anchor and make
sail. ' The" savages threatened him with their hatchets, and^the luckless
fisherman obeyed.'.But the next day Daly secured .Baptist and three
of the Indians in the cabift, overpowered the son and the; savages, who
remained oil deck, and regained possession of his vess'^el. The Indians;
in the cabin, fired upon by Daty, tlireW themselves into'the< sea. Bap-.
tist, his son, and three;surviyinglndiarisj„were safely landed at Boston, .
yvhere, tried for piracy, all .were cbridemiied"arid ex^
In 1731 the fisheiies of Massachusetts emplpyed between five and
six thousand' men. " Three years later a township in Maine'was granted
to sixty inhabitants of.Marblehead, arid a sirnilar grant was. made to
citizens of Gloucester, in 1735^*- Possibly, many of the fishermen of
these ancient towns had.become w^eaiiy of the hazards: of the sea, and
desired repose ; but whatever the motives of the grantees of these larids„
the perils and hardships of theTorest a century ago were quite equal
to. those encountered upon the oceari, and; such w^as their particular
expeiierice. \
'. _
. .
V ' ' ,
. .'
In 1741 the cod-fishery^w^as in a prosperpus condition. The annual
produce was about two hundred arid thirty thousarid quintals, and thevalue of the quantity exported nearly seven hundred thousand dpllars.
The average size of vessels was fifty tons;, and, of these one'himdred
and' sixty were owned in Marblehead alone. ' T h e w^hole number, of
fishing vessels'in Massachusetts was not less than four, hundred.,, besides
an.equal number of ketches,^ shallops, and undecked boat^
In the twenty years that succeeded there was. a sensible decline, for '
wiiich the causes-were abundant.- .The emigrations to Majriejust men-tioiied, from Marblehead and Gloucester, the settlements elsewhere iri
the eastern cpuntry by eriiigrants from Cape Cod, the depopulation a n d :
almost eiitire, abandoriinpnf of ProvincetPpn, the expedition against
Louisbourg, the general events of the two. wars that occurred during
thisiperlbcli:between France .and England, in.the calaiiiities of which
Massachusetts 3yas deeply involved, the demand'fpr fishermen to man,
privateers and to enter the iiava.l ships, of thecrown,, with several minor,
events, combined to injiire the fisheries to a very considerable de^i;'
* The first was called " New Marblehead," but is now. IVindham; the second, "New.GloU-Cioster," which name has* been ret'ained to the .present time: .The''settlement of New Gloucester, after being commenced, was suspended—in fact-, abandoned—.for eleven years,- in conse^quence of the Indian wars; Block-houses.-^ferebuiltljoth there aiid at New Marblehead* t^
pix)tect the settlers from the savage foe.'
• ,;;,,..•


S. Doc..; 22.,

gree, and at times, indeed, to reiider attention to t h a n Hearty" imn
' ppssible. ' After the peace of 1763., maritime enterprises were agaim
i^indeitaken with spirit and success, and the fishing towns shared in the
-general prosperity. But the controversies that produced civil war, aiicI
finalty a dismembernientof the British ©mpife, had already commenced^.
and spon disturbed every braiicixof indiistry.. The fisheries sufferecl
first, and at the shedding-of blood were- suspended. The. polltlcai
history of thpfiiteeJi years that preceded the Revolution relates to. all.
^ e w England, an.d will farm a separate chapter.

. t p W ENGLiWl>. • ..

^ ',• •".:.




From the commencement of the RevQlutiona-ry Vontroversij, to. fixe ])eclaratwi%
,. "
of Independence.
, ^
In tracing the origin and progress of the fisheries of iNie.w.Englaiidsr
we have seen that they furnished our first -articlps of export, and iaidi
the foundation .of our liavigation and conamerce.*'. I t w a s so in Europe^
^ Of the present maritime powers pf the. Old World, there is scarcely
one that does not owe much of its-.commercial prosperity to the samp,
branch of industry. ..Some fugitiyes from . the i wrath ofthe mpnstef
A.ttila fled tp the isles of the Adriatic, -where, of necessity, they adoplecl
the avocation of fishermen. By this employment, steadily .continued,
Venice in.a few centuries became renowned for her wealth,'commerce,
qind naval, strength. The prigin of thei republic, was • celebrated fc^r a
long period, and the omission'br refusal of .a Doge to provide the-customary banquet,iand to. submit to the-fishermen's embrace, a.llowed by
his.predecessors on this'natiorial festival, made of Contaririi.
kateful, and well nigli .caused the subversion of all legal restrairit, and
the overthrow ofthe reigniiig famity.t Genoa, too, grew rich and p6w.«"
* The fisheries are identified, indeed, with the earliest mention of commerce. The Phoehi-,
eians called a^z; henee, according to s/)riie, Sidon, the mostiincient of maritime cities/
derivcdlts name from the..abund_anee of fishes that inhabited the waters near its site. Tyres,,;
-which in Sciiptui;e story is called the "daughtier-ofSidonV' -vvas founded by Sidonians^^a^^^
becariie the greatest eomm'ercial mart of,the aricient vyorld. .Stufl^'dyed with the purple fluid,
which was. extraGted from a particular kind of. shelMsh formed one ofthe most extensive
branches of it« trade,and ^sp.urcea of its wealthy The Tyrians, by .their indus.try and' skill,
'^T^ied-this precious, dye, which in value disputed with gold- itself, t o the highest'possible
'4egi^ee of perfection. None .but those ef imiierial' dig.nity or of vast wealth could-wear these
pui-ple-colored stuff's; and Rome, in her 'days of conquest and power, conferred them as the
.highesjt. honor she couldijestew, upon such.of lier emperors, consuls, and warriors as sh^,
•decreed a triumph. Specimensof the' purple fish hav.e> been found. occa,sionally, in inodem.
times, on- the shores of France ,and Britain; but; the Tyrian dye, as a branch oii" the artSj i%'
;.Eipw4ost. .Tyre herself has inet the doom-pronounced by'.Ezekiel. .
t i?he fugitives from the oppre.ssfon of Attila devoted themselves to fishing'and the manufacture of salt^-the only employments which their scanty territory permitted. The. growth
of yenice was In the course of .five centuries the small harid of exiles and fishernien
became a rich„powerfiil,,.and independent nation. The custom, was finally adopted 6i inviting,
the fishermen to the capital to a: public banquet every year, and to permit them to embrace.
, the i)oge at its conclusion: They were gratified' with -the privilege, and uhwillirigly relihquished it. But when the aristocracy, was fimily estabhshed, some of the nobles revolted from
this f'supple bonneting " of the; people ; and a Contarini,'when in authority, .refused the feast;
,'ind the kiss of fraternity; " His denial, if persisteti ih/' remarks a historian, " might have
'shaken'Venice to itst:>.ase; When the fisbenneh "assembled-on the app6inted;day, and claniorously demanded adriiissiori, it was Ibri'g before the reluctant Doge was prevaiied upon to
-appear-; -and even when he did, he was masked. His guests approached hint'individually, .iS»"

•^' Doe.. 22.

. ^0i

€rfSl b3^ the sariae nieans, arid, riot coritent With her own liimited fishirig
grpunds, undertook'the conquest of others: usrirping the fisheries di
the regions of the Bosphorus, she captured and for a W^hile awed into
siibmission their rightful owners.* Amsterdam, from a village of heH
,ting-catchers, cabins, a:.Rd curing-sheds, rose, :by the skill of the inriiate's
qf these frail structures, by the fame of their commPdities in foreigii
countries, a n d b y t h e immense 'cbristi-mptiom of theiii at home, to unex, ampled affluence and. grarideur;' and the sayings everywhere, crir'rerit
two centuries ago, that ''Airisterdam,is founded on herring-bones," .and
ithat ^'Dutchmen's bodies are -b^Ilt of pickled herrings," w^ere hardly
riQOrb than quaiiit'^exprpsslons of histofic truth.
' The islands and portioris of continent separated froiri each other by
(deep a.i^d boisterous chariMels, which cbriiposethe kingdom of Denmark,
eompelled the Daiies to cornnitsiiicate with diff'ererit parts of their couritry by sea, and their barren soil as iiriperatively obliged them to resort
tb fishing for support. Extendiiig their , voyages at ierig'th, from their
own coasts to Greenland and Iceland, th.eiskili arid wealth thus acquii'Pd
enabled there to add the ports of Copenhaigen,. Altona,' aiid Kiel, to thd
dieted tSie kiss, and, as a monument of their triumph, they afterwards ^laced.ia the chiJTch c(i^
St.a. iigrie,se a iMcture represeiitirig the cereiiioriy.''
, •
' . ' . ' ;
' Moriceiiigo,'who died in 1423, was well versed in the'coniiriercial and niaritime afiVirs bf his
•eeuntiy; and he advanced both to -unexafflpled prosperity. A censms taken while he was iia ~
•ffupreme authority'fixed the population of the capital at ,190,000 souls. . • - . . .
Early in the feixte'enth century, the French ariibassador, Louis Heliaii, prohomiced a epe'ech,
•Sri AVMch he u'ttefed-the most vtblerit - invectives agaiosfc the Venetians, who he declared hai^
, * • abamloned the cause of Heaves, and deserved to be execrated by God and mari—to bfe
iiunted down by sea mi. land^and to^ be estermimated by fire and sword." Referring fo their
warsvand conquests, he said, that-" ©ot a century has elapsed since these fishermen emerged
from their bogs';, and mo sooner had they" placed foo*: QU terra firma than tliey' acquired' greater
^ 4<>miMbn by perfidy than Rome ;wom by arms in the long ^eourse; of two himdred years'; and
they had already concerted plans to biidge the Don, .tke^Rlaine, the Seine, the Rhone, th»,
"Tagus, aiid the Ebro, and to estabMsh their rule In every profince of Europe."
. Her power, however^ was soon weakened. Her salt works, in which frpm her very birth
she had' refused all partnership, and defied:all competition, were shared by computsion withtheHoly SeevvatJiin a few years after the nsaledietions of the French minister. Her d.eclind
sand fail need not be here related. In^modern times Venice is hardly known for her fisheries.
Her.exports of'the^ products of the sea im 1829 were" of the'value ©f about twenty-five tho'u-^
;&an'd dollars, v^^ileher imports amounted to nearly a quarter of a million of-dollars..' " T h g
fehiiig bo.ats of Venice/' says McCulloCh, in 1832, " arenot of a size to be rated as vessels of
^tonnage. Aboiit sixteen thousand of the population subsist by fishing near the port ajid over
the lagoon."'
• :
.' •' ' . , . .
' •
• * -'-'At the clese of, the thirteenth centir.ry," gays a historian of .Venice, "Geiioa, by her coH-'
jaexioii .with the Greek's, had aeqEired great 'strength in the East. She was mistress of Scio;
she possessed many establishments on the shores of the Black sea, and amorig them the iml^ortanf .town ef. Caffa, which comniiands the entrance of the sea of Azoph. Above all, she
lield,-as a fief of the empire, Pera, the s.uburb of Constantinople; and by its occupation she
virtually retailed the keys of that great capital. She •controlled its'fisheries and its customs i
' Without her permission, not a bark could navigate its harbor; andj as she closed or threw open
lier granaries, famine or abundaEoe waited ohi her pleasure."
' ', "'
^^' ' . . • . '
(jfibbon, in hie Becline and Fall, speaking of Genoa,, and refemng to the year 1348, reriiarkij
fiuhat she ''supplied the Greeks with fish and corn—two articles of food almost.equally im-,
|>ortant tk a* superstitious people." ' "They proceeded/' he continues, "^o usurp the customs^
(iJie fishery, and even, ihe, toll of the Bosphoriis^ from idhich tltey derived a revoiiw of tIDo hundred
dwusandifieces of-gold. A 'Byzantine vessel which presumed tp fish at the niouthof the harbor
teas sukk hy these-, audacious strangers, and the fishernien were murdered. Instead of suing for
pardon, the Genoese demanded satisfaction; required;in a haughty strain that the Gre.eks
igliouldr^jaounce the exercise oi" riavigatibn, and ericouiiitered with r e ^ a r arm.s the first sallied'
^.,the popularindi^)3i,t.ion.'* ,
• ••/' / ' ' \


/S. Doc. 22.

. great marts of Europe.* Of France I may remark, that her fishermen.
..Ibundpd her marine, and that chief among her early offetislye opera- ,
, tions upon the ocean was the armament fitted out by this class of hpr
people, urider the royal sanction, to relieve themselves from the real pr
.ikncied oppressions of their English competitors, while employed onthe
•waters commbn-to the subjects of both crowms, in the pursuit of fish.
..i; Of the origin and: rapid increase of the co'riimerce of England, suf-.
.ficient has been said elsewhere.t. We proceed tb consider the course
tpf the British .government towards New Eiiglarid. •,
' ; .
. • So steadily and successfully were the fisheries pursued by the pepple
of Plymouth, Massachusetts, Ney/ iHampshire, iand'Maine, that only
.fift3". years elapsed from the. landing of the Puritans, before an Eriglish
writer bf high authority in matters of trade expressed his apprehension
as to the events ..likely to result, in ithe following remarkable words:
^^New England,''^ said he,^"is the most prejudicial plantation to this.kingdom.''^ And why? ' 'Because,,-''of all 'the yhiiericaii.plantdtions,- his Ma-jesty has none so apt for „ biiilding of shipping as_ New' England, nor^ any
comparably so qualifi/ed for the/hreeding. of seamen, not only by reason of thJa
natural industry of that people, but principally by reason of their/cod and
mh^ckerel.fisheries; and, in my poor opinion, there is^'nothing more prejudicial, and in prospect. more- dangerous, t.6 amy mother kingdom j than, the
increase of shipping in her colonies, plaint ations, on provinces/^ -Sir Josiah
Child wasalarrried too much, probably, at what really was in-his p\^Ti
time, but still saw with a prophet's eye what'was to :be. But tlte
policy ,of England, from the' restoration .of the Stuarts 'down. to the
Revolution, was In strict accordance whh the apprehensions expressed
by him, and she not bnty neglected aLiid declined all support tb the nav-'
* The naval power of Denmark dates from an early period cf modern history.- This.king- <
dom consists for the most part of islands aud portions o.f the continent separated fi'om each
Other by deep and stormy seas. Intercommunication naturally produced seamen, while its,
poor soil drove its people to fishing for subsistence.' Canute the Sixth, who died in the year
1202j paid great attention to the herring fisheries of his dominions. A Sclavonian chronicler
describes this branch of industry,at this period as productive and "profitable, and as bringing:
into the ceuntry "gold, silver, and all other precious things." The exports;of herrmgs fronx
Nalburg, in 1720, were more than tweiitythree'thousand tons, but In 1765, only abo.ut.eiglii '
thousand tons! Two years, later, a herring coriipany was established at Altona, byi royal grant,'
for ten.iy ears; the-King,'however, bought up the, deeds before the expiration of the term, ian<J
eommeaced the fishery on his own account. - .
. . ,,
.While the fisheries of Deririiark were in a prosperous condition,.Copenhagen, Altona, Kiel,
arid other ports, were crowded with ships.' At present, the commerce of the kingdom is in a
languishing state. . In 1801, the<.I)anfsh nav}' consisted ef twentythree ships-of-the.-line, thirtyone frigates, guard-ships,-and other vessels; but in'lSSS it had diminished to .four ships-of-theline, seyenfrigates, and eighteen smaller vessels. ' The diminution ofthe commercial marinawas quite as large. The seas abound with fish, and,.under regulations, might now,- as m Ca- .
mite's time, bring into.Denmark all m.annerof ".precious things." . -.'.
.' t It ma,y be added herCv that about the year 1,000, there was but owe, quay.^or wharf in th«
city of London. The first >vas'at Billingsgate, the great fish-market. The wharfage or toll
was ai half-pienny for every, boatload of fish which was landed.i'
- It ma,y be" said, further, that the first dock which jvas con.strueted in the.same city .(now so,
celebrated for its imniense docks and warehouses) was used by the Greenland whale-fishers.
So, too, LiverpooljEngland—the present mart of Ainerican commerce—ivas once a poor fishing village.. It derived- its first irinportarice, towards the close of "thet2th century, frointha
cirCuihstance of Henry II havingiised it as a station for the emb ark ati on of troops to Ireland• And Glasgow, in the reign of James I of Scotland, was' a smaU village, " consisting of littte
else than the houses of the clergy belonging to the metropolitan church. A merchant of the
name of Elphinston, engaging in the fisheries upon the coast, and aecumulating consi^^raM®
wealth, inspired his feUow-citizeiis.-v^lth a: sirriUariam

.S. Doc. 22e



-igatlon and commerce of New England, but directly oppressed a.nd re•strained them. Omitting notice pi' the acts of Parliament which do not
relate specially to the subject before us, the first law to claim our attention was passed in 1733, after a discussion of tw^o 3^ears. This apt,
by jmpos'iog duties on rum, riiolasses, and sugar, imported into the coh'
onies iirom any West India islands; other thari Biitish, was desigried to
break up an extensive and valuable trade with the:French, Dutch, and
-S.panishislands, where these products of the plantations were exchange(|.
for fish^ -It. is said that, previous to the commencement of-the trade, to
.thesedslands, molasses w a s thrown away by the planters, and that this
aiticle, which is now so extensively' used in. food, .was first saved and
put, into casks. to be brought to New England, to be distilled . into ruiriV
Certain it is, that on-the passage of the act'of i 7 3 3 , the people of the
northern cplonies insisted that, unless itliey could continue to sell fish, to
.the planters,bf the foreign islands, and to import molasses from tlience
to-be manufactured into spirit,.for domestic consumption and fortrade
with, the Indians, they could not piosecute the fisheries without ruinous
losses. -The penalty,for violating the- act was,the forfeiture of vessel
and cargo. • Yet New England never; submitted, though a fleet was
sentto enforce obedierice; a.nd> the Interdicte.d trade with the French,
Diitch, arid Spaiiishislands did not,cease until a late period of the con-.
ti'oversy which termiiiated in the: Revolution. In/fact, therefore, a
measure which threafeiied ^o ruin the cod-fishery of New England,
produced, asi I Incline to believe, no.serious injury to it, for quite thirty,
years. .', ^
'. f . . • '" • ''
. '• •'>• , • . '
' - -^
- But in 17,64 the act was ^renewed, and the collection of the duties
•Jt.imposed on rum, molasses, and sugar was- attempted 103^ the officers
#f the cix)wn, in a manner to. create the most anxious concern; for, the
jurisdiction of the admlralt}^ courts was enlarged, and the people w^ere
deprived of the trial by j-uiy in all cases arising between them and
the government tinder thfs law,, and the trade and navigation.laws
: generalty.. ,, . .•' • '
\ ' ' • . ' ' •
> ^The most alarming discontents followed the collisions. and quarrels
.which constantly occurred ^bet.wPen ship-masters and merchants,.. 011 ,
the one Imr^d, and .the officers of.the'customs on the other,^ in va.rious
parts of New Erigland, arid especialty in Boston,. Salem, GloucesteFs
Falmouth,^ and elsewhere in Massachusetts; and the impression be•came general among co-mmercialinen, that their business,and property
were both to be sacrificed tp\ appease the clamors of the planters ofthe
British islands, and to test the abilit3^ of the mother countiy ^'raise
a revenue irf America" under t h e " sugar and molasses;acts,", as this
odiqus'law was called in the politics of the day.
^ .
'. Meantime, the'southefn coloriies ridibuled the madness, or folly of
tlieir riorthern brethren, in resisting ta,xation upon so homely a "comMiodity as mdlasses, arid madb themselves meriy over the accounts of
the quarrels-'of the Tankees fpr cheap''^5^^ee^e^^^^
; .' •
• ;Tn truth, Che South, from first to last, never spemed tp unde;rstand-br
appreciate, the North upon this question, and forbore to come to the
siesGue for years after the leading nien bf Massachusetts' had wasted



• '

*. ^ w Portland. ^Maine:. '

.''; "

S: Doe. 22.


their energies in endeavors to Induce the ministry to abandon a policy
.so ruinous to northern industry. The "petty dealers in codfish and me>&55(?5''struggled long and manfully, but without success.
, The State papers of Massachusetts contain the most earnest remonstrances against the "sugar and rriolasses .acts." In the answer of'the
Council a.iicl House of Representatives to, the speech of the •governor9
.in November,' 17'64v it is said that "Pur pickled hsh wholly,, and a:great
part.oi our codfish, are only fit for the West India market. • The British islands cannottake off one-third ofthe quaiility .caught,; the other twor4Jiirdsmust be lost or sent to foreign plantatioris, where molasses is, given
in exchange. The duty on this article will grPatty diminish the importMion hither; and being tlie'only article allowed to he given, in exIjh.ange for our fish, a less quantity pf the latter will of course be exported^—the obvibus - effect bf which, must i be a diminution of the, not only "to the Wpst.Indies but tO:;Europey fish suitable for botb•t-hese markets being the produce of the same voyage. ..If, therefore,
one of these markets be shut, thp other canriot be supplied.. The loss of
me is the loss of both, as thefisherymust fail with -the loss of eitherr ,Thps0
OFepresentatibns cover the whole'ground.*
. ' In the petition ofthe Council and the House to the HoBse of Com-inons, prepared at the same time, itwas urged that the: acts in qBestio?^
• ^'must riecessairily bring many burdens upon the inhabitants of these colonies and plantations, which j^our petitioners copceivp would not have •
.,been imposed if a full representation of the state of the colonies had,
been made,to your honorable House ;" that "the irn^ortai\on,oi formgm:
molasses into; this prpvinGe^ in particular, is of the greatest impbitance,
and a prohibition will be prejudicial tp' many branches of trade, and
will lessen the consumptiori of the manufactures of Great Britain; that
this importance does? riot arise merely, nor'principally, from t h e sieces^
sity of foreign molasses, in order to its^ being consumed' or distilled within
the province,'' but "thatif the trade, for many years carried on for
foreign molasses,-can be no longer continued, a vent carmot be fbiind
for more tbanone-half of the fisli of inferior quality whlchi are caught
^ ind cured by the inhabitants of the prbvince, the Frerich not permitting
fish tb be carried by foreigners; to any of their islands, unless'tobe b a r tered or exchanged for molasses; that if there bam sale offish of inferior
^quality, it willbe impossiMe to continue the fishery : the fish usually senttr>
iEnglarid will then cost so dear, that the French will be able to UBdersell
the English, iri all the European, markets, andby.this meaBS one of the
ipost valuable returns to Great Britain will be utterly lost, and that greatMursery of seamen destrbj^ed." Accompaiying this petiti€>n was a letter to the agent-of'Massachusetts, in England, which' closes with the
remark, that "we are morally certain that the molasses trade cannot b e
carried on^ and the-rpresent duty paid."
^ . ^
^ * Mr. Bm-ke, in his " Observations " oa a publication called " The Present State of the 'Na«>
% a , " in 1769, revie\ys the course of the miaistry, anid says that, amoag- the acts relating toAmerica, W^re "some which lay heavy up 07i objects necessary for their trakie and'fishery J^
The Hon. Josiah Quincy,- of Hassachusetts, in,a speech delivered ia the Hosise of Eeprer
sentatives of the United States, in 180,8, on .our "foreign relations," enumeratedtiie pniQcipal
"causes.which led to a separation fi;om Gireat Britain," arid included"amoHg them the- " essi?>,
-M^rassing-o^r;fisheries.'^ / ._
.-;• '^i" .. .
• ' '.
, ,













s : Doc, '2^,


- These representatioiis were followed b3'- a letter of Mr. piiver,'secretary of Massachusetts, to Mr. Jackson, the colonial agent, WTitten IB;
•June, 1765, by order of the general court, which, as showing, that the
evils apprehended were not imaginary, I insert entire : " By several of
tlie papers directed to be delivered tp^ you by Mr. Mauduit, the late
^agent," sa,ys the. secretaiy, " y o u will observe the opinion of the two
hbuses with regard tb some of the .proba.ble fli effepts.of the last year's
acts of Parliament for granting certain duties in the colonies, and soriie
ctf them, with respect to trade, have been already verifled, as will ap.pear bythe petitions and, state riients of Messrs. Patrick Tracy, Thomas
feoylston, and Fortesque Vernon, merchants withiii this province. In
consequence of said act, three vessels, belonging to them, severally,
haveheen seized/and condemned;^ with respect to Which matter, they,*in .
their.petitions in general, declare that their vessels, sailed hence before,
said act tpok place,; viz : before September last; that rio bond was required of them at the respectiye custorn^houses . at which their vessels .
'\verp cleared out, and that said act did not require. an3^ bond-; that
said vessels prpceeded tp the French islands and loaded with molasses ;
.tliat, ori,return,they were forced, by stress of weather, two of theiri
into New Providence, and the other Into iBerriiuda; that these were
the first English ports which..Tracy and Boylstbn's had put in at after
sailing.hence ; that William Vernon's vessel had orily touched at Barbadoes, and sailed again before the 29th'of September; that at Prbvidericea:n(i Bermuda said vessels were seized arid-, with their cargoes,
by the court of admiralty, firially adjudged and condemned-—forfeited
fbr a want of certificates; that bonds had been given,.pursuant to said
acts ; that the vessels arid cargoes Were appraised at a rate much.below, their value,'with a view (they say) that,'in case they ^should be
.able to reverse the deciee,- they should, notwithstanding,-recover-a
small part of the value of their vessels and ^cargoes. This is' a brief
represeritation they niake, as'3^ou will, see by thpir petitions.. If their
representation be just, their case is really hard, and riierits the notice of
those who have the power toirelieve them."
; A detailed accpunt of the seizures of French, and Spanish molasses,'
which, contrary t o t h e acts of Paiiiament, Was continualty imported^—
or, to speak the exact truth, smuggled—wpuld occupy too rriuch space*;
yet, as the ".molasses,excitement" w^as pne of the earliest in the re\'ojutionaiy controversy, some further notlcp of the:course of events cannot well be oniltted The merchants^ determined; to maintain inter-'
course with the interdicted islands, devised a plan, finally, which for
a tiriie enabled them to accomplish their purpose', and still avoid tli^
penalties of the law. This plan was siniplyto lade their vessels With
molasses at the French.islands., as usual,, but tb purchase clearances,
^signed with the name,'if .not the haridw^ritirig, of the governor of Anguilla, who acted also as collector." This island was so small as riPt
to afford a cargo for ai single vPssel,'a5 was well known; to the collectors bf the customs j n New Englarid ; yet they permitted Vessels fur* The act which imposed a duty*of sixpence the gallon upon all foreign molasses importecl
into the colonies gave one-third part of the proceeds of forfeitures to the croWri, for the use 0^
the colony where the forfeiture occurred, one-third to- the govenior ,pf that eolony, and- oho^'
third to the infornier. " The act," says Hutchmson, " was always deemed a grievance;'*


;,S. Uoc. 22..

hished with the '*Anguilla clearances" to enter with their cargoes
without inquiry, for a considerable time; ,but, on a sudden, libels were
filed, and prosecutions were commenced in. the court of admiralty
against those who had been concerned in such evasions of the statutes,
. and ruinous forfeitures of property and renewed clamors were the COB, sequences.
••-- '^
We pass to other topics. In 1762, the fishing towns of Massachusetts, alarmed at the news that the French had captured St. John,
Newfoundland, petitioned the governor and council to fit out-a-^sh.ip and '
a sloop, then in the service of the prpvince, to protect their vessels.
Both vessels, in accordance with these petitions, wiere provided with
additional men and means of defence, and sent to sea. The experi^,
thus incurred became the subject of legislative inquiry, and was objected to because t h e executive branch of the governnient had apprcK
priated the public money without the consent or knowledge of the representatives of the people. The debate in the House was angry a n d
protracted. James Otis, the popular leader, used expressions never
before uttered in the colonies ; and,-soon after>the close of the session,published a pamphlet, in which he justified hiniself^for his conduct on
the occasion, and-defended with^ great ability the. principles for which
he had contended as a member of the House. " This production has
, been considered the original source frorn which all subsequent arguments against taxation were derived ;" while the whole anair created,
an interise excitement, and, iri the judgment of the biographer of Otis,
exerted very great influbnce in causing the Revolutipn.- ; .
." .
It is a singular fact, that the fisheiies furnished, the advocates of t t e
, supremacy of Parliament with one of their best.illLisfrations. j They
stated that the authprity of the imperial legislature was indispensafife
in many cases, and that without it thei colonies would ofteji be involved
in conflicts injurious to each other's interests. Governor Hutchinson^ '.,
in his remarks upon the question, said, substantially, that it had -been
generally thought a public beriefit to .prevent fishing vessels from depart^
ing on their voyage ;,until the month of April; but that if any colony ,
engaged in the business , failed to conform to. a lawimposing such a
regulation, others that com.plied with it would suffer, because their fish^latpr caught, must, of necessity, be later in market; and he declares
that a motion had actuaUy been made in the legislature of Massachu•setts, a few years previously,' for parliamentary interposition j n thi^
behalf, which filled, not in.consequence of any objection to the prliici^ple involved in the motion, but because a majority of the members dis-,approved of the restraint .itself, and were willing that fishing vessels^
Jiould depart from port before April, and whenever their owners andmasters thought proper.
. In 1772, a fishing vessel, having one passenger on board, sailed frorii^
Boston, for Chatham, Cape Cod. The morning after her departure shewas discovered without her crew, who, as the passenger said, were all
murdered soon after leaving .Boston, by a party of men who ^came ori)
board in,a boat, despatched from an armed schooner. This party, he
further averred, plundered the fishing vessel, lashed her helrii with her
isails standing, and abandoned her; while he, supposiiig that they,bp--IbDged to ai&ing's-cruiser, andwould impress iiim, concealed himseif

,S. Boc.-22.


. byhanging by his hands-over the stern. The passenger was examined
by a magistrate, who gave credit to his story, and suffered him to go at
large, but still sent a'copy of the examination to the: governor. The
account seemed untrue to the governor,-who, as-commissioner for trial
of piracies, issued a warrant to apprehend him,'and he was tried fbr
murder at a special court of admiralty.. H e was acquitted; but the
affair was transferred to the politics of the time, and much to increase the popular excitement. H e was visited b y several ofthe, leading whigs, who affirmed their belief in his declarations, and charged
the murder upon a vesspl of ithe royal navy; while the tories, on tlie
contrary, insisted that he, killed three of the crew to obtain their moriey,
' .aild: then took the life of the fourth, who was a boy, to prevent detection.
. .
Thesei incidents will serve to show the connexion offthe fisheries'.
with the questions ;W^hich caused a dismemberment of the British empire. It remains to speak of the act of Parliament passed in 1770,
wiiich, by depriving the people of New England of the right of fishing,
was. designed to "starve them into submission." The trade arising
, from the cpd-fislier3^ alone, at that - period, furnished, the northern colonies with nearly half of their reinittances to the mother country, in.
-payment for articles of British, manufacture, and was thus the very life-.:
blood of their commerce. The fishing tovv^ns had become populous and
rich. Marblehead, for example, next to Boston, was the jnost important place in Massachusetts, and was second fo the capital only in population and taxaible property. A fearfulichange awaited all: The dispute was now to be determined by an. appeal tb armsj and every maritime^ enterprise-was to be •iiiterruptedand.rulned.*'i
.. •
On thedOth of February, Lord -North m o v e d " that leave be given;
" * The inhabitants of the sea-shore of Massachusetts, impelled by their necessities, com'
menced the manufacture of salt from sea-water the Revolution. From the accoimts
preserved, it would seerii that they boiled the water at first, but were compelled to relinquish
the experiment because of the expense, and of the impurity of the salt. The next attempt
was by solar evaporation, on Boston Neck, by General Palmer,- " a worthy and enterprising
• gentleman," who failed in consequence of Ihe rain-water which fell into, his uncovered work^.
.The third experiment is saidto have been made in Dennis, Cafpe Cod, by Captain John Sears,
-who, in the end, was successful. R e constructed a vat with rafters and shutters, so arranged
"as. to exclude theraln in storms, and to'expose the sea-water to the action of the sun iri pleasant weather. The first year he .obtained only eight bushels of salt. His neighbors called; his",
invention " Sears.'s Folly," yef he x>ersevered., The second year he,made thirty bushels of
salt. The fourth year, instead of pouring water into his.vat from buckets, he introduced ,a;
hand-])\\m]). Iri 1785, at the suggestion of;Major 'Nathaniel Freeman, of Harwich, he contrived
&)wind-^\im^, which he continued to use; and which saved a vast deal of labor. In 1793 Mr.
Reuben Sears, of Harwich, invented covers fbr salt-vats, to move on shives, or small wheels,as in-ships' blocks. Five years later Mr. Hattil Kelley, of Dennis, constructed a new.kind of.
vat, and a new method of moving the. covers, "yarious,changes were made by different persons subsequently; and the riianufacture of saltfrom sea-water, by solar evaporation,'becan>e
extensive, and at times profitable.' Capt. John Sears was assisted in the iniprovenients in his Capt. William, Capt. Christojiher.Qrowell, and by Capt Edward Sears, of Dennis.
/They resigned to him whatever-claims they might have had for their aid; and in 1799 he-obtained a patient from the.government. His right was, however, disputed by others,-who
aseerted"that he made no'" new discovery." :.
-^ ..In 1802 the number of salt-works in the county of Barnstable, Massachusetts, was.lSG,- con-,
taining 121,313 feet. These works were estimated to produce, annually, salt of the value of
$"41,700. The business increased ntpidly; and in 1832 Uie number of feet of salt-works, in
the same county, was 1,425,000; the quantity of salt manufactured, 358,250 bushels: Thar^uction of the duty on the foreign article, and .other causes, produced a great change, in-thevalue of this description of property. In 1834 the nianufacture.was ruineusly depressed:;, iaa^


S: Doc. 2 ^


"^to bring in a bill to restrain the trade arid conirrierce of the pi'ovinipes
of Massachusetts Bay and New Hampshire, the colonies of Connecticut
and Rhode Island and Providence Plantation, in iJVorth America, to
.Great .Britairr, Ireland, an^d the Biitish islands in the West Indies.; and
to prohibit such provinces arid colonies frorii carrying on any fisheiy on
the Banks of Newfoundland, or other places therein- to be mentioned,^^
under certain cbriditions, and for a tinie to be limited." He supported
bis motion by declaring that, as the A-iriericanshad refused to trade-vvith.
Great Britain, it was but just that they should be deprived of the right
to trade with any other nation.. In particular, he said that the fishery
pai the Banks of Newfpundland j and the other Banks in America, was
their undoubted right, and that, therefore, such dispbsition niight be made
of them as the government pleased.
The two houses, he contiiiued,
had declared.that a rebelhori existed in Massachusetts, and that it was
just to deprive that province of its fisheries; that though a governmerit
still existed in iNew'Harnpsliire, t h e royal authprity: was weak; that a
quantit3^ bf povyder had been takeri out bf a fort there by an armed"
mob; and that, besides, the vicinity of that province to M,assaehusetts
Bay was such, that if it were not iiicruded, the purpose of the act wouldbe defeated. Rhode Island, he stated, was not in much better situatiori
than Massachusetts; that several pieces of cannon had been takeri rind
Carried into the country, and that the people were arming to aid ariy
eblony that should be attacked. With regard to Cpnnecticut, he obi&erved that a large bpdy of her men had marched into Massachusetts,
ori a report that the soldiers had killed sonie Irihabitants of Boston, and
tliat that colony was in a state of great disorder and confusion. Tb
.this he added, that the river Connecticut afforded the people of that
colony an" opportunity of carrying-/on the fisheiy, and'that the-same
might -be said pf Rhode Island;' and as the .argument pf vicinity might
be applied also to New Hampshire, the whole bught to be included in
tlie prohibition tp fish aind trade, in order that the actniighf not be defeated. But he' was willing, he said, to admit of:such alleviations of
tlie measure as would npt prove" destructive to itS' grccit object, and
would theref ire move it as onty-,temporary, and would perinitpaiticiilar persons to be excepted, on certificates from the governor of their
-good behavior, or upon their taking a test of'acknowledgment of the
rights of Parliament.
' . - ' '^
^ • ^' v ,Lprd North having concluded, a most iriterestirig and ariiriiated debate was commenced, which "was continued from time to time.until
the final passage of the bill. It was during the dI«cussIon:of this measure that Fox made his j^r^i^ great speech; and, ®as we learn from a
letter of Gibbon, the 'histolian, to Lprd Sheffield, that he '' discovPred
powers fbr regular debate which neither his friends ; hoped nor his
eneriiies dreaded."' I cannot forbear to insert a condensed view of
thb course of argument of the members of Pafllament who defendbd
and who opposed this crowning act of a.cruel and barbarous polic3^'*
ealt-works, which, for marij^' years ..^previously, ha;d.been considered valuable, as affording a eetr
tkin income, could hardly be sold at prices above the cost of the riiaterials used in constfuotiiig^ them;'

' • , ' • :

' •'

. '





' * This debate is here abridged froria the American Archives. A regard for brevity has not
avowed me, generally, to preserve yptbal accuracy; but I have 'endeavored to, give a faithful
8|^0psis of the re-marks of the respective speakerSi
, . ., .

a- D,.Qe,.: 22;.


U% .

Mr. Dumiing. opposed the bilk He thought theit the ilmerlcans had ,
a right to fish, on the Banks of Newfoundland ;; tlmt there was no re-^
bellion in Massachusetts iBay, and nothing there that could be coU'-;
strued into treason ;. that, if even there \v as a rebellibn in some parts, thpv^
whole should not be punished ; and why, he asked, punish'New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and. Connecticut? " T h e ministers," he added,,:
" were the best authors p f a receipt to wafe rebellion."
• :
IVIr. Attoriie3^ Generaf Tliurlow followed i^ reply. In his judgment
there u'6i5 a rbbelllon in Massachusetts.
Governor Johnstone said that the measure was absurd and cruel; that
the God- of nature had giventhese fisheiies tO: New. and not tb Old Engr;
iland,.,and the proposition to. starve a wiiolepeople,, except such as the;
gbvernor should think, proper to favor, was inhuman; and'that this,
partial per nils sion'would give rise to unjust preference, mbnppoly, and
all sorts of jobs. H e declared, further, that he had served in the navy
duririg the entire period of the last war, and that it was a constant ruler
in the service for the British cruisers on the enemy's coast to spare the
fishing craftf'thinking it sayage and bar bar pus to deprive the poor
fishermen of their little riieans. of llvelihobd,. and|the miserable inhabit"*,
ants of the'seacoast of their daily food.
. . .
^. Sir George Saville exposed the folly, of depriving one .province ofits.
subsistence, because rebellion, we knew not w.hefe nor by whom, is=
lurking in it; and then punishing a second prbvince because'it is riext,
door to rebellion; a,-third, because ministers would accomplish nothing.*
if a third were al ap e ; and a fourth, because otherwise, the
authors of,the scheme could not square their plan.
Sir W. Meredith supported the bill., • H e iridulgeclin terms of severereprobation, pf the spirit which continued, toi prevail in the colonies;:
arid concluded with declaring, that 'whatever distress might be oiccar-^
sioried by suspending the fisheries, the Americans would have no cause
to complain, since, the3'- had commenced the same course of conduct,
and had resolved, as far as was in their power, to ruiii Biitish merrt
chants and nqariufacturers, and to starve all the West India islands..
Lord Beauchamp and Sir .Richard Sutton defended the ministry on.
similar grounds, and because, the colpnists had prohibited trade with
tihe mpther country. •
r. - '
Mr. Burke was extremely severe in the course oPhis attack upon the .
bill, arid remarked thait the ministers had, disposed of four of their pror?:
yirices; some- for cpncealedrebeni on,-others for concealers o f t h e .
concealment;'lome for: irifection, and others for being next door toinfection. Biiit,- said he, there is a fiftii province which is as-hkely to..'suffer as any of the four, and. that province is .England, which'has seve-?
raL hundreds of thousands oiher property in the four, provinces of New '
Erigland'; and, as these can only pay their debts, b y means of tlie:
fisher:es, and the trades that depend upon, therii, the effect of the passa gppf.the bill will be to beggar the Enghshi merchants and niariufac-?.
- \
"•- Lord North's motion was, however, agreed to-—twP hundred and;
sixty one members vpting in" favor, and but eighty-fiye against it.i
. On the 2Sth of .February the bill was takeii up, and several personis
acquainted with the fisheries were examined, asi to their value, and: the.,
probable results of suspending them, Mr. David Barcley appeared tb



s. •••Doc. .22;.

conduct the Pxamination, as the-agent of the committee of North American merchants. Much useful information was elicited in the course .of
the inquiries. Mr. Brook Watson was the first witness. He stated
that he liad been called to the bar of the House in 1765 and 1766, to
give such testimony as he could with regard t:o the American, fisheiies;
since wiiich time he had received additional information from his correspondents in America, and had actually visited the country liimself.,
A considerable part of his statement relates to estimates of yessels and
men employed, and the value of the-produce of the different branches .
oi the bu.siness, which I am compelled to omit.^ As curious facts to
show commercialtraiisactions of the time, we may, however, obseive,'
that he testified that the shiprrient of braiidy from England to Canadahad entirely ceased, in consequence of the consumption of rum," made,
in New. England from molasses; arid that, so .dependent w^efe the.
polonies upon the iriother countiy, as to import " e v e i y t h i n g " they
used,. '• except salt, and the. timber of which their vessels were built."
^ The second witness'was Stephen iHigginson, "from Salem, in the
Massachusetts Bay,' a riierchant." After. Mr. Higginson, Mr. John
Lane, a New England merchant, and Mr. Seth Jerikins, from the island
of Nantucket, w^ere interrogated with great particularity and minuteness. Their.testimony as to the injury to be inflicted upon their country by the passage of the bill, was strong and definite.-. Mr. Jenklns,^ onbeing asked how long the people of New. England, who subsisted by
iishing, could live without employment, replied, "Perhaps three months/'^ •
The niinistry, I think, from several questions submittedto the witnesses, indulged the hope that, mariy fishermeri vvould emigrate from:the disaffected colonies to the more loyal province of Nova Scotia,'and
there; pursue their ayocation.- But the answers they recetyed must have
convinced therii of thpir mistake.
O n t h e 6th the consideration of thprbill was resumed.
Lord Howe insisted upon the necessity of its passage, as the onlyilioderate means of bringing the disobedient provinces to a semsP of
their duty, without involving the empire in all the horrors of a civil
^ W a r . .- '

• •







< Mr. Fox was of the opinion that the bill, was designed to put an end
to all that remained of the legislative authority of Great Britain over'
America. He .was 'quitpsatisfied, he said, that it was meant to exasperate the coloriies into open and direct rebellion; thatdiitherto, rebel- .
lion was only asserted anibiguously of one colony, but would - now become apparent and universal in all,' and thus give an opp.ortunit3'' for'
drawirig the sword and throwing away the scabbard; and that the
colonists, deprived of their means of subsistence, and of provisions, from. •
other countries, would have noi alternative left them but starvation or '
rebeUion. '
, ,
Mr. Jenkinson came to very different conclusions. The fact so
strongly stated by Mr. Fox, he remarked, impressed him with the belief
that the colonists aimed at independence from the beginning; and he'
thought the bill to be just in every respect, and even mercifulfconsiderf
ing the offences of those who were the objects of it. .
M r . T . Townsend urged the cruelty arid injustice of the measure; a
nieasure-Which made no discrimination .between, innocence and.guilt; i,

a..: Doc/. 22-:


, sit;-

which.starved all alike; and w^hich had a.tendency to fix an eternal'!
hatred of England and of Paiiiament in the minds ofthe Americans.The Solicitor General of Scotland, Mr. Henry Dundas, said the bill
had his most hearty approbation. It is justy he ,declared, because pro-!.'
voked by the most criminal dlsob.edlence; it is anerciful, because that
disobedience would have justified military execution; and as to. the
famine-which had been so pathetically, lamented, he was afraid, he said, that
it would not be produced by the act.. The people, of New England, though' deprived ofthe sea-fisheries, could still fish in their rivers; and though .
he uriderstood that the country, w a s not fit for:grain,; 3ret the colonis~ts •
..had a kind of grain of their own—^Indian .corn;—'On,which they might
subsist as w^ell, as the3^ deserved; but whether they might so subsist or
not,; was no matter that he was bound to consider. ., ' '
Lord John Cavendish expressed himself to be" shocked at the. perfect
ease and alacrity with which gentlemen voted famine to a whole people;
and he was particularly surprised at the; Ideas of.clemency, entertainecl
b3'the learned gentleman who spoke last, (Dundas.) That functionary
of the, crown had commended, the bill bepause it. was not sanguinaryyassuming that to kill by starving-is not cruelty; and that, provided a:.
man's blood be not shed, he may be destroyed with great gentleness iff
ariy otheriw'ay whatsoever. As ibr himself, he cpuld not but.regard,
the bill as alienating the Airiericans foreVer, and rendering, useless any
possible plan of reconciliation.
Mr. Rice adopted the •proposition before the House, he stated, with>:.
great.pain and reluctance. . It .was-harsh, but; harsh measures were
unfortunately necessary. H e w^as satisfied, froiri a-careful comparison;,
of all the parts ofthe proceedings of the .Airiericans with each-others.:.
that independence Was their object, i
.^' " , .
, Mr. Burke now rose and said, that.he w^as afraid any debate on"
' t h e subject was to little purpose. The. road b3^ .penitence to amend-:
ment was, .he knew, humiliating and difficult. . - ^ \ /
The greater part of mankind w^ere disposed to think like MacbetlK;/
"I'am iri blood ' , , • • . . .
, Stept in so far, that should I wade no more, '
Returning were as tedious as go o'er."

And thus they,pass toward the further bank, be the channel ever so .
wide,' or the flpod ever so dpep and ra,pid. This' measure was in the,
saiiie ,splirit as all former ones, and he did not doubt would be produc-tive <of the very same consequences. This, continued he, is in efiect
the Boston Port Bill, but upon infinitely a larger scale. Evil piinci- ,
.pies were prolific : ithe;Bostori Port Bill begot this New England bill;;,
this New England bill wfll beget a .Virginia bill; again, a 'Carolina^
bill; and that'will beget a Peiins3ivania bill, till, one by one, Paiiia^ ^
iiient will ruin all its colonies, and i;oot iup .a,ll^its commerce, and t h e .
statute-book become npthing but a black and bloody roU of prosciip-'
tion—^a frightful code of rigor and fyra.niiy—a monstrous, digest of acts,
of ^penalty, 'iricapkcit3^, and general attainder; so that, open it where.
5^ou wiill, you will find a title for, destroying spme trade, or ruining,
some, province; This act confounds all kinds of .people, all ages,
all sexes,, iri one. comnion .;.iii,in*,, Nothing can';be more, foolish, mo^-e :
cruel, and more insulting, than to hold out, as a resoiircetb the starving-•


. >a. Doc;.2s. .

fisherrnen, ship-builders, and others employed in the trade and .fish-'
€ries of New iEngland, that after the plenty bf the ocpan, they may
poke in the brooks, and rake in the puddles, and diet on what we consider as husks and draft for hogs.
. •
He averred that he w a s convinced b3^ the whole tpnor of the de-^bate, as well a s ' b y private conversation, that most of those wbo;
w^ould vote for the bill had never read it, and would support it out of
respect tO;the opitiions of others; and. he concluded v/ith expressing.
' the lippe that such, ijf any there were, would have the benefit of the
prayer made for.those who alone had done a.M act worse than this:
"Forgive them; they know not what they d o . "
The. Lord Advocate of Scotland replied, and closed the discussion^
. He charged upon those who took part with the Americans in Parlia-ri
ment and elsewhere, all the guilt and bloodshed that might come of
tlie measures of the government. H e sat down in temper; the Housa^
evInGing much-impatience. .
i The vote on the question of passing the bill to a third reading was.
then taken; two hundred and fifteen members answered aye, and)
sixty-rone no.
. . ;
On ,tbe day assigned, namely, the Sth of March, the bill wa.s put
upon its final passage. , Mr. Hartley Introduced an amendment provi--i
ding.that the colonies might transport coastwise,, and from one to the.
other, "fuel, corn, meal, flour, or other victual;" and supported his^
views iri a speech of great power.> He reviewed the dealings of Parliament with Massachusetts., and pointed out the disastrous consequencesv
that were sure to. result to the commerce and manufactures pf thc:^
mother country herself from the act before the House. .
Lord North opposed, the amendment. Mild arid courtepus iri. his.
words and bearing, he yet avowed his determination, to adhere to the
principles of the bill as thpy stood ;" and so far from relaxing from these, -.
said he, iiiiore severe measures must follow if the conduct of the COIOT'
nists rendered such further legislation
, '
Mr. Burke* again attacked the miriistry in ai speech of exceeding
warmth and.bitterness. The aict, he uttered, is not sanguinary.' No;
it'did notinean to shed blood; but,.to suit some gpntlemen's humanity,
il only meant to starve five huridred thousand people—men,' women, •
arid children at the breast. Some gentlemen had- even expressed their"
approbation of"famine in preference to fire and sword. The act not'
onty .took from these people the means of subsisting themselves by their'
own labor, but, if the amendriient proposed shpuld be rejected, woulddeprive them, also of support -by the charity ,^of their friends. The
minisfr3'reduced them to beggary first, and then took the beggar'sscrip'
fi-orntliem; nay, they even dashed.from, the mouth of hunger the mor-"
sel which the hand of-benevolence would bestow.
Lord Clare, in reply, said he-would not enter the list with the honorable gentleman who had just spoken; he should wage an unequal
war. il^ut he had in his 'hand a friend who was a match for him—hisi'
* Mr. Burke, in his.speech, subsequently, on his "resolutions for conciliation with the colo- '
mes-," March 22,, 1775, refers'to. this feiltas " the grand penal bill by which we have passed •
sentence on the trade and'sustenance of Ainerica."




' '321:

old friend-Sir Joshua Ghee, a. great firiend to America, though no
patriot; a. man who had written better bn trade than any other man
living, and w^ho knew more ol America; and Sir Joshua Ghee says,;if
ever the people of New England should aim to set up for themselves,
yve must do the very things w^e are now doing—-restrain their trade
and prohibit them from the fishery, and we shall soon bring them to
, thpir senses.
Mr. Fox renewed his opposition in terriis of lofty indignatibn.
iije was followed by Governor Pownall, who declared that he considered the measure as simply one of commercial' regulation, and that
,it should have his support.
Mr. Dundas,, a.s on a former occasion, closed the debate. Mr. Hartley's amendment was rejected by a very large majority; whereupon
the House "resolved that the bill do pass;" and that " M r . Cooper
carry the bill to the Lords and desire their concurrence.".
The subject was immediately considered in the House of Lords, and
„an early day was assigned for final action upon it. Witnesses were
examined on the 15th of March. Lord Townsend asked iM.r. Jenkins
" whether the Nantucket fishermen, after their business was interrupted
by the operation of the bill, ^youl.d not emigrate to Nova Scotia?" The
Quaker, in his plain wa.y, answered "No," as he had done when questioned in the Commons. " W h y not?" inquired his' lordship. " B e cause," said Jenkins, "it is a barren countiy, and the goyernment,
the3^ think, is military." From these and similar inquiries, made of
other witnesses, it seems quite evident that the lords, w^ho supported
the ministiy hoped, with their pohtical friends in the lower house, that
.the fishermen of New England would abandon their homes rather than
. suffer and remain idle. While they elicited riothing to encourage the
design of thus increasing the fisheries of the lo3^al colony to which
their thbughts were directed, they were told by Mr. Lyster and Mr.
Davis, who. were engaged in the Newfoundland fishery, that the fish
hitherto sent to fpreign markets from New England, could be supplied
by themselves and others. Among the other persons examined were
tw^o fornier governors of Newfoundland, Admiral Shuldham. and Sir
Hugh Palliser. The former spoke in terms of contempt and disparagemenf of Massachusetts and the other northern colonies; and the latter,
besides indulgingin similar remarks, expressed the opinion, tihat whether
the restraints the bill were temporary or perpetual, they
w^ould prove advantageous to Great Britain.:
On the 16tli of March the bill was taken up .as the order of the day
. The debate upon its merits and consequences was long and animated.
The Marquis of Rockingham opposed it as oppressive and tyrannical
throughout, and said that he; dissented .from every S3ilable of its contents. The Earl of Carlisle exj)ressed himself surprised at the sentiments ofthe noble marquis, and averred that the object ofthe ministry
. was merely to drawAmericatoher duty by the most lenient measures..
The Dtike of Manchester spoke of the bill as indiscriminately cruel, aspresaging ^ nothing but evil, and as bearing the marks of despotism,.
The lEaii of Denbigh defended the administration from the charges,
preferred against it, and called upon his Grace of Manchester to ex^
plain, which he did. Viscount Dudley observed that when the inter- • ..- 21
- . .


S . Doc. 22;

ests of the mother country—the manning of her navy, the iricr.ease of
her seamen, and the eniplo3mieiit of her own people—came in compe-.
tition with the pretended hardships and severities of the bill, he
thought it should not only meet with approbation, but be made perpetual, in order to secure for her so important a branch of commerce;
and that the colonies were at present spared by the lenity and mildness
of the government, when fire and sword might be used throughout the
whole continent of America. Lord Camden rose, he said, with reluctance. He was wearied with the fruitless efforts he had made in opposition to the measures brought forward to overaw^e and subdue the
colonies. The bill then befbre them was one of war; it drew the
sword, and, as a necessary consequence, would involve the empire in
a civil and unnatural contest. Lord Sandwich declared that the colonists w^ere raw, undisciplined, cowardly men; and he wished that, instead of forty or fifty thousand of these brave fellows, they would produce, in the field at least two hundred thousand—the more the better ;
the easier the conquest: if they did not run away, they would starve
themselves into compliance with the measures of the administration.
The Earl of Shelburne coincided with the views expressed by Lord
Camden; and he charged upon the ministers the most unscrupulous
fraud upon Parliament and the country in suppressing whole letters,-.
and in giving only mutilated extracts from othe/s, relating to affairs in^
America. The iEarl of Suffolk, though he disapproved of the insinuations against the courage of the Americans made by Lord Sandwich,
and though he believed that there were as brave men among them as
could be found anywhere, considered that the bill was intended to coerce the people of New England to submit merely to the just and legal
power of the mother countiy, and that the faith of Paiiiament would
be pledged to them to restore the fishery as soon as it should appear .
that they had returned to their former obedience. The Earl of Radnor
said that he was going out ofthe House, not intending to vote on either
side, when he heard the last noble earl pledge the faith of Parhament that so valuable a branch of British commerce was intended to
be given u p t o the New Englanders as a sacrifice for their returning to
their duty; the language was improper, and the policy exceptionable
in every respect, and he had returned to give his voice against the bill.
The Earl of Suffolk explained, but did not satisfy. Lord Radnor, who
repeated his determination to vote in opposition. The Duke of Grafton
had not the least difficulty as' to the vote he should give. The bill, in
his opinion, was founded on the principle of retaliation and punishment
for an outrage as daring as it was unprpvoked, still further heightenecl
and aggravated by a resistance to all lawful authority, and almost a,
positive avowal of a total independence of the mother countiy. The
Earl of Abington entertained sentiments precisely opposite. Reason,
justice, conscience, principle, and instinct, all prompted him to pronounce the bill a most diabolic one. How the iRIght Reverend Bench
reconciled it to their consciences, he was unable to conceive: for his
part, he put his trust in the Almighty; and thbugh he knew all he could
say. would avail nothing against a ministerial majority, yet he cautioned
the lords to beware of injustice, since the judicial visitations of Providence generally fell heavy on the heads of those who planned iniquity.

S. Doc. 22.


The finail question was taken in the House of Lords on the 21st of
March, when the bill passed by a decisive majority. The peers in
minority^—twenty-one iri number orily—entered a solemn protest, emifodying the objections they had uttered in the debates. This document is one ofthe most earnest and eloquent state papers on record. A
single passage will indicate its general tone: " W e dissent," said these
noblemen, "because the attempt to coerce, by famine, the whole body
of the inhabitants of great and populous provinces, is without example
in the history of this or, perhaps, pf any civilized nation, and is one of
those unhappy Inventions .to which Parliament is driven b y t h e difficulties which daily multiply upon us from an obstinate adherence to an
unwise plan of government. W e do not know exactly the extent of
the combination a.gainst our commerce in New England and the other
colonies; but we do know the extent of the punishment we inflict upon
it, which is universal, and includes all the inhabitants: among these,
^maiiy are admitted to be innocent, and severalare alleged by ministers
to be, in their sense, even irieritoiious. That governnient which attempts to preserve its authority by destroying the trade of its subjects,
and by Involving the innocenf and guilty in a cpmmon ruin, if it acts
from a choice of such means, confesses itself unworthy; if from inability
to find any other, admits itself wholly incompetent to the ends of its
• Having destroyed the fisheries of New England, Lord North, on the
,11th of April, moved that the House of Commons do resolve itself into
a committee of the whole house, on the 27th instant, to consider the
encouragement proper to be given to the fisheries of Great Britain and
Ireland. He introduced his motion with disclaiming any motives of
resentment against Anierica, by the present measure, or meaning it
either directly, or indirectly to oppress that country. The fisheries, hi
his judgment, when well conducted and properly directed, were an inexhaustible fund of riches; for, while they extended British commerce
and kept open a continual advantageous intercourse with foreign na^
tions, they increased the naval strength of the kingdom, and were, cpnsequently, the great source of that power which gave It the pre-eminence over all other nations of Europe. Such was the tenor of his
. On the day proposed by his lordship, the House considered the subject, in the manner suggested. A bill was framed which granted boun}. .^ Botta, in his History of the Revolution, thus speaks ofthis measure: •" The ?ninistry," he
remarks, " thus guided, as usual, by their spirit of infatuation, confided their cause, not
to the certain operation of. armies, but to the supposed inconstancy and partiality of the
'Anierican people. Upon such a foundation-Lord North proposed a new bill, the object of
which was to restrict the cemmerce of New England to Great Britain, Ireland, and the West
. India islarids; and prohibit, at the same time, the fishery of Newfoundland. The prejudie'e
that must have resulted from this act to the inhabitants of New England may be calculate.d,
from the single fact, that they annually employed in this busiriess about forty-six thousand tons,
and six thousand seamen; andthe produce realized from it, in foreign markets, amounted to
^ three hundred and twenty thousand pounds sterhng. This bill, however, did not pass without
opposition m the two houses; on the contrary, the debates and the agitation it excited were
vehement in both. Many of the members exerted all their efforts to defeat it; and more than
any the Marquis of Rockingham, who presented to this end a petition of the London merchants. The bill was, however, approved by a great majority. The opposition protested; the
ministers scarcely deigned to perceive it," &c., &c.


S. Doc. .22. .

ties to vessels emplo3'ed in the cod arid w^hale fisheries, repealed the
duty payable on the imp>ortatioii of seal-skins, and abolished some other
restrictions, particularly in Ireland; passed the Commons on the 17th
of May, and the Lords five days afterwards. That this act was de^
vised in consequence of the suspension and ruin of the New England
fisheiies, and asthe means to stimulate English merchants and fishermen to suppty the domestic and foreign markets,-cannot be doubted.
^ To retaliate upon the ministry, the colonies, by their congress of delegates,, stiictly prohibited the supplying of Biitish.ves.sels coming tothe
American coasts to engage in fishing, with any kind of prpvisions or
^ • . "
I have said that the object of Lord North's bill to restrain Massachusetts,, New Hampshire, Connecticut and .Rhode Island, from carr3ing onany fishery on the Banks of New^foundland, and other places,
was to '.'starve them into submission." The sentiments uttered in
Parliament, and the facts derived from other sources,-show this too.
plainly to be mistaken. Nor was the opinion that the people of these
colonies, deprived of their most important maritime emplo3aiient, would
yield to the blow, confined to British statesinen. Reference to the letter
of Silas Deane tb the " Secret i Committee of Congress," dated at
Paris, in July, 1776, will show that the French ministry, of w^hom he'
solicited aid, in his public capacit3^ were impressed witih the Idea that
"submission" w^as not an improbable result. Mr. Deane, in this letter,
deta.ils at some length the occurrences of an interview with Count de
Vergennes, the Principal Minister of State, and says, in the course of
the narrative: " H e asked me many questions with respect to the colonies; but what he seemed most to want to be assured of, was their, ability io
subsist without their fisheries, and under the interruption of their cpnir
merce. To this I replied, that the.fisheiies .were never carried on but
by a part of the cplonies, and by them not so much as a means of subsistence as of commerce; that the fisheiies failing, those employed in
them turned,part to agriculture and,a part to the army and iiay3?'." ,'
Rejoicing now in our strength and prosperity, we can affbrd to smile
at the inhumanity ..and cool cont;empt manifested in Parliament by Jenkinson and Dundas, by their fordships Dudley and Sandwich, and his
Grace of Grafton. And since, too, the untiring labors of Mr. Sparks
have explained the enigma of Lord North's course on American affairs,
•we ma3/; qualify our reproaches upon his menioiy. * The oppressors
and the oppressed have disappeared, and repose in the grave; but the
warning.may still go out for some living men to heed, that to drive
•fishermen from the ocean is an
''The "Extracts from the letters of George the Third to'Lord North, selected by Lord .
•Holland from the manuscripts of Sir James Macintosh," which are to be found in the Ap. pendix. of the sixth volume of Sparks's Washington, show that the popular opinion, that Lord
, North was the author of the war and its constant advocate, is wholly erroneous.

S. Doc. 22.



From the Declaration qf Independence to the year 1852.
W e open upon a new era. Every fact and circumstance known to
the whigs of the Revolution Indicated that, at the close of the contest,
Engiancl was prepared to insist that, as one'of the penalties of "rebellion," the interdictions of Lord North's bill should be perpetual. W^
had fought for, had won,,and had enjoyed the fishing grounds as British
subjects. As these grounds were east of the easterly boundary of the
thirteen colonies, and within the possessions acquired of France, they
were not of necessity connected with the question of independence.
Yet many ofthe prominent whigs of New England considered the,fish-;
eries so intimately connected with Pur commercial prosperity and success in maritime affairs, as to determine that our rights should be dis-'
tinctly recognised and stipulated in the treaty of peace.
Though-finally successful, these statesinen were doomed to encounter
serious obstacles; for, to alloAV that their suspicion that France secretly
gave countenance to the. views of England w^as unfounded, they were
still opposed by the representations and influence of the leading'loyalists, or "tories," who, during the war, fled to the mother country; and
were compelled, besides, to meet the arguments of the whigs of the
South, who having no particular knowledge of, or interest in, the subject, were never able to understand the importance attached to it.
Having stated, in another connexion, that ^ p l a n was submitted to
the French court, previous to the treaty of alliance of 1778, to conquer
Newfoundland, Canada, and Nova Scotia, with the design of dividing
these colonies between France and the United States, and thus, as the
projectors considered, to ruin the British fisheiies, and, of direct consequence, trie British marine, and that the nieasure w-as submitted to
Washington, was disapproved by him, and finally abandoned, we pass
to notice the .course of Congress, and of their ministers abroad, subsequentty, and to the conclusion of the treat3^ with Great Britain in 1783,'
by which our independence was secured and acknowledged.
Whoever examines the records of Congress will fiiid that betweeri
February and August, 1779, the various questions connected with the
fisheries were matters of the most earnest and continued debates, and
of the most anxious solicitude. During the discussions upon a proposition to open a negotiation for peace, Mr., Gerry introduced the following resolutions. First: " T h a t it is essential to the welfare of these
United States that the inhabitants thereof, ^at the expiration ofthe war,
should continue to enjoy the free and undisturbed exercise of their common right to fish on the Banks of Newfoundland, and the other fishing
banks and seas of North America, preserving inviolate the treaties
between France and the said vStates." Second: " T h a t an explanatory article be prepared and sent to our minister plenipotentiary at the
court of Versaflies, to be by him presented tohis Christian ii\iaje.sty,
whereby the said common right to the fisheries shaU be more explicitly
guarantied to the inhabitants of these,. States than it already is by the
Creaties aforesaid." Third: " T h a t in the treaty of peace with Great


S. Doc. 22.

Britain, a stipulation be made on their part not to disturb the inhabitants of these States In the free exercise of their common right to the
fisheries aforesaid, and that a reciprocal engagement be made on the
piart of the United State's." Fourth: " T h a t the faith of Congress be
pledged to the several States, that, without their unanimous consent,
no treaty of commerce shall be formed with Grprit Britain previous to
such stipulation." Fifth: " T h a t if the explanatory article should not
be ratified by his Most Christian Majesty, nor the stipulation aforesaid
be adopted by Great Britain, the minister conducting the business shall
give notice thereof to Congress, and not sign any treaty of peace until
their pleasure be known. "
The opposition. to these resolutions was determined and violent in
the extreme. Those who enlisted against them insisted that it was
unreasonable and absurd to ask or expect that a war commenced for
freedom, should be continued for the humble privilege of catching fislic
Mr. Gerry, who had grown up ampng the fishermen of Massachusetts,
replied: " I t is not so iriuch fishing," said h e , " a s enterprise, industry,
employment. It is not fish merely which gentlemen sneer at; it is
gold, the produce of that avocation. It is the employment of thosp
who would otherwise be idle, the food of those who would otherwise
be hungry, the wealth of those who would otherwise be poor, that
depend on your putting these resolutions into the instructions of your
„ The majority of Congress sustained Mr. Gerry's propositions, in fifteen
.divisions on calls of the ayes and noes, and rejected numerous aiiiendrrients offered to modif^jj^them; but consented, .finally, to the adoption
ofthe single declaration, that "although it is of the utmost importance
to the peace and commerce of the United States that Canada and Nova
Scotia should be ceded, and more particularly that their equal common
right to the fisheiies should be guarantied to. them, yet, a desire of
termiriating the war has induced us not to make the acquisition of these
' objects an ultimatum on the present occasion."
. This declaration appears to have been the result of concession and
compromise; since^ Mr. Adams was instructed, in September, 1779,
first, "that the common right of fishing should in no case be given
u p ; " second, " t h a t it is essential to the welfare of all these United
States that the inhabitants thereof, at the expiration of the war, should
' continue to enjoy the free and undisturbed exercise of their common
right to fish on the Banks of Newfoundland, and all the other fishingbanks and seas of North America, preserving inviolate the treaties between France and the said States;" third, "that our faith be pledged
to the several States that without their unanimous consent no treaty of
commerce shall be entered into, nor any trade or commerce whatever
carried on with Great Britain, without the explicit stipulation hereinafter mentioned. You are, thereforp, not to consent to any treaty of
comnierce with Great Britain without an explicit stipulation, on her
part, not to molest or disturb the inhabitants of the United States of
America in taking fish on the Banks of Newfoundland, and other fish- .
eries in the American seas, anywhere, except within the. distance of
three leagues of the shores ofthe territories remaining to Great Britain
at the close ofthe war, if a nearer distance cannot be obtained by ne

S. Doc. 22.


gotiation. And iri the negotiation you are to exert your most strenuous
endeavors to obtain a nearer distance in the Gulf of St. Lawrence,
arid particuiarly a.long the shores of Nova Scotia; as to which latter,
.we are desirous that even the shores may be occasionally used for the
purpose of carrying on the fisheries by the inhabitants of these States."
These instructiosis—tediously minute and encumbered with repetitions—embody, as will be seen, the substance, of Mr. Gerry's resolu.tioiis, with this essential difference—that the right to visit and freely
use the fishing grounds was to be made an ultimatum to a treaty of
commerce instead of a treaty bf peace. Strangely enough, these instructions were revoked by Congress in .Tuty, 1781, though adopted
after mature deliberation and in the spirit of concession. Whatever "
the motiye of Congress, it was not communicated to Mr. Adams b y
that body, or by the Committee on Foreign Affairs, or by any individual
member. Ofthis he complains with some asperity. In a letter to
Robert R. Livingston he states the fact just mentioned, and,remarks,
that whether the act of neglect " w a s intended as a punishment to me,
©r with a charitable design not to lead me into temptation; whether it
was inteiided as a punishment to the English for their insolence and
barbarity; whether it was intended to prevent or remove suspicions of,
allies, or the envy and green jealousy of co-patriots, I know not." That,
then, we finalty secured the rights in question, was owing to the zeal
of Mr. Adains and his associate commissioners, and not to the firmness
OJ good faith of Congress.
Meantime, a number of pamphlets^, WTltten by lo3^a.lists of distinction
and devoted to American affairs, were published in London. Iri one
pf these it is said that "with the independence of America" Great
. Britain "m.ust give up her fisheries on the Bank of Newfoundland, and
in tlie American seas," and "thirty-five thousand American seamen,
with twenty-eight thousand more, bred and maintained in these excellent nurseries;" that, furthermore, "the valuable trade carried on
from thence with the Catholic States will be I n t h e hands of America;"
that "these nurseries and this trade will ever remain the natural right
bf the people who inhabit that country;" and that " a trade so profitable, and a nursery of seameii so excellent and so necessary for the
. support of her naval force, will never be given up, or divided by
America with any power whatsoever." Meantime, too, the celebrated Dean of Gloucester submitted proposals " t o the English,
Americans, French, and Spaniards, now at war," on the subject of
their differences, suggesting, upon the subject before us, that "Great
, Britain shall retain Newfoundland, with the desert coasts of Labrador;
•also Canada, Nova Scotia, and the couritry bordering on the Bay of
Fundy," westerty, " a s far as the bay and river of Penobscot."
Mr. Adams was appointed sole commissioner to negotiate with Great'
. Britain, and entered alone upon the' arduous duties intrusted to him.
Messrs. Franklin, Ja3S and Laurens were, how^ever, subsequently designated joint commissioners, and in due time joined him in France. In
1782, a letter of Barbe de IViarboIs, the French charge d'affaires in the
IJnited States,.addressed to Count de Vergennes, the Principal Minister
©f State, was intercepted. The contents of this letter caused great
. iineasiriess. Marbois represented that Samuel Adams was stirring up


S. Doc. 22;

the people of Massachusetts to consent to no treaty of peace which did
not guaranty to them the right of ree fishing upon their ancient fishing
grounds; that the reigning- toast among these people was, " M a y the
United States ener maintain their rights to the fisheries f ^ t h s t the public
prints in -Massachusetts discussed, the importance of adhering to the
sentiment; and that the general court of that State, in the course of
their deliberations, gave fi-equent utterance to the popular voice. These
representations were substantially true, and Marbois committed no wrong
in communicating them to his court.' But he did not stop here, fbr he.
suggested means to defeat the-expectations ofthe eastern States; to disappoint "Samuel Adams and his party," and to secure the fisheries to his
' own country. This communication was dated at Philadelphia in March,
and iri September following was in the hands of tlie American commissioners at Paris.
Mr. J a y expressed the opinion that M. de Marbois disclosed the real
wishes of his government upon the subject of the-fisheries; and Mr. Madison remarks, that upon receipt of letters from Franklin and others, there
was "much indignation against the author ofthe intercepted"' despatchj
" and visible emotions in. some a.gainst France." Mr.,Adams wrote to
Robert R.-Livingston,fi^omParis, November 8,1782, that, " I f Congress
or their ministers abroad suffer themselves to he intimidated by threats,
slanders, or insinuations, we shall be duped out of the fishery, the Mississippi, much of the western lands, compensation to the tories, and
Penobscot at least, .if not Kennebec. This," he adds, " i s my solemn
opinion, and I wilt not be answerable to my country, posterity, or m y
ovv^n mind, for the consequences that might happen from concealing it."
The suspicion that France was secretly promoting, the views of England increased as the negotiation progressed. " W e knew," said Mr,
Adams, that the French niinistry "were often insinuating to the Biitish
ministers things against us, respecting the fisheries, tories, &c., during
the negotiation, and Mr. Fitzherbert*^ told me that the Count de Vergennes had ' fifty times reproached him for ceding the fisheries, and
saidit was ruining the English and French commerce both.' " Agaiii^
he records in his journal that Mr. Jaiy had informed him "that our allies
did not play fiiir. They were endeavoring to deprive us of the fishery,
the western lands, and the navigation of the Mississippi. They would
even bargciin with the English to deprive us of them/'^
Mr. J a y himself relates that he "dined with Dr. Franklin, and found
Mr. Rayneval there." ^ * *' Rayneval"askedwhat we expected as
to the fisheries ? We said, the same right we had formerly enjoyedo
H e contested the propriety of the demand, adding some strictures on the
ambition and restlessness of Mr. Adams, and intimated tliat^ we might be• cmitented with the coast fisheiy. This coincidence between the language ofthe confidential secretaiy of Count Yergerines,*' continues Mr»
Ja3^, " a n d that of the French charge d'affaires at Philadelphia, (M. de
Marbois,) in relation to the fisheries-and the conduct of Samuel Adams,
is of itself a strong evidence of the real views of the French cabinet.''-'The American commissioners were probably mistaken. Whatever
their impressions relative to the course of the French court, evidence in'

'* One of the British eommlssioners.



S;-Doc. ^2-

- 329

the public archives Is wanting to show thafDe Marbois "disclosed the
real wishes pf his government;" that Mr. Fitzherbert was justified in
his declarations to iS'Ir. Adams; or that M. Rayneval uttered the sentiments of his principal. Yet our commissioners, embarrassed on every
hand, were driven to the expedient of disobeying the directions of Congress, as to concluding peace without the consent of their alty, and of
proceeding upon their own responsibility. The relative merits of these
distinguished meri, in securing the rights in question, has been a matter
of some discussion; and Franklin has been charged opeiily and frequently with criminal lukewarmness. Mr. Jay, expressly and by letter,
. relieves the philosopher from this imputation, and commends his zeal;
and I am satisfied that whoever examines the facts ofthe case will find
no ground for t h e accusation. All did- their duty, and the whole of it."
And 3^et, upon Mr. Adams, as a resident of Massachusetts, and as better
acquainted with the importance of the, fisheiies thari his associates, the
principal labor of meeting the British arguments appears tb have devolved. I can in truth imagine rio bolder line of conduct than he
^adopted; and to condense his prriicipal observations, as preserved by
himself in'his journal, wilf be sufficient to show the difficulties that
were actually overcome'during the negotiations.
In noting a conference with the British cpmmissioners, he says that
"the affair of the fisheiy was somewhat altered. They could not
admit us to dry on the shores of Nova Scotia, nor to fish within three
leagues of the coast of Cape Breton. ~ I could not help observing that
these ideas a-ppeared to me to come f)i]^ing-hot fro7n Versailles.^^ ,
On another occasion, and wiieii a "whole da.y had been spent in discussions about the fishery arid-the tories," and in reply to a*proposition •
from the opposing mission, to leave out of the treaty the word "right,^^
and insert, instead thereof, the term " liberty,^^ he rose, and in the direct
and vehement manrier which characterized him through life, thus spoke:
" Gentlemen, is there, or can there be, a clearer right ? In former treaties,'
thatof Utrecht and that of Paris, France and England have claimed the
right, and used the ivoj^d. When God Almighty made the Banks of Newfoundland at three hundred leagues distance from the people of America,
and six hundred leagues from those of France and England, did he not
•give as good-a light to the former as to the latter? If iHeaven in the creation gave a right, it is ours at least as much as yours. If occupation, use,
and possession give a right, we have it as clearty as you. I f war, and blood,'
and treasure, give a right, ours is as good cis yours. We,'''* continued he, in
the same eloquent strain, " have constantly been fighting in Canada, Cape
Breton, and Nova Scotia, for the defence^ of this fishery, and have expended,
beyond all proportion, more than you. If, then, the right canriot be denied^
why should it not be acknowledged and put out of dispute? W h y
should we leave room for illiterate fishermen to wrangle and chicane?"
Mr. Fitzherbert, a niember of the British commission, eorifessed that
the reasons of Mr. Adams were good. " T h e argument," said lie, "is
in your favor; but Oswald's instructioris are such, that I dP not see
how. he can agree with us." Nor was there an agreement, until Mr.
Adams pushed the "argument" to the point pf an ultimatum. Finding
that if the treaty contained any provision on the subject, it must be in
the form presented by our commission,- the Biitish mission endeavored '


S. Doc. ?2.

to waive the point altogether in the provlsiorial, and leave the question
to be adjusted in the definitive treaty that was to follow. To this Mr.
Adams would not listen. He stood on ground from whicli he could
not be driven by any device or evasion of diploiiiac37'; and he emphatically declared, " I will never put my hand to amj articles without satisfaction about the fishery." " W h e n Congress," he added, "three or
four years ago, did me the honor to give me a commission to make a
treaty of commerce with Great Britain, they gave me positive instructions not to make such a treaty without an article acknowledging our
right to the fishery; and I am happy that Mr. Laurens is now present,
who, I believe, was in Congress at the time, and must remember it."
Mr. Laurens confirmed the statement; and Mr. Jay followed with the
remark, that "it could not be a peace—it would only be an insidious
truce," without the stipulations contended for; and thus the rigA^, so
courageously maintained, was acknowledged in the third article of the
treaty, and in the following ternis:
. " I t is agreed that the people of the United States shall continue to
enjoy, unmolested, the right to take fish of every kind on the Grand
iBank, arid 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 liberty to take fish of
every kind on such part ofthe coast of Newfoundland as British fishernien shall use, (but not to dry or cure the same on that island,) and also
on the coasts,3 bays, and creeks, of all other of his Britannic Majesty's
dominions in Anierica; and that the American fishermen shall have
. liberty to dfy 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 fbr
^ that purpose with the inhabitants, proprietors, or possessors of the
The privileges thus conceded were ample; since, with regard to
catching fish, all were continued to us that we could or should have enjoyed had we remained colonists; while, in drying and curing we were
not injuriously restricted.
It has been remarked that the Ameiican commissioners were instructed to conclude no treaty with Great Britain without the concurrence of France, and that they disobeyed the injunction. Such, indeed,
is the fact. IVtr. Adams, communicating officially with Mr. Livingston,
says. that obedience "would have infallibly prevented the whole
peace." The Count de Vergennes complained ofthe course of the
mission in words which show deep sensibility. " I am at a loss, sir,"
he wrote to Frankhn, "to explain your conduct, and that of your colleagues, on this occasion. You have concluded 3'our preliminary
articles without any communication between us, although the instructions from Congress prescribe that nothing shall be done without the
participation of the King. You are about to hold out a certain hope
oi peace to America, without even informing yourself on the state of
the riegotiatipn on our part. You are wise and discreet, sk; 3''0u per

S. Doc. 22.


fectly understand what is due to propriety; you have all your life performed your duties. I pray you to consider how you propose to fulfil
those which are due to the King."
The policy, of England towards t h e people " w h o assumed an indepeiidenc3^ which separated them from her sovereignty" was soon developed. An order in council was promulgated by proclamation in July,
.1783, prohibiting Anierican fish from being carried to the British West
Indies. This order was regarded as the result of loyalist or " t o r y "
influence. It was prpbably so, and was not only aimed at our fisheries, but intended to encourage those of Nova Scotia and other British
possessions north and east of the United States. An extensive trade
was thus destroj'^ed. While colonies, the New England States had
bartered their " W e s t India fish" for sugar, rum, and molasses, with
the planters ofthe British islands, with profit to all parties. Congress
declared that retaliatory measures were necessary, in order that American, commerce should not pass into the hands of foreigners; and asked
to be invested with powers from the States to provide for the exigenc3%
But no adequate authority was or could be conferred upon the confederacy. The restrictive policy thus commenced was long continued;
nor was the vexed question of our commercial relations with the possessions of England in this hemisphere adjusted for neaiiy half a century.
We pass to notice the proceedings of the convention that framed the
constitution of the United States. Those relating tp our subject, though
transmitted in mere allusions, are still significant and important.
, Thus upon the proposition that "no treaty shall be made without the
consent of two-thirds ofthe members present," and upon Mr. Madison's
suggestion to " except treaties of peace," Mr. Gerry was of the opinion
that in such treaties a greater, rather than a less, proportion of votes
should be required, for the reason that, in terminating ^hostilities, our
" dearest interests will be at stake, asthe fisheries, territories,'*'* &fc. So, too,
Mr. Gouverneur Morris* expressed the sentiment,that " if two-thirds of
the Senate should be required for peace, the legislature will be unjvllliiig to make one for that reason, on account of the fisheries or the Mississippi—the two great objects ofthe Union.'''*
. The records of the discussions in the conventions of the different
States for the adoption or rejection of the constitution are less fragmentary. In that of South Carolina, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, in
reply to some ill-natured remarks against New England, generously said
that, in the Revolution," the eastern States had lost every thing but their
country and freedom;" that " i t w a s notorious that some ports at the
eastward which used to fit out one hundred and fifty sail of vessels do
not now fit out thirty ; that their trade of ship-building, which used to
be very considerable, was now annihilated ; that their fisheries were
trifling, and their mariners in want of bread.;" and that the South were
^ Hon. Gouverneur Morris was a son of Lewis MorriSj one of the signers of the Declaration of
Independence. He was a member of the Continental Congress, and of the convention which
framed the constitution of the United States. In Washington's administration he was minister
to France. He died at Morrisania, New York, m 1816, aged 64. He possessed the confidence
of Washmgton.


S. -Doc.'22.-


" called upbn by every tie bf justice, friendship, and humariity, to relieve
their distresses."
In the convention of Virginia Mr. Grayson affirmed that " it is luell
known that the Neufoundland fisheries'a,nd the Mississippi are balances for
one another; that tlie possession of one tends to the preservation of the
other. This," he continued, " accounts fbr the eastern policy. They
.thought that if the Mississippi was given up, the southern States would
give up the right of the fi.siheiy, on which their, very existence, depends.
i t is riot extraordiriary, therefore, while these great rights of the fishery
, depend on such a variety of circumstances^—the issue of the war, the
success of riegotiation, and numerous other causes^that they should
wish to preserve this great counterbalance." Patrick Henry, in dissenting from these views, and in repty, exclaimed: " But, said the
honorable gentleman, the eastern States will wish their fish-ery, and will therefore favor the right to the Mississippi. How does
he draw the inference? Is it possible that they can act on that principle? The principle that led the southern States to admit f?f the cession
was, to avoid the most dreadful perils of war. But their difficulties are
how ended by ppace. Is there aiything like this that can influence
the minds of the people of the North? Since the peace, those States
have discovered a determined resolution to give away the Mississippi,
to discburage emigration thither."
In the Ponvention of Massachusetts, one member observed, that
as the different members of the confederacy regulated their cbmmerce
at pleasure, and did not even protect the coasting trade of the countiy,
" a vessel from Rosaway or Halifax found as hearty a welcome, with
its fish and whalebone, at the southern ports, as .though it was built,
navigated, and freighted from Salem or iBoston;" and that "this w^ould
continue to be the case, unless a more perfect union of the States was
formed:" while a second member remarked, that abroad we w-ere held
in contempt,.fbr since the war we had been engaged In "commerce
with six different naitions of the globe, and-if he niight believe good,
honest, credible men," our position with them was like that of " a well- '
behaved negro in a gentleman's family."
The sentiments thus uttered—north and south—indicate the feelings
of eminent statesmen of the time, as well as reveal t o n s some of the
arguments in favor of the adoption ofthe constitution; and serve, moreover, tb show^ that the bi^anch of iridustry at present so fallen in public
estimation was continually referred to by our fathers in connexion
"with, and as^equlvalent to, "^the Mississippi," or.<.the western country.
Pursuing our inquiries in chronological order, we are led now to cite
the opinions ofthe founders ofthe present national government, as preserved in the debates ill the 1st Congress. Our quotations must be
confined to the discussions which occurred during the first session, and
upon the bill to levy "duties on imports." The pure and highly gifted
Fisher Ames thus spoke: * '
* The Hon. Fisher Ames was born in Dedham, Massachusetts, in 1758, and was educated at
Harvard University. In the Revolution he was a zealous whig. He was a member of the'
convention of Massachusetts which considered and adopted the constitution of the United
States, and was elected the first representative to Congress from Boston. He occupied a' ^
seat iu the House for eight years, and was a principal speaker in the debates on every import^

S: Doc. ,;22.-


" W e exchange for molasses those fish that it is impossible to dispose
of a n y w h e r e e l s e ; w e have no m a r k e t within our r e a c h but the islands
from whence w e get molasses in return, w h i c h again w e manufacture into
rum. It is scarcety possible to maintain, our fisheries w i t h advantage,
if the commerce for summer is injured, which 1 conceive it would
b e very materialty, if a high duty is imposed upon this article ;^ n a y , it
would c a r r y devastation throughout all the iNew Eiigland S t a t e s : it ^
w^ould ultimately affect a.ll throughout the Unfon. ^'
taking'of fish on the iBanks Is a ver3r mPmentous concern; it forms a;
nursery for seamen, a n d this, will be the source from, w h i c h w e are t o
derive maritime importance.
I t is the policy of sonfe nations to drive
us from this.prolific source of w e a l t h and s t r e n g t h ; b u t w h a t their de-testable efforts h a v e in vain endeavored to do, you will acccomplish b y
a high d u t y on this, article."
Again h e said: " I conceive, sir,, that the present constitution was dictated
by commercial necessity ^more than amy other cause. The want of an eficient
government to secure the manufacturing- interests, and to advance our commerce, was lono; seen by men of judgment^ and, pointed out by patriots solicitous to ^promote the general loefare. If the d u t y w h i c h w e contend
agaiirst is fourid to defeat t h e s e objects, I am convinced the representat:i.ves of the people will give it u p . I trust that gentlemen are well
satisfied that the s u p p o r t of our agriculture, manufactures, navigation
and fisheries,.are objects of v e r y great moment.
When gentlemen contemplate the fishery, they admit its importance, a n d ' t h e necessity ice a r e
under of encouraging and protecting it, especially if they consider its eleclin- •.
.ing situation; that it is excluded from those advantages which it formerly
.obtained in British ports, and.participates but in a small degree of the ben-,
efits arising from our European allies, ivhose markets are visited under severerestrictions: yet, with all these cLiscouragements, it maintains an extent which
entitles it to the fostering care of government.'*'' '* * '* * * *, " I n
short, unless some extraordinary measures are taken to support our fisheries,
I do not see. what is to prerent their inevitable- ruin. I t is a fact, that
near one-third of our fishermen a/re taken from their profession—-not f o r
leant of,skill and abilities in the art, for here they tctlce the rank of every
nation on earth-r-hnt from the local, chilling policy of foreign nations,,
wiio shut us out frpm the avenues to market. If, instead of protection
from the Q:overmnent, ive extend to them oppression, I shudder f o r the conscr
• quences/' Stilf further: " I f is supposed t h a t the fishermen must b e
poor, if they are not able to bear the tax proposed. I contend they are.
very poor: they are in a sinking state; they carry on the business in despair.
B u t gentlemen will cisk us, ' Why, then, do they hot quit the profession?'*
I answer, in the words that are often used in the eastern country respecting
the inhabitants of Cape Cod—they are too poor to live there, and are too
jjoor to remove/' T h e remarkable coincidence, in m a n y particukirs,
b e t w e e n 1789 and 1852, as. indicated in the passages w h i c h it have
p l a c e d in italics, cannot escape the attention of persons acquainted
with the subject.
ant question. His speech on the British treaty in 1794 was his greatest effbrt..'^ Eminent
alike for Iris talents and his purity of character, he was an ornamesrit to his country, He died












S. Doc. 22.

To omit the statements and argurrients of Mr. Goodhue and of Mr.
Thacher, who participated in the debate, aiid sustained the main positions of Mr. Ames, we will refer, in conclusion, to the declarations of
Mr. Gerry.* " A t a time when the policy of every country," said
he, " i s pointed against lis, to 'suppress our success in the fisheries,
when it is with extreme difficulty that it continues its existence, shall
w^e lay burdens upon it.which itis unable to support? If this important interest is injured, it will not onty destroy the competition with foreigners, but will induce the people to sell their property in the United States .
and remove to Nova Scotia, or some other place, where they ccin prosecute
their business under thc protection ofgovernment."*[' * * * * " I will not .
reiterate the arguments respecting the fisheries : It Is well known to be
the best nursery for seamen ; the United States have no other ; and it
never can be the intention of gentlemen to leave the navigation of the
Union to the mercy of foreign powers. It is pf necessity, then, that we
lay the foundation of our maritime importance as soon as may be, and
this can be done only by encouraging our fisheries. It is well known
that we have a number of rivals in this business, desirous of excluding
us from the fishing banks altogether. This consideration of itself is
sufficient to induce a wise legislation to extend every encouragement
to so important a concern."
Congress were not unmindful of these representations and appeals.
An act was passed In 1789, which allowed a bbunty of five cents per
quintal on dried, and the same sum per barrel on pickled fish exported
from, and imposed a duty of fifty cents the quintal and of seventy-five
cents the barrel on foreign fish imported into, the United States. . The
system of protection, of bounties, and allowances, is as old, therefore, as
the government itself, and was devised-and adopted by the statesmen
of the Revolution.
In .1790, Washington, in his speech .to Congress, remarked that " our
fisheries and the transportation pf our own produce offer us abundant
means fbr guarding ourselves against" the evil of depending upon foreign
vessels. The Senate waited upon tlie'PresIdent and the Vice President
with an address. Among its. topics we find the following: " The navigation and the fisheries ofthe United States are objects too interesting
not to inspire a disposition to promote, them by all the means which
shall appear to us consistent with their natural progress and permanent
prosperity." Mr. Hamilton, in his report as Secretary of the Treasury,
suggested that a reduced duty on.the article of pickled fish, under tihe
circunistances of the time, would prove advantageous, but admitted
that he was not in possession of all tihe facts of the case, and, deferring
to.members ofthe House familiar with the subject, declined to hazard
a decisive opinion. Such w^ere the official acts relative to the fishing
interest, at the opening ofthe session. The relief afforded the previous
* The Hon. Elbridge Gerry was a native of Marblehead, the ancient fishing capital of Massachusetts, and a graduate of Harvard University. He devoted several years to commercial
pursuits, and acquired a competent estate. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independ, ence, niinister to France, governor of Massachusetts, and Vice President of the United States.
He died at Washingtori in 1814, at the age of seventy. His life, by Hon. James T. Austin, of
Boston, who married his daughter, contains riauch matter relative to the maritime afiiiirs of
the Revolution, not to be met with elsewhere.

S. Doc. 22.


3^ear was insufficient. The fishermen represented that their condition
was deplorable, and they earnestly implored the protection .,of the government. In the petition presented Congress from Marblehead, are
several statements which deserve .attention. That document shows,
from all exact irivestigation, the expenses ^ and earnings ofthe fishing
vessels of that town for the three preceding years. For the year 1787,
each vessel earned $483 ; in 1788, the sum of $456 ; and in 1789, only
$273. .The annual average of expenses, including insurance, was $416:
thus affording a gain of $67 for the first of these years ; of $40 for the
secorid ; and a loss of $143^ for the third. It estim^ited that the duty
paid on articles necessary for a vessel of sixty-five tons and eleven men,
amounted annually to $138 ; the duty on molasses being computed at
ninety-nine cents, and that on rum at just fourteen dollars ! This petitloiij
and several others of similar character, were referred to Mr. Jefferson,
the Secretary of State. His brief but able and interesting repprt, submitted to Congress in 1791, is the only state paper of the kind to be
found In our archives.
The additional rehef desired was not long delayed. Early in 1792
an act was passed which abolished the bounty on dried and pickled
fish exported, and granted in lieri thereof a specific allowance to vessels
employed in the cod-fishery. This allowance was graduated according to the size of the vessels. Boats between five and twenty tons burden were entitled to receive one dollar per ton annually ; those between
twenty and thirty tons, fifty cents per ton additional; and to those more
than thirty tons, the allowance was fixed at tw^o dollars and fifty cents
the ton; but no vessel could receive more than one hundred and seventy dollars in one season. By a subsequent act the same year, these
several rates were increased oneTfifth, tb commence in Januar3^ 1793;
to continue seven years, and thence to the end of the next session of
The first act was opposed, Mr. Giles, a member of the House from
.Virginia, refused his support, because "the bill appeared to contain a
direct bounty on occupation; and if that be its object," said he, "it Is
the first attempt as yet made by this government to exercise such
authority; and its constitutionality struck him in a doubtful point of
view; for in no part of the constitution could he, in express terms, find
a power given to Congress to grant bounties on occupations. The
power is neither directly granted, nor (by any reasonable construction
that he could give) annexed to any other specified in the constitutiori."
Mr. Williamson objected for similar reasons. In his apprehension,
"the bbject of the bounty andthe amount of it are equally to be disregarded in the present case. . W e are simply to consider whether bounties may be safely given under the constitution. For myself, I would
rather begin with a bounty of one million per annum tihan one thou^
sand. * * * Establish the doctrine of bounties, andit is not a few
fishermen, that will enter, claiming ten or twelve thousand dollars, but
all manner of persons; people of every trade and occupation may
enter at the breach, until they have eaten up the bread of our children."
Still further to encourage the prosecution. of the fisheiies, - an act of


a • Doc; 22.

1793'* authorized^ the collectors .of the customs to grant vessels duly.
licensed permits "to touch and trade at aity foreign port or place," .
and under such documents to. procure salt and other necessary outfits
without being subjected to the paynient of duties. This act, which is
.stiff in force, has proved extremely beneficial to our fishing vessels in
certain emergencies; but it may be admitted that its privileges are
liable -to be abused. Four years later, the system of allowances to
vessels.emplo3^ed in the cpd-fishery was revised.; Under the law then
passed, the smallest class were entitled to draw from the treasury one.
dollar and sixty'cents per ton annually; and vessels upwards of twenty
tons, two dollars* and forty cents the ton; while the maximum was.
increased to two hundred and sevent3^-two doflars. A second revision
occurred in the year 1800, which effected spme changes in details, but
which provided for the continuance of the rates of allovyance then
fixed until March, 1811.
President Jefferson, in his message to Congress in 1802, spoke of
"fostering our fisheries as nurseries of navigation, and for the nurture
of man," as amorig "the land-marks by which we were to be guided in
all our proceedings;" and made further allusion to the subject in his
annual communication of the following year. His remarks, in the .
second, were referred to a committee of Congress, who, in their
report, said that there was too much reason to beheve that both the
whale and cod-fisheries had been for some time on the decline, and
that it was more than doubtful whether the United States employed as
many men and tons in these branches of industry as when they were
colonies or previous to the Revolution. As a means to reanimate them,
they recommended that ships and yessels actually and exclusively
employed in these fi.sheries 'should not, in future, be subject to the pay-,
ment of the tonnage duty levied on other vessels; that fishernien and
other persons actually employed in catching wiiales and fish should be.
exempt from the usual charge of hospital money; and that the bounty
pr allowance under existing laws should be paid in cases of shipwreck^
or loss of vessels without deduction..- . »
A single incident more of the year 1803 claims our notice.. One
hundred and five inhabitanfe of Block island,^engaged in the cod-fishery, joined in a petition to Congress for .an aUowance or bounty on
boats qf less than five tons burden. They represented, that from the
bleak situation of the island which they inhabited, and. the high surf
* The following notice, which was pubhshed in a Bo.ston newspaper, April, 1794, is inserted
as'a matter of curious history, rather than to illustrate the text:
" SALMON-S.TAND..—Great inconveniency ari .sing from exposing salmon for sale on thc Exchange, in State street, where citizens of the town, and those from abroad, ast'emble to transact business, the board of selectmen have assigned a stand therefor in Market square. Those
who bring salmon lor sale from neighboring towns are requested to apjily to the clerk of the
market, at his .office, north.corner of Faneuil Hall, who will point them fo the stand. The
law against nuisances i.s suflScient; a wish to accommodate, 'tis hoped, will preclude the necessity of coercion. The inspector of poHce makes this publication, having in. view the prosperity
of our country brethren, as~well as accommodation of the toAvn. He gratefully acknowledges •
the past kindness of his fellow-citizens, and requests, in this instance, that neither themselves,
nor those under them, would purchase salmon in.State street, but apply at the stand assigned
" N. B.—The printers in to^ra, and those m Salem, Newburyport, and Haverhill are requested
to publish the above." •

H. Doc. 22.


by which it w-as incessantly assailed, they pursued their occupation in
small bo.ats during the day, returned to their homes at night, and hauled
their craft above the reach and fury of the waves. They stated, also,
that the number of fishermen upon the island 'was nearly two hundred;
that they caught from ten to fifteen thousand quintals of,fish annually,
, about half of which were pickled and the remainder dried. .The committee to whom the petition was referred made an adverse report, and
legislation in their behalf was refused.
The embargo and other restrictive measures which preceded the
.war of 1812 produced "the most disastrous results hi New. England.
In.1808, and during the existence of the prohibitory acts,.a numl3er of
,citiz.e.ns of Boston petitioned Cpngress for liberty to export a quantity
of pickled arid dried fish in their warehouses, and liable to rot or decay
if kept during the summer .months. But the goverriment declined
interfererice, and property of this description was allowed to perish in
most" of the. fishing towiis, to the utter ruin of many of its owners.
These losses were fpllowed by others; and as the results of the policy
of our own rulers, as well as the seizure and confiscation of cargoes
of fish In ports of Europe under the memorable decrees of Napoleon,
.the distresses pf all classes of persons engaged in the catching and
curing the products of the'seabecame in the end general and alarming.
' During.the war with England, the distant fishirig grounds were abaiiiidoned. T.he British colonists determined that we should never occupy
them more. The duties which devolved on Messrs. Adams, Clay,
Gallatin, Bayard, and Russell, the American commissioners at Ghent,
were consequently difficult and arduous. On the one hand, they were
expected to arrange conditions of peace, and yet were instructed, in
iterms which admitted of no discretion, to break off their consBltations
and return home, rather than alio-w the subject of surrendering the fisheries to come under di.scusslon; on the other hand, the British plenipoientiaries met them with the doctrine that the privileges were entirely
destroyed by hostilltie.-. " T h e s e gentlemen," said the late President
Adams, " after commencing the negotiations with trie loftiest pretensions
of conquest, firially settled-down into the determination to keep Moose
island* and the fisheiies to dieniselyes.' This was the object of their
deepest solicitude. Their efforts to obtain our acquiescence in their
, pretensions, that the fishing liberties had been fbrfeifed'by the war,
.were unwearied. They presented it tp'^us in every form that ingenuity
could devise. ^ It was the first stumbling-block and the last obstacle to
the conclusion ofthe treaty." t
^ ' * Moose island, in the Bay of Paissamaquoddy, and former name of Eastport. This to-wn
was captured in July, 1814, and retained' for more than three years after tlie peace. On the
30th of Iinie, 1818, it was surrendered to the United 'States with imposing forms and cere' monies.
t The following letter, addressed by John Adams to President Madison during the negotiations at Ghent, is derived from an authentic source:
. :
* QvmfCY, November 28,1814:.
DEAR SIR.: WTien my spri departed for Russia, I enjoined upon him to write nothing to me.
which he was not willing should be published in French and English newspapers. He has very
•scrupulously observed the rule.
I have be^^u equally reserved in my letters to him; but the principle on both sides has been
to me a cruel privation, for his correspondence when absent, and his conversation when preserit
bas been a principal enjoyment of iny life.




S. Doc. 22,

It IS a Singular circumstance, that at Ghent, as at Parish there should
be an accusation of defection against an American minister. Mr. Russell^
the delinquent in the latter Ccise, less fortunate than Franklin, found no
colleague to vouch for.the manUness of his course ; and the fact that he
adopted the Biitish argument as- to the effects of the war to terminate
our.privileges, as well as the opinion that the fisheries themselves were
of decreasing value, rests upon his own published statements. In-these
vlew^s he,stood alone. Mr. Adams suggested to his associates, and Mr.
Clay embodied In a proposition to be presented to the British com mis• sioners, the principle that we held our rights of fishing by the same
tenure as we did our independence; that, unlike another class of treaties, the treaty oi 17^83 is to be regarded as perpetual, and ofthe natuiTO
of a deed. In which the fisheries are an appurtenant ofthe soil conveyed
or-parted with; and that, therefore, no stipulation was necessary or desirable to secure the perpetuity ofthe, more than of the territory itself
In other words, if we must contract anew for fishing
grounds,, so must we also obtain a new title to our territories.
. as I understand it, is the substance of the proposition itself, and of the
various discussions of which, from time to time, it formed the basis.
The position was impregnable.
The arguments founded upon this
ground were not the British mission in 1814, nor by the
ministry during the negotiations which terminated in the convention of
1818. They are unariswerable.
But it is not to be denied that the
present difficulties are attributable to the war. Had the two nations remained at peace.'there could have been no pretence of forfeiture; thei'e
would have been no 1818 between the British doctrine
and our own; iand, of: course, no ambiguous Instrument on which the
colonists could assume, as they now dp, to, shut us out of ba3'-s that our,
yessels visited ever since they were won .from France, i And since
Engiand has not renounced the pretensiori that was assented to by Mr.
Russell, it may be worthy the consideration of our statesinen, whether,
the principle may not be revived, on the recurrence of relations similar
to those w^hich first caused its assertiori. The consequences of wars no
one is wise enough to foresee; the questions which they really,adjust,
iiow few! the questions which they open for future generatiuns,"how
Notwithstanding the position taken by Messrs.. Adams, Clay, Bayardy
and Gallatin, at Ghent, that our treaty rights were not abrogated by
in the enclosed letter he has ventured to deviate, and has assigned his reason for it. I
- think, h-owever, that I ought to comniunicate it to you.
I have no papers, that t recollect, that can be of any to him. I ])ublished ih the Boston
Patriot alf I recollect ofthe negotiations for peace in 1782 and 1783. But I have no copy of
that publication in manuscripit or print, and I had hoped never to. see it or hear of it again.
All that f can say is, that I would continue this icar forever, rather than surrender one acre of
o u r territory^ one iota of thc fisheries, as established by tiie third article ^of tlie treaty of 1783, or
one sailor impressed from any rnerchant ship.
I win not, however, say this to my son, though I shall be very much obliged to you if you
will give him orders to the same effect.
• It is the deeree of Providence, as I believe, that the nation must be purified in the furnace
of affliction. '
You will be so to return my letter, and believe me your respectful fellow-citizen and
'sincere public and private friend, '
President MADISON.


. :

S. Doc. 22.


the war, the Biitish government revived their pretension to the contrary immediately after the peace. An American yessel was fallen in
with by the armed ship the Jaseur, Locke, conimander, in June, 1815,
w^hen about foft3^-five miles from Cape Sable; and her papers were endorsed, "Warned off the coast, not to comp within sixtyr miles." So
extraordinary a'procedure.was promptly disavowed as unauthorized;
but discussions ensued, which were termlna.ted, in 1818, by the conclusion of a treaty that embodied a compromise of the" adverse-views of
the two cabinets, and which is still in force. The article is as follows:
" W h e r e a s differences have a.risen respecting the libert3^ claimed
by the United States, for the inhabitants thereof,: to take, dry and cure
fish on certain coasts, bays, harbors and creeks, bf his Britannic
Majesty's dominipns in Anierica, it is "agreed betweeir the high contracting parties that the inhabitants o f t h e said; United States shall
have forever, in comnion with the subjects of his Britannic Majest3^,
the liberty to take fish of every kind on that part of the southern coast
of Newfoundland which extends from Ca,pe Ray to the, Rariieau
islands, on the western and northern coast of Newfoundland; from
the Said Cape Ra3^ to the Quirpon islands, on the shpres of the Magdalene island's, and also on the coasts, ba.ys, harbors and'creeks from
• Mount Joly, on the southern coast of Labrador,, to and through the
Straits of iBellisle, and thence northwardly indefinitely albng the coast;
without prejudice, however, to any of the exclusive rights of the Hudson's Ba3^ Company ; and that the American fishermen shall also have
liberty, Ibrever, to dry and cure fish in any of°the unsettled iia3^s, harbors a,nd creeks ofthe southern part of the coast, of Newfoundland,
hereabove described, and of.the coast of Labrador; but so sobn as the
"same, or any portion thereof, shall be settled, it shall not be law^ful for
the said'fishermen to dry or cure fish at such portion so settled, without previous agreement 1br such purpose, .with the inhabitants, pro• piietors, or possessors of the ground. And the United States hereby,
renourice, forever, the libprty heretofore enjoyed or claimed by the
' inhabitants thereof, to take, dry, of cure fish, on or within three marine
miles of any of the coasts, bays, ci'eeks or harbors, of his Br,itannic
Majesty's dominions in America, not Included within the above inentioned limits: provided, however, that the American fishermen shaU
be admitted to enter such bays or harbors fbr the purpose of shelter,
and of repairing damages therein, of purchasing wood and of obtaining water, and for no other purpose wiiatever. But they shall be
under such restrictions as may be riecessaiy to prevent their taking,
drying, or curing fish therein, or in any other manner whatever
abusing the privileges hereby reserved to them."
The disfingulshing features ofthis article, as compared with the
stipulations bf the treaty of 1783, are obviously t w o : first, that we
gave up the catching aloug certain shores ; and,'secondty, thq,t our
'facllitie^s oi drying and curing were increased. The practical construc' tion bf both governments has been, until a very recent period, that
our vessels cbuld fish everywhere, as under the treaty of 1783, except
ivithin three'miles oJ certain coasts; in other words, that our rights Were
not impaired on the southern shore of Newfoundland, between Cape
Ray and the Rameau islands, on the w^Pstern and northern shores of


S. D ^ . 22.


Newfoundland, from saidi Cape Ray to the Quirpon islands, at the
Magdalen islands,-between Mount Joly andthe Straits of Bellisle, and
through these straits to an indefinite extent along the shores of Labrador; while elsewhere in British America we retained the sea,fisheries,
' biit surrendered the inner or shore fisheries.
During the discussions abroad, in consequence of the outrage o f t h e
Jaseur and other British cruisers. Congress were not unmindtul ^ of the
. fishirig interest, both to repair the wrongs of unauthorized .captures
and to afford protection against foreign eompetition. The tariff of
1816 imposed a duty 'of one dollar the quintal on foreign dried or
smoked fish imported into the United States, two dollars the barrel on
salmon, one dollar arid fifty cents the barrel on mackerel, and one
dollar the barrel on all other kinds .'of pickled, fish. So, in 1817, an
act was pas.sed which required that all officers, and three quarters
of the crews of vessels employed in the cod-fishery, and claiming the
bounty or allowance, shpuld be American citizens, "or persons not the
subjects of any foreign prince or state;".'while no such vessel, it ~ was
provided by further enactments, should be deprived of bounty, if
prevented frbm fishing the full time prescribed, by law, by reason
of detention or seizure by British ships-bf-war.
In the revision of the tariff in 1824, there was no change in the rates
of duty imposed on foreign fish. These rates were cpntinued also in
the tariffs of 1828 and 1832. Thus,, in four revisions, the principle of
ample protection was prpserved, except that the products of the sea,
- like all other commodities imported, were subject to the provisions of
the "compromise" measure introduced by il\lr. Clay. In the present
tariff, specific duties on fish are entirely aLbolished, and the uniforin rate
of. twenty per cent, ad valorem substituted, which on some kinds is
merely nominal, and on all insufficient. The ad valorem system has
jiroved extremely beneficial to British colonists. In fact, having driven
us from the markets of Cathohc Europe, they are in active competition
with us for our own.
The question of "bounty," or ^alloyvance to vessels emplo3^ed in the
cod-fishery, will next engage our attention. The act now. in force
was passed by Congress in 1819. ' Its provisions, the construetipri
given to it, as well as the rules to be observed by the collectors ofthe
customs, will be found in the circular of the. Secretaiy of the Treasuiy
pf February 20, 1852. Before inserting this ^carefully prepared docu.ment,. which supersedes all former instructions and regulations on this
subject, I may remark, that the course ofthe governmenf has not only
been just, but liberal, towards those, whp, in peculiar cases, have applied
for relief Many special acts of Congress, for the payment of the bounty
or allowance, are to be found scattered through the statute-book. These
acts embrace cases .where fhe original, fishing agreements required by
law,were burned, or otherwise accidentally destroyed; where vessels
w^ere known to be lost at sea, or were never heard of after leaving' port,
br were'driven on shore and wrecked ; aind wiiere sickness and death
prevented the completion ofthe full term of time at sea. The petitions
of owners whose .vessels were "unlucky" on the fishing grounds, and
returned with "broken fares;" whose articles of agreement were in

S. Doc. 22.


formal or incomplete; or, whose masters proceeded upon fishing voy^
aiges under licences to follow the coasting trade, have been rejected.
Much has been said, from time to time, about the extent of frauds in
.procuring,the allowances authorized under the systera^of bounties. As
late as 1840, the Senate of the. United States caused an investigation,
in order, to ascertain ^"the truth of special and of general allegations.
The proper officers of the treasury communicated to that body several
documents" containing all the - inforniation in their possessiori, which
show that there had been instances of mistaken' cbnstruction of the
law, of noii-coiupliaiice, with the prescribed rules and forms, and of
actual fraud. But t h e nuiriber, of all descriptions, was limited, and of
the latter, especially, very.small. Still, it cannot be doubted; that, as
in every other business, soine dishonest men are concerned in this
branch of industry, and defraud both the governnient and-the persons
whom they" ^employ, whenever opportunity to do so'occurs. It would
seem that, under this circular, fraudulent owners arid masters must
soon disappear, since the most daring and expert, in the past, -will
iiardly adventure upon making the false reeordsvtmd representations,
5ipon committing the forgeries and pe.rjuries, which will be necessary
to evade its provisions. In a word, the officers of the customs, if faithful to their.duty, can put an end to corruption, and of consequence to
the demands to repeal the "fishing bounty allowances," often made orr
• the ground, that om^ fishermen, whether honest or dishonest, claim and
receive al^aiost at pleasiire the money ofthe gbveromient. .. ;
Gircidar instructions. tB'certain collectors qf the customs relative to, fishing
bounty allowances. ^ TREASURY D E P A R T M E N T ,

. •

• February 20, 1852.
For tfee purpose of producing uniformity in the reqiilrements of proofs
liy collectors who are charged with the allowaiice of bounty pn the
tonnage of vessels employed in the bank or other cod-fisheries, it has
been deemed advisable to embody the existing regulations, ^prescribed
during a series of years past for the execution of the laws on that subject, in the present instructions, i
To entitle fishing vessels to the allowance of bounty, the laws require
that the5r shall have been exclusively employed i n t h e cod-fishery at
sea a specified peripd between the last day pf February and the last
day of iN^ovemberj under certain restrictions and conditions." No allowance can be made unless the proofs herein pointed outare duty made
in good faith, and. presented to the collector at the custoin-house where
the c6d-fishing license was issued, for his, decision. These^ indispensable proofs are set forth, with the necessary explanatioris, as follows :
1. In the case of a vessel of twenty tons burden or upwards, the
priginal agreement made previous to the fishing yoyaige or voyages of
ihe vessel between the master or skipper thereof, and eve.ry fisherman
employed therein, not being an - apprentice or servant of the master"
' skipper or owner, which original agreement must be endorsed ^or counersigned by the ownbr of the vessel or liis agentj and must expres.s


S. Doc. 22.

whether the same, is to continue for one voyage or for the season.;and also stipulate that the fish or the proceeds of such fishing vo3^age
or voyages, which may appertain to the fishermen, shall be divided
among them in proportion to thp^ quantities or number of said fish which^
each fisherman shall have respectively caught, together wilh an affidavit or affirmation of the owner, his agent or legal repres,entative, showing expressly that such agreement or agreements contain the true and
aclual coritracts under which the cod-fisheiy was pursued on board
such vessel during the period required for the allowance of bounty.
In the case of a boat dr. vessel of more than five and less, than twenty
tons burden, an account fiom the owner of such boat or vessel, showirig that there have been landed therefrom during the preceding season
at least twelve quintals of fislt, when dried and. cured fit for exportation, according to the Weight thereof at the time of delivery when ac- .
tually sold, fpr each ton of the admeasurement of such boat or vessel;
the original adjustment and settlement of the fare .or fares embracing
the period required'for the allowance of bounty,, among the owners a n d
the fishermen, of such boat or vessel; a written account of the length,
breadth, and depth of such boat or vessel, and the time she has actu•ally been ernplo3^ed at sea in the cod-fishery exclusively in the preceding seasori;. and theaffidavit or affirmation of the owner or his agent^^.v
showing that each of these three documents is true.
In all these cases of yessels above as w^ell as under twenty tons burden, the affidavits ^br affirmations required must be-made before the
collector ofthe distiict in which the cod-fishing license w^as issued.
iNo. fishing vessel of which the fishermen, or any one of, them, are
compensated for their services on board by wages, or in any other manner than by the division of'the fish, or the proceeds of the same, as re- ,
quired by law. Is entitled to bount3^; but the cook, where one is employed, being regarded as the servarit of the skipper and crew, may be
compensated by w^ages witihout impairing the claim, bf the vessel to
2. No fishing vessel is entitled to the allowance of bomit3^ unless it
is shown b3^ siifficient prpof that the master and three-fourths of her
crew are citizeBs of the United States.
• 3, Every fishing vesseLfor which bount3^is intended to be claimed
must be. examlriedf previous to her depafture on a fishing voyage, by
the proper officer ofthe customs, designated fbr that duty by the collector pf the,district where her license was issued, or some other districtj,
on account of his competent knowledge'bf the requisites of aoproper
outfit fbr the cod-fishery. Such, officer will certify in writing whether
she is sea-wortly, arid duly fitted with proper ground tackle, and other
necessary equipment; describing her fishing gear,, aind stating whether
,she has a sufficient crew for her tonnage; and whether the master and
three-fourths of the crew are citizens of the United States. Such certificate must be obtained in all cases. And in vessels of twent3^ tons
and upwards, it should appear by this certificate, whether the fehing
agreement has been duly executed by the parties required by law*
The following is,an approved form of a certificate w^hen the Idispecting.
officer is satisfied that the vessel i s sea-^vorthy, well fitted, and all
other requisites duly complied with: '

S. Doc. 22.


, port of
,18 .
This certifies that I have examined the
, of •
is master; that she is sea-worthy, well found in
sails, rigging, cables, anchors, and fishing gear, suitable for the codfisheries; that her crew is sufficient for her tonnage, being composed of
— persons; that the master and threP-fburths of her crew are
citizens oi the United States; and that in all respects said .vessel is
fitted for the cod-fisheries agreeably to the provisions of law, [adding
in the case of a vessel of twenty tons aind upwards,] and that the agreement between t h e master and fishermen Is duly executed by thein and
the owner, or his agent. '

The proofs of inspection may remain, with theother papers of the
¥.essel., to be presented to the collector with the Pther proofs.
4. The legal necessity of keeping journals or log-books on.board fishing yessels at sea'was, several years since,' expressly laid down by the
circuit court of the United States for the eastern circuit, in decreeing,
forfeiture of a fishing vessel for fiilse statement of the time employed ia
the cod-fishery for the purpose of fra-udplentty obtaining bounty. Suct
journals or log-books yvere required, by the regulations b^ 22d December, 1848, to be produced t o collectors in support of all claims to
bounty. It is understood that this requirement has been perverted at
some ports by regarding memoranda in almanacs, and other memoranda even more exposed to after-fabrication, as sufficient. If the
owners of lishing vessels choose to send them on voyages without re-^
quiring regular journals or log-books to^be^kept on board from day to
day, tiiey have .the undoubted right to dp so rbAit-it^m.ust_J)e distinctly
understood that hereafter no claim for bounty on. the tonnage of any"
¥essel, as having been employed in the cod-fishery, can be recognised
in such cases.
Unless a regular journal or log-book^is kept day by day on bpard a
fishing Vessel while at sea, and such journal or log-book is produced to
the collector, duly verified .by the oath or affirmation of the master or
sldpper of such vessel. It will not hereafter be considered that the
necessaiy evidence of her employment at sea in the cod-fisheiy is pre.sented. Such journal or log-bppk must contain the dates of her clepartute from, and arrival at, every port or place she may'touch at (luring
her voyagers or fares, and state the material daily occurrences on board,
as is usual in other sea-going vessels, and 'must specialty contain daily ,
entries ofthe catch offish by each person on board.
5. It is also required that the owner or agent of every fishing yipssei
ofthe .burden of twenty tons or upwards, for which bounty is claimed,
ghaU make a'certificate stating therein the particular days on wliich
such vessel sailed and returned on the several voyages, of fares during
the season which comprises the period for wiiich bounty is claimed. It
must expressty appear in this certificate that such vessel was exclusively employed in taking codfish for the. purpose of being dried br
^dry-cured, for such period. This certificate must be subscribed by 1%
claimant, and SAvorn.or affirmed to before the collectbr.
6. The master or skipper of every fishing yessel, for which bounty
is mfendedtobe claimed, immediately ori her arrival, from any voyage


S: Doc. 22;-

or fare of such fishery, at any port bf place at which ariy officer of the
customs is stationed, must repbrt such arrival to such oflicer, who is
required to examirie such vpssel, her papers, equipment, and the quan-'
tity of fish on board, and to enter the result of such examination in these
respects upon a record kept by him for that purpose, which is tP be
returned tothe collector of his district whenever required. In case theiiiaster or sikipper of such vessel neglects or refuses to make report of
his arrival, the officer will state that fact upon his record, with' such '
other particulars respecting such vesspl as may come to his knowledge.
Such'neglect, or refusal to report by the master or skipper of any vessel
claiming bounty will operate against the allowance ofthe claim, unless
a full and satisfactory explanation of such neglect or refusal is 'made
under path.
- The collectors of the'respective districts will direct the Inspectors at
the several ports therein,- br^ where the. district contains but a ;sirigle
port the collec'tor will detail an inspector, to examine all fishing vessels
arriving at such ports, requiring them to take down'their naines, arid oTv
their masters, their employment, whether thej had fish on board, arid
.of what kind, and whether fresh, pickled, or Otherwise, and report the
skme to'the collector of the district at such times" as may be requIrecL^
Oh receipt of such reports ofthe inspectors he will advise the collectors of the districts where such vessels were licensed, of the fa:cts con^_
ceriiirig each; those licensed for.the .cod-fishery in one sta.temeiit, a n d
other fishirig yessels in another. , If is important, for the preyention arid,
detection b:lTraudulent practices, that this duty performed with fidel^;
ityiarid cireum'spectfon;J:>3^rtli^ officers of the customs charged with
riiSdng thesc-reCbfds and reports.
,. 7..;\Frbm the original act of i6tli of February,. 1792, changing the
drawback on dried fish pxported to bbunty on the tonnage of vessels
eniployed in the bank or other .cod-fisheries, it has always been held
^ that, to entitle any fishing vess.el to bounty, she must be shown to have
been employed at sea exclusively in catching codfish for the purpose'
bf being dried, or dry-cured, during the period prescribed by law. I t
is not. required that the entire period be embraced in one voyage pr
fare^ or in voyages or fares ijnmediateTy succeeding each other; .but it
is in dispensable to the allowance of bounty that the period required
shall be comprehended iri distinct vo3^ages or fares in which no other
ikiiid of fisheiy is pursued. No part of a fare or voyage in which liailiVbut, mackerel, or any othpr fish, are taken as an, object of pursuit, as
\vell .as cod, can be reckoned as a portion of the time requireid by l a w ;
•where other fish are taken merety as bait for cod, br as food fbr the
crew, Iio objection will be made, as such taking is regarded as strictly
Subsidiary to the cod-fishery; but if such other fish ^remain on board"
uritilthe close of the fare.or voyage, and are carried into; port, the fare
or voyage must be regarded as one-of mixed fisher3^ which cannot be
taken into the computation of the time required by law for the allowa.hce
of'bounty. A vessel iriay be exclusively employed in the cod-fishery
ait sea fbr one, two, or three months in a distinct, fare Or fares in the
first part of the fish ing season,, then pursue the mackerel fisheiy under
the licen':;e required by lawv afterwards may surrender her mackerel
license, and theri complete the period required by law by another dis

S: Doc. 22.-

^ M5{

tirict fare or fares, of exclusive eriiplbyment in the cod-fishery, previous^
to the last da,y of November. But the taking of mackerel by any vessel under cod-fishing license, except as bait .or food for her crew,'is
regarded as a violation of the license laws. Such illegal fishery during;
ariy season will forfeit all claim to bounty for that season, and when
the fact is known to any collector he is instructed to refiise the'alrowairice hereafter accordingly.
Vessels employed iri taldiig any kind offish for sale arid consumptiori
in a fresh or green condition, as well as fish to be preserved by picklirig,
are not within the bounty laws, and no vo3'^ages or fares in wiiich such
fisheries are pursued can be lawfully computed as any part ofthe
period required for the allowance Pf bounty. 8.; When the proofs presented fully satisfy you that all the requirements and coiiditions herein contained have, been complied with iri
good faith, you are authorized to; pay the- owner or owners, or his br
"their 'agent or representative, of fishing vessels, where exclusiye employment at sea in the cpd-fishery for four calendar iiibnths, at least, is:
shown by fhe evidence hereiri required.
. '
If measuriiig iriore than five tons, and not exceeding thirty tons,
$3 50 per ton.
" If measuring more than thirty tons, S4 per ton.
If the above thirty tons j With-crews not less than ten persons, and
having been exclusively emplo3^ed at. sea in the cod-fisheny three and
one-half calendar months, $3'50 per ton.
The allowance for one vessel during the season, whatever may be
her tomiage, cannot exceed $360. .':
9. .Vessels exiclusively eniployed at sPa in the cod-fishery the full
time required to entitle thein to bounty, and afterwards wrecked,'may
be allowed bo^unty under the provisions of the act of 26th of May, 1824,
which requires the evidence of the loss of the vessel to^be transmitted
fo the Comptroller .for his decision thereori. - Under the act of March 3,
1849, this duty has beeri transferred to the Coriimissioner of the.Custbms,. to whom the proof, certified by the collector of the district to
which the vessel belonged, should be .serit fbr his official direction
Iristructions will be given in due season in regard tp the mode of
payment of bounty allowances, at and after thp close of the year. To'
dbviate any responsibility which might otherwise devolve on collectors,
should such paymeiits be made upon proof regarded as insufficient
under the present instructions, it will be advisable that probable claimarils to-fishing-bounty allowances be apprized, beforethe sailing of vessels on their first cod-fishing voyage, of the requirements of these instructions, which are intended to supersede and supply the place of all
former instructions on this subject.
^ ,
\ ' •
Secretary of the Treasury.
An aiccourit ofthe fishirig'grounds has-been reserved for the conclusion. , Of those near our cities, and visited for the purpose of supplying
our markets with'fish to be consumed fresh, itis unnecessary to speak.
Those within the limits of Biitish America, and secured to us by


S. Doc. 22.

treaty, as w;ell as those on the eastern coasts of Maine, are less gene-;
rally known, and ma,3^ properly claim attention.
.Of the distant, Newfoundland i s ' t h e oldest. That vessels from;
Boston fished there as earty as the year 1645, is a fact preserved in
the journal of Gpvernor V/inthrop., The "great bank,'-' which has
been so long resorted to, is said to be about two hundred miles broad^
and nearty six hundred miles long. In gales the sea is very high, and^
dense fogs are prevaleiit. The water is from twenty-five to ninety-five
fathoms deep. The edges o f t h e bank are abrupt, and composed of
rough rocks. The,best fishing grounds are between the latitudes of 42
and 46 degrees north.- The "bankers," as the vessels employed there
are called, anchor in the open sea, at a great distance from the larid,
and pursue their hazardous and lonely employment, exposed to perils
hardty known elsewiiere. The fish are caught w'lih hooks and lines,and (the operations of splitting and dressing performed) are salted In
bulk in the hold, fi*om day to day, until the cargo i s completed. ^The
bank fish are larger than those taken on the shores of Newfoundland,
but are not often so well cured. /
The first American vessel which was fitted for the Labrador fi.shery
sailed from Newbuiyport towards the close of the last ceiitur3^, The bu-;
siness price undertaken, was pursued with great energ3^ and several hutidred ve.ssels were engaged in it annually previous to the war of 1812.
A voyage to^ Labrador, unhke a trip to the Banks of NeAvfbundland, is
not without-pleasant incideiits> even to landsmen. The coast is fi'e-.
quented for a distance of teri or twelve degrees of latitude. I t has
been preferred to any other on account of its security, and a general
certainty of affording a supply of fish. Arriving in some harbor early
ill June, an American vessel is moored, and remains quietly at anchoruntil a full " fire" has been obtained,, or until the departure ofthe fish
requires the master to seek another inlet. The fishing is done entirely
in boats, and the number u.sually employed is one for about thirty tons
of"the vessel's register. ; Here, under the management of an experienced and skilful master, eyer3'thiiig. may' be rendered systematic
andi'egular. As sbon as the vessel has been secured by the necessary
anchors, her sails and light rigging are sto\yed awa3^ her decks cleared,
her boats fitted,' and a day or two spent in fowling and sailing, imder
cblor of exploring the surrounding waters and fixing upon proper stations for the bpats, and the master arinounces to his crew that they must
tiy their luck with the hook and line. Each boat has now assigned to
it a skijiperf or master, and one man. At the time designated, .tlie
master departs with his boats, t o test the qualities of his men, arid to
mark out for them a course for their future procedure.
The love,of power, so common to our race, is exemplified even here,
since the .skippei^s of these boats, though commanding each but a single man, often assume airs and exercise authority which are at once
ridiculous and tyrannical; while their ingenuity in explaining the causes
of a bad da.y's w^ork, realty occasioned by idleriess, or by time spent
in shooting sea-birds, frequently puts the patience and the risibility bf
tlie master to a severe trial. If fish are plenty, and npt too distant
from the vessel, the boats are expected, in good weather, to catch two,"
loads,in a day'. Their return, if laden, is the signal for the dressing

S. Doc. 22,



crew, wiio are left on board, to begin a series of operations which,,
w^hen completed, leave the fish in the fbrrh In which the consumer buys
them. From the dressing-table the fish are thrown down the hatch-way
to the- Salter, who commences the process of curing by salting and
placing them in layers in the bottom of the vessel. . If the master intends to remain on the coast until his fish are read3^ for market, they
are commonty takeii on shore as soon as caught, and there dressed,
salted and. dried, before being conveyed to the vessel. If, on the contrary, it be his intention to dr3^ them at home, as is now the common
.practice, the Salter's duly^ is the last that is performed abroad. The
bait used-in the Labrador fishery is a small fish called capefe. This
small but useful fish seldom remains on the fishing-ground for more
than six weeks in a ^season; a time which Is long enpugh for securing
a full supply, and which an experienced and energetic master does
not ofteii allow to pass awa-y The average' produce of
this fishery may be estimated at about ten quintals to every ton of the
vessels emplo3^ed in it, though the best masters arp dissatisfied when
tliey fail to catch a fourth or fifth more. ' .
The selection of.a master is'a point, so important to owners t h a t a
word upon his qualifications will not be amiss. Besides all the responsibilities at sea which devolve, upon a master In the merchant service,
' he has cares and anxieties, w^hich are unknown to that branch of mar-,
itime adventure. His passage being safety made, the master of the
merchantman Is relieved b3^ the counsel and assistance of the owner or
consignee.. But it is not so with the master of the fishing vessel. During the period-devoted to fishing, his labor is arduous in the extreme;
and come what will, in the desolate and distant regions which he visits,
his own sagacit3'' and prudence are his only reliance. If, as not uiifre.quentty happens, he be so unfortunate as to have among his crew two
or three retractory spirits, who seek to poison the minds of all the rest;
if others, who boasted loudty,'before saihng from home, how well and
quickty the3^ could use the splitting-knife, or how true and even-handed
they were in distributing the salt,.prove too ignorant to be trusted; or
if every man under his, charge, without being dogged or incapable, is
still of so leaden a mould as to'remain Immovable under promises of
bounty ior promotion ;—these difficulties'riiust be but new inducements
to use extraordinaiy personal exertions, and to preserve his reputa.tion
at the expense" of his "health and strength. Even if there are none,
of these embarrassments tprcontend with, his ordinaiy empky^ments
require an Iron frame, and an unconquerable resolution.
, A friend who has seldom foiled to accomplish what he has undertaken j and whose life has been full of daring enterprises, has often assured me, that while on .the Labrador shore,^hIs dut3'' and the fear of
making a " broken voyage^' kept him awake and at his post fuff twenty
hours every da3' throughout the time employed in taking fish. "Once,"
said he, " I was deceived by every man that I had on board my ves^.
sel, my mate alone.excepted. Each shipped, as Is usual,'to perform a
particulai; sefvlbe, and each boasted of his accomphshments in catching,
dressing down or- salting aw:ay ; but there was neither a good boafman,,
an adroit splitter, nor a safe Salter, aniong them all. Isly situation was.
painful eripugh.' I was interested in the loss or gains of the voyage,



S. Doc. 22.

and was too poor and too 37'oung in command to bear the consequence's
of returning without a full fare; and, besides, I was never good at accounting for bad luck, and felt that it was far easier fbr me, even under
tliese untoward circumstances, to fill my vessel, than to, explain to
every one who would question me at home as to the causes of my
failure; and the result of the matter, that I got as many fish per"^
ton and per man as any vessel that I met oil the coast."'
"Another season," says the same friend, -"while in the West India
tirade I was disappointed in obtaining ai cargo, and was compelled to
gb to Labrador, or hauk my schooner up. I was tbo restless to be:
idle, and "resolved upon fishing. It was three weeks too late; and, on
aittempting to ship a crew,, I found that no good men Were to be had,
and that I must take raw Irishmen; and a drunkard fbr a mate.o
The chances, as 37-ou may-w^ell suppose. Were all against me; but I
made the voyage and obtained as niany fish as my vessel could carry.
But I always had pistols iri my pockets, and enforced most of my orders
'"with a threat or a handspike. I slept full dressed, and with airnis in
my berth. A battle with one or more was almost of daily occurrence,
dnd I was in constant fear either of losing my own life, or of being
cbmpelled to take that of sonie one of my crew, to overawe the resti"
These incidents occurred on voyages made from a port on the frontiers
of Maine, and before, the commencement of the temperance reform;
and are; of course, to be regarded not only as having been rare informer times, but as never happening now. But the master's duty, if
he be an efficient-man, is never an easy orie. If he would provide for
every contingency, and make sure of a cargo despite of every adverseevent, he must not even'allow the full repose which nature craves. ' I t
is upori lus regularity and perseverance in procuring fresh bait, a service
which must sometimes be performed at the ihazard of his life; upon the
frequency of his visits to his bbats, which are often miles asunder; upon
his readiness to use his oWn hands to make up the laggard's.deficiency;
upon his economy and system In the use of time and outfits-; upon the
degree of energy and regularity which he infuses; and, finally, upon the
care which he exercises in dressirig and salting the. object of his search,
ihat the success or failure -of the voyage mainly depends. 'Mastefs
who are able arid willing to sustain these varied and incessant calls
upon their bodily vigorVnd mental activity are to be found, probably, in
evefy fishing port. But It is very certain that the riuiriber has sensibly
diminished during the last twenty years, and that.the transfer to other
and more profitab.le and ambitiotis cornmands is still goirig on. The
mercantile men of the commercial emporium of the North, and the
packet-ships ofthe comriiereial emporium ofthe Union, rank deser-vedty
high; but were their counting-rpoms and quarter-decks to yield up all,
or even half, of those whose birth-places were on the two capes Pf
Massachusetts, and whose,earliest adventures'were made, in fishingcraft, the3^ would lose many high and honored names. So, too, were
either to cease recruiting from the same sources, the humble employment of which I am .spealdng wbuld speedily become mbre prosperous,'
in public estimation more respectable, and of consequence be considered more worthy of the care and protection of our rulers.
. <

S. Doc. 2i.


The cod-fishery in the Bay of Fundy differs In many respects fi'om
that of Labrador: It commences earlier, and is pursued more irregularty, and to a later period of the season; while it yields a larger and
better fish, and, from the gteater depth of water and rise of tide, requires
much longer lines. This fishery is pursued principally by the colonists
who live .along the shores of the bay, and by the fishermen of the
eastern part of Maine.
The vessels which are employed in it, though of greater variety, are
neither sb large nor so valuable as those which are. required for the
more hazardous and distant fishing grounds; and, unlike these, it allows
of the use of sail-boats of thp .smallest size, as wellas of those which
can be propelled with' safety and.celerity by the oars of a single
Irian. The vessels anchor upon the outer grounds as bften, and for such
times, as the weather permits; while the boats keep within the passages
and about the ledges, with which . the. bay abounds, The time used
for fishing is just befbre high tide, and just before low whaler, which
states ofthe sea are called slacks. Mpst of the fishermen own or occupy
small farms, so that fishing is an occasional, rather than a constanty
employment with them. Two hundred boats, are sometimes in sights al
Eastport; and when, b y a turn of the tide or a change ofthe wind, the
little fleet draw together^- and float past the line, the scene is
not without interest, even to those who have witnessed it for many
From tlie earliest, or, as they are called, the spring.fi7;esoi the codfish obtained in the Bay of Fundy, are made a considerable part of the
table or dun-hsh which are consuined in the New England States; and
next to the Isiles of Shoals fish,' they are undoubtedly the best. Those
. caught, in boats are seldom fit for dunning. They are commonly sold
fresh to theiittle fishing stands oi' trading establishments set up by the
more independent inhabitants,' But, owing to a variety of causes,.the
process of curing is so imperfectly performed, that none are so good as
those caught in vessels, and many are wholly unfit for humaii food.
The sprinkling of-bme,-however, over the defective parts, (a practice
which some fisher men deem entirely honest,) will deceive', the eye and
quiet the nasal organ of the inexperienced or careless purchaser. These
waters affbrd, also, a-considerable part of the-dried fish known amorig
dealers as pollock, hake, arid haddock. They, are usually taken. when
.fishing for the cod, and by the same means. The '^Quoddy pollock'^
is a great favorite every wiiere in the interior, and is to be fbund in
almost every farm-house ofthe North. The hake fishery of this bay is
small; nor is it of much-^consequence on any part of the Americari
coast. The hake and haddpck are poor fish, and neither commands
more than half the price of the cod. The hake, however, yields a
larger quantity of .oil, arid is, therefore, held in estimation by those who
catch it and are not compelled to eat it. The haddock, when fresh,
suits thetaste of some; but'when dried, it Is without reputation even in
the hut of the negro, who is doomed to be its principal consumer.
There is a tradition t n Catholic countries, that the haddock-was the
fish put of whose mouth the Apostle tooli the tribute-money, and that
the two dark spots near its gills preserve to this day-the impression of
his thunib and finger.

S. Doc. 22.


iParticular mention of our cod-fishery on the coasts of Nova Scotia, in
the Bay of Chaleurs, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and elsewhere in
British America, may be omitted; since the brief notice of the manner^
of conducting it at 'Newfoundland, at Labrador, and in the Ba3'' of
Fundy, is sufficient to give a gerieral idea of It, in vessels and boats^
/in the open sea, in harbors, along the shores, and in the most distant
Statistics of the codfishery of Massachusetts from tJw year 1765 to 1775, and
- .
from 1786 to 1790.
From 1765 to 1775,

From 1786 to 1790.

Vessels an-[Tonnage, No, of Vcvs'selsan- ;l\)nna.gei No.^of
nually emnually emmen.
ploye d.
Gloucester . .
Plymouth . . .
Hkigham... .,
Kingston... .
. Nantucket i. Weymouth . .
In Maine.-..



5, 530
1, 500
" 240
• 400

1, 235
, 460*
, 32
- 360

• .888
. 42









S. Doc. 22.





Number of barrels of
pickled fish.'

. .o

. States and Territories.



' 1 , 044
Ma.ine ".•
279,156 54,071
New Hampshire... V 28,257
Massachusetts . . . . 389,715 124,755 'si"630, 972
Rhode I s l a n d . . . . . ^4,034
183, 207
5 22,224
-New Jersev---2, 012
' Maryland
30, 315
Noith Carolina
2, 385 73, 350
• South Carolina .
Georifia .-•....
Alabama . . 2
- 97
Teimessee . . . .
3, 506
Ohio . . i
- - - 16,535
9, ,021
Dist. of Columbia.





' °1 "



Valueof Avhalebone and
other productions of
the fisheiies.

Statistics of the fisheries ofthe United States in 1840,.—General view showing
the produce/men, and capital employed in each State and Territory.




• 117,807
3,364,725 ^
633,860 ^





-2 -



3 •



$2,351 3, 610 $526,967
. 399
442,974 16, 000 11,725,850
45,523 1,160 1, 077,157
157,572 2,215 1, 301,640

344, 665 1,228
12,167 7, 814
. ' 4,150
2,387 . 23,800 1,784

16 460
' 88,947
. 28,383
213, 502
1, 617

, 7







15, 500

453 ' ' 28, 640
10 000
61' 300


> 773,947 472,359, ,4^764,708 7,. 536,77.8 1,153,234 36,584 16, 4,29, 620


Sc Doc. 22o

Statistics ofthe cod-fishery • of the United States, exhibitinor the tonnage ernr
ployed; bounty paid to fishing vessels; imports of salt; exports of dried
fish, and the value of the same. ' '"

1789: 1790.
- 1791-.
.1804. 1805.




19, 185
28, 348
32, 542
32, 060
50, 163
28, 671
30, 934
34, 963
40, 629
42, 746
29, 978
29, 427
39, 381
41, 521
, 51, 813
52, 014
.57, 466
59, 183
69, 306
51, 998
34, 486
. 34, 828
43, 233
30, 459
20, 878
17, 855
36, 938
48, 126
64, 807
69, 107
76, 076
72, 040
62, 293
.69, 253
. 78, 446
.7.7, 462
. .81,
94, 756
'• 98, 529
106, 188
102, 454
111, 445
63, 306
80, 552
70, 064
66, 551
54, 803
61, 223
76, 990

. Bounty.

• None.
$72, 965 32
93,768 91
',66; 280 47
76,889 63
.80,475 76
94,684 30
128,605 87
. 87, 853 45
74,520 92
1.04, 447 92
117,173 57
145,988 73
152, 927 72
162,191 99
161,254 17
142,911 89
47,166 11
3, .406 44
.None. .
. None. ,
1,811 74
84,736 26
119,919 51
148, 915 65
161,623 35
197,834 68
170,052 91
149, 897 83
176, 706 04
. 208, 924 .08
'198,724 97
215,859 01
206,185 55
239,145 20
261, 069 94
197,642 28.
219,745 27
245,182 40
218,218 76
223,784- 93
213,091 03
. 250,181 03
,314,149 00

Salt unported. Dried fish exported.
1, 250, 255
2, 355, 760
• 1,850,'479
2, 027, 332
. . 3,975,922
/ 2,674,251
3, 095, 807
. -3, 282, 064
3, 564, 605
' 3,479,878
3, 941, 616
4, 671, 628
1,300; 177
No returns.'
No returns.
. No returns.
. No returns.
, No returns.
333, 344
2, 020,131
2, 884, 504
3, 874, 852.
. 4,574,202
4,564, 720
4, .320, 489
V 3,962,957
5, 945, 547
5, 374, 046
6, 822, 672
5, 375, 364
• 5, 088, 666
6, 343, 706
' 7,103,147

Value of exports.

383, 237
372, 825
377, 713
406, 016
428, .495
392, 726
461,870^ $1,620,000 00
2, 400, 000 00
514, 549
2, 058, 000 00
537, 457
2,150, 000 00
473, 924
1,896.000 00155,8Q8
623, 000'00
345, 648
1,123, 000 00
913,000 00
: 757,000 00
592, 000 00
210,000 00
128, .000 00
'494,000 00
935, 000 00
1,003,000 00'
. 308, 747, 1,081,000 00
280, 555
1,052,000 00
964, 000 00
267, 305 . 708,778 00
241, 228
666, 730 .Ob
734,024 00
873,685 00
- 300, 857
830, 356 00
- 260,803
' 667,742 00
247, 321
747,171 00
•819,926 00
747, 541 00
' 530,690 00
230,577 . 625,393 00
749, 909 00. ^
,249, 689
630, 384. OO
287, 721
783,895 00.
'746,464 00
188, 943
588,506 00206, 028
626,245 00.
^ 208,720709, 218 . 0 .
211, 425
: 541, 058 00'.
' 252,199
602, 810 00^
. 256,083
567,782 do
381,175 00;
288, 380
803,353" 00,

:S. Doc. 22.



. Tonnage,


. , Salt imported. Dried fish exported.


79, 318'
78,.28089, 856
: . 93,806


li," 622,'163
l l ; 224,185

Value of exports.

Quintals. .
• 277,401-.
258,'870- 206,549.
• 151,088

419, 09i2


„ ^ Maine, 45,528; New Hampshire, 1,916;,' Massachusetts, 39,982; Rhode'Islahdf 371; Connecticut,-6,785; New York, 1,034; total, ,95,616. .
; ''
... .

'Statistics of pickled fish exparted from the United. States aiid imported into
' the same.





: 7,-351
13, 045
13, 743
' 3,143
, .•• '87
. 3,062.
6; 983
, 7,309
• 4,162
• 8,'349

640, 000
.366, 000
.98, 000
282, 000
• §1,000 i .
. 249,108
'248; "417


: . . . . . . . . . . ' . . „ . . . . . . . . ' -57,426
48, ,277
: 4 5 , 440'
-..-.:..•.••. '. , 36,
' '55;
'84,- ,-558
^ 69, 782".
66, , 827
63, ,542
50 ,388
, -^ 85,
1802.V...... i
...:..•...75, ,819
.....-...'.......:.-..:'. ;831
-56, ,670
64, ,615
'.. •-• 5 7 ,
1808...••..'. . , • : . • . . . . . ; . . : . . . . . . • . : .
' -54,' 777
1809....I.-•.--.......^..-•:^.':...:..'1810;..'..::......- J
34, , 674
• 44,
1 8 1 2 . . . . ,; . i J - • . , . • - ,
' 2 3 ,636
• 18,
: . . . : . : . . , '. S,
1815...............•...:....,36, ,232
1 8 1 6 . . . . ; . . . . . . _ , . f . - . . . - . , - . . . . . , 3 3;,-22.8.
44^ , 426
1817, .•...:•.... : - . : . . . : . , - . - . \ 55, ,119
.66, i563
a8i9. . - . . • . , . • - . . . . . . . . - : . : . - • - - . . . ' . .
.87,- ,916
76; ;429
. • ; . : . : . . - . • . . . . . . . . . • . . " : 69,, 127,-728
. 75,"
1 ^ 4 ; . . ' . . . . , . . v - . .>-•..-.:-:...,....•.
' / ^ : ^,559
7 0 / /572^
1825."..o = : , , „ . . . '



1, 726
.1; 842
6, Oii



. S.'Doc. 22.
' i'




E'^porb', :




Barrel^. .


' Barrels.


"> -.-


-1826........I-...: • . . - . . • . . . . : . . . . . .
",. "85,44.5 •
' 240,276
4,205 • 240;737 .
3,207 ' '220,527'
.61,629 •
. • "^
, 7,320
91,787., . ,8,594'
, .2,A0O
' 308;B12' 102,770 •• ' 4 ^ 0 3 0 .
3,636' ^" 277,973
2; 344
.•, . . . . . . . . .
: .3,487'
- „ . . . . . . . . . : : . .,. ^ 48,182'
•.- • 1;4-10,7,
3, 575 - ^ 2 2 1 , 4 2 6
40,516. . '
.' 41,699. ^ . . 2,667 • 192,758
- 3,975
. '
:- 2,252
. 42,-274
.'.'. ... . . . . .
': 3,349
. . 116,042
1843 " • • • ' - . . • •
.30,544 ,
1844'.'.]['. y.'.'. 'f.'. ':l::!..! y ] ] ' . . . ' . ' .
43, 542
197- 179
-"• 208^ 654
• 44,203
.-57, 060:
. : . : . . . . . ; - .31,361
, 136,221
109,315 , • 122,594
. 25, 835
91,445 • • 108,300
1850:.. : v . v . . . . . . . . . : . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
145, 368

. - ..





Fivin the settlement of New England4o the. year 1852.
It is frequently said that the mackerel fishery is of very recent origin,
or that, at least, vessels were not employed in it until a:bout the close of
the last or the beginning of the present century. :B.6th suppositions are
entirely erroneous. The.lndians, regardless of the beautiftif -form aiid
cnlpr of the iish, .called it wawwunnekeseag, on accpunt of its fg.tne;3S;
There is mention of it in the earliest re6brds of the country.. Winthrop
relafes; that, in 1683, the ship Grifhn, two days before lier arrival at
Boston, lost apassengerby drowning, as he was casting forth a line tp
catch mackerel.: The first settlers rnust have commenced the fislierj^
.soon after,-since—to omit several iiii nor incidents—^\ve have the fact
that Alleiton, one of the Pilgrims wh^ came over in the Mayflower,
received mackerel for sale at New Haven,, oh /'half profits,'' iri the year,
1653. :That the business was prosecuted with success is evident froni
the additional fa-Ct, that in 1660 the. commissioner'?-ol the coloiiies of
New England recomiiiehded to^ the general court?; of the confederacy
to regulate it, 'Vconsiderihg" that " t h e fish is the rnost staple cbni

-R; Doc,-22/




ffiodity of this cotintry." The mo,ckerel fishery at,Cape Cod was, held
.by the government of ihe colony of Pl3uxiouth as public property, and
its profits were appropriated to public uses. The records show that it
was rentedj^from time to time, to individuals, who paid stipuiatecl sums,
and that a part of the fund to support the first J/ee-school established b f
.pur Pilgrim fathers was derived from it.
: '
The proposition, to found and endow a school ofthis descriptieiri*«eems to have been rnade in 1663, but not to have been adopted until
seven, years later, when the general• court, * upon" due and serious^':
coiisideratipn, did freely give and gr.a.nt all such profits, as might v or v
should clfiUually accrue to the colony," from this and^the bass and heWv
ring fisheries^ at the same place. In 1689, the ''rent of the Cape fishery
was added to the ^j:jppMpriation for magistrates' salary for that year."
:Exact- statements as tb-the progress> and. extent of the mackerel
fishery previous io the Revolution,'are,hardly to be found; but it is still
certain, that the people of Rhode Island and Connecticut,.-as well as
those of Massachusetts, w^ere "largely concerned in it," and that fleets
of sloops enlpioj^ed'in it were often seen upon the coast arid in the harbors. It is certain., also, that about the yeai 1770j the town of Scituate,
alone, owned upwards-of thirty vessels that, were fenually fitted out
'.as I'.mackeyei catchers;''. and that the whole nuniber of vessels in
Massachusetts was not less thaii-one hundred. Soon after the peace qf
1783,' a Writer in a Boston newspaper,, in a series of articles on American-coinmerce, said that the m acker elfehery " w a s of more, value tp
Massachusetts than would be the pearl fisheries of C63^011."
' '.
f .There is.little of interest relating to,this branch of industry for se^eraf years after the period last mentioned. A highly respectable shipr
inaster, \yho is still living, entertains the opinion that^the fishery in ^'e^ir
sels was commenced within fifi)^^ years; and that ^'he wps personally
.engaged, in the j/?r6-i(; .regular 'maGkerervpyage ever made in New Eng-'
land." His.accpunt,. as related to m e ' b y himself, would occupy tpo^
much room. Its-substance is, that, engaged in the- coasting business,,
for some time, betweeri Massachusetts and Maine, he cominonly saS^
a,ii/l caught mackerel, during the sunimer months, in tl^e vicinitj^.pf thp
island of Mount Efesert;. that,'-believing that they might .be taken in
t[uantiti(2s, he resolved, finally, to fit oat a'Vessel for the.' express: purpose; that liis success was even greater than he had expected, an^,
J hat others were induced to follow his example.. The ofthis
:gentleman probably is, that what he considers •the origin oi the vessel
••fishery wajS only a revival oi it, since We can-'easily i.magine/that repeated losses and-discbufagemerits .iiad caused a. sus^^^^
'^'.-The accomp&ying table of statisfe^ will sha;w the number of:bar'rels inspected annually in Massachusetts since the year 1804.,- and .alsp.'
the:fluctuations and mncertairities of the fishery. It wilkbe seen, th^tj
commencing witli a catch of eight thPuS:and..barrels, the quaiitity was ;
jietriallyi^ss ill. 1808,,aild during.the three yeai^s pf the war of 1812;
that: tlie inspection rose 'to two. hundred a.ndthirty-six thousand, barrels
,iri IB^O,. arid declined more than half iri. the .following ypar; that, again,
increasing in .18,25, and. again declining'until 1829, there was a considerable gainiri 1830, and^that" the largest " c a t c h " dliring^the whole pe^:
Violtwmich it eriibraces was in 1831, when the quantitj^ inspected was

S. Doc. 2f.


three hundred and eighty-three thousand barrels, or onty t^^'^eiWtriidit'^
"sand barrels less than the aggregate for the six consecutive years ending'
i n 1844. V«.






V "

' Legislation in behalf of this fishery has been extremely limited,
legal existence as a branch of maritime industry does not appear to
have been so much-as recognised bj'^ the ^governmelit ofthe Uriited
'States until 1828, when an act was passed by Congfess, which author-;
ized the collectors of the-custom8 to issue special licen'ses foT its prose• ciition, and extended to the vessels employed in it the provisions ofthe .
-laws then in force relative to enrolled und licensed tonnage genemlly.
It has never beeri aliov^ed full protection. In 1824, the Comptroller of
;the Treasury instructed the collectors that it ivas tipt entitled to participate inthe bounty or allowance granted to the qod^fishery," aiid that persons who designed .to claim for. 'J bounty-fishing,.^', ought not tO' be. permitted to compute the time and voyages in which their Ves,sels caught
both cod and rmackerel, as chance or circumstances might 'direct, but
such time and voyages only-'as were exclusiuefy devoted to the catching
of the cod. In 1832, the same officer, in a secpnd circular, defining
the law in another particular, stated that' a vessel under a mackerel
dicense, and withV/'permit to touch and trade"'at a foreign portivhere
she intended to procure her salt ..for the voyage, having but a single
;cable and anchor, and unable to purchase additional ground-tai-kle in
the port where she was owned, vvotild be required, on her return tothe
United States with a cable and an anchor obtairied in her necessity at
such poit, to pay the^ dutii^s thereon; that the fish caught-^during the
voyage would not be entitled to" bounty on expottatioti; arid that '..'it
• admitted of doubt whether siicH fish would not be liable to dtity.'^^' To
, add, that, in 1836, Congress exempted vessels licensed iot' and em-ployed in this fishery from foffeiture. or penalty .for catching the qod^ or
tish of any bther, description, and prohibited the pa3^nient of bounty or
allowance to such, vessels, is, to complete a notice of the most material laws.'andregulatio'ns which, it at the present time, the duty
imposed on foreign mackerel iiriported into .the United States alone
^excepted. . ,
> V
Thisduty, prior to the.tariff of 1846, was specific and ample. The
protection under the ad valorem sysleni then introduced (less than be- '
lore under ..all circumstanees) has, beeti, and must continue to be, ofteti .
{rnerely nominal./ .
' . /
. The modes of catching the rnackerel have varied yvith time, and the
'real or supposed ,changes in the habits:of the fish. The original
method was .probably in seines, .and in the night. John Prince and
Nathaniel Bos-wPrih.petitioned the. general-'cpurt of the colony of
Plymouth, in. 1671, in .behalf of themselves, and their'fellow-townsmen
• ofthe "little arid small place of Hull," -xyithin the jurisdiction of Ma s• saehusetts, to be allowed td continue for mackerel at Cape C.od'l
• and.stated, among other reasons,^ that they and pthers of Hull were some
: of the first'who went there ; and that by "beating-about by everiirig,^
•and' " traveUing on the shores at all times and seasons,", they lnad"dis/ covered the way to^ take them in light as well, as in dark nights.'*' This
^ shows the practice of the early settlei^s. The court of Ptymouth,
however; in 1684, prohibited " the taking mackerer ashore with seines


;. .S. DOC.-22.'

S5f •

• (br n-ets^^-and ordered the forfeiture of these implements, and' the ves^
sels and boats, of persons who violated the decree.
.The mode of catching by "bobbing," or with "fly-lines," is said:lo-)
liave been introduced about the year 1803, by the fishermen of Glou-' ^
oester: these lines are still in use at sea. The course of our fishernien •
in pursuit of the mackerel is comnionly and substantially as follows s-'
T h e master of the'vessel, after reaching some well known resort of tha'
fish, f^iiis all his sails except the mainsail,, brings his vessel's bow to'
'the wind, ranges his crevy at pro per intervals along one of her sidesp>
and, withouit a mackerel in sight, attempts to raise,'scool, or shoal^
by throwing,© v e r b ait. If he succeeds to his wishes,-a scene'ensiles-.
•which can hardly be described, bat which it were worth a trip to the .
fishing ground to witness. I; have heard more than one fisherman say;
that he had caught sixty rnackerel in a minute; and when he.waslold .
:^hat at that: rate he had taken ihirty-six hundred'^ in an hoar, and thatj
with aiiother person as expert, he would catch a whole fare in a singl©
day, he wPuld reject the figares, as.proving nothing beyond a wish to un-.
clervalue his skill. Certain .it is, that some active young men will haul
ill and jerk off, and throw out the line for another;, with a single
.^notion;, and repeat the'act in so rapid,succession, that their arms seerri
: continually orithe-swing. To be " higli4iiie.,"^ is an object of earnest
•d.esire a^mong the ambitions; and the mu.scular ease, the' precision,
and adroitness of moveriaent which such men exhibit in the strife, are
;.admirable. While fne scool reix\diin:s alongside and will take the hook,
the excitememi of,ithe men and the rushing, noise of the fish, in their
. feeai^tiful and manifold evolutions in the water, arrest the attention o|
die mosit careless observer. •
!. Oltentiines the fishing .ceases in-a moment, and as if put an end to
v-by magic : the fish, acPorcling to the fishermen's conceit, panic-stricken
by the dreadful havoc amoiis: them, suddenly disappear from sight.
• Eight, ten, and even'twelve thousand have been caught, and must
V-now be ''elressed down."" ^Tliis process covers the. persons of the creWj
f.he deck, the tubs, and everything near, with blood and garbage; and
as it is often perfbrmed in'darkness and weariness, and under the reac-.
don of ^Gvertisked nerves, the no-v-ice and the gentleman or amateur
fisher, who.-had seen and participated;in nothing but keen sport, become','<lisgas.ted. They ought to' remember that in the recreations of manhood, as in those of youtli, the toil of hauling the hand-sled up hill is.
-'-generally in propoilion t o t h e steepriess and slipperines.s which gave
^: Hhe pleasurable; velocity down, •
, ,' "
-, : . - ^
y-.: 'The approach of night or the disappearance.of the mackerel closing
;' all labor with the hook and, linCj the fish, as they are dressed,; are^
•s thrown intp casks.of water to; rid them ^of blood. ' The deck is theii
.'H6ared;andw'ashed; the mainsail is hauled down, and the foresail, is'
;:hoisted in its; a lantern is placed in the rigging; al,watch is set tp
>>sak the-fish, and keep a lookout fir the night; and the master andthe
' remainder of the crew'at a late hour seek repose. The earliest gleams
'/oi light find the anxious- master awake,'-huriying fbrw-ard preparations,
r for the morning's riieal, and making other arrangernents .icir a renewal

: ;/

' •

'* To catch the greatest iiuniber of



.'•' f


S. Doc. 22.

of the preyious da3^'s work. But the means which were so successful '
then fail now, and perhaps for da3'-s to come; for the capricious creatures will not take the hook, nor can all the art of the most' sagacious
and experienced induce them to bite.
• Repeating, however, essentialtythe operations which I have described^,
from, time to. time, and until a cargo has been obtained, or uritil the.
:niaster becomes discouraged,'or his prpvisions have been con.sumed,.
..the vessel returns to port and. hauls iri at the inspector's wharf, where
^ the fish, ma.iiy or few; are landed, sorted into three qualities, weighed,,
repacked, resalted, and.repickled.. In two or three days she is refitted,
•a:iid on her way to iherfishing ground for a second fare. MeaDtime the
owner, and all pthers who inquire "what luck?" learn frpm' some wise,
-** old salt ".(and thereis,ahva,3^s a Sir Oracle on board) how much knowledge the mackerel have acquired since the previous season. 'Having
been thus employed .until the cold weather approaches, the smaller'
vessels haul up, and their "skippers" pass thewiiiter in cracking nuts,
relating stories, and'accounting for'bad vo3^ages or boasting of good•ones; while the larger vessels.go south, and. engage in freighting. , •
The bait,.which I have said is throwii overboard to attract.the fish
to the surface, is usually composed-of smalt mackerel pr salted herrings
cut. in small pieces. - As econoiny and success alike require a carelul
u%e of it, the master seldom ajlows other hands tlian his own to dispose
of it. It was..formerly the duty of themaii whokept the watch on deck
in the night to cut the bait on a block; but the bait-mill has taken place
oi this.noisy and tedious process. Nothing, certainly, in the time of any
fisherman• now living, has occasioned'.so much its introductiorio'This labor-saving, sleep-promoting machine, as.constructed at first, wa^
• extreme^ simple. I t w a s a box which was made to stand on ^end,, and
-had a crank projecting through its side; while internally it had a wood ei"^
roller armed with small knives,, in rpws, so arr,a]ig'ed that w^hen the
roller was turned,, the fisli'to be grpund or cut up should und.ergo the .oper•atipii by coming between these rows of ^knives and others which were
arranged along .a board that sloped towa.rds the bottoni.. It has been
.improved in forni and efficienc3s arid is in cpmmon use. ,
\. •
^The superiority of sound, strong,, and well-furnished vessels over
those of opposite quahties,>may seem.too apparent to require a word of
notice. Many, poor ones are' nevertheless employed, .and so are poor",
masters; but the misplaced econom3'' of trusting either is becoming so'
^perceptible, that their number-is rapidly diminishing. Yet I may be
pardoned for'relating a. single flict,-illustrative ofthe folly of retaining
in use a solitary vessel that Pught to be,, or due master that seeks to be,,
in a harbor during, any of the gales- which occur on our coast befbre
the equinox. - A few years ago, between Mount Desert and Cape Sablcj,
there were one day three hundred vessels in sight of each other ;-and^
as v/as judged, they vWere mos^tly mackerel catchers, meeting with mpre
-than the average success. The-moderate breeze of the. morning freshened, towards noon, and as night approached there were strong indications of a stoi-m. A movement was ;soon perceptible .throughout the.
fleet, and'it finally-scattered and sailed aw^ay. . The staunch vessels
which were controlled, by stout hearts soiiight an offing; but the rest,
the shelter of the nearest havens. Two thousand men, probably, were


.Doc. 22.



. 359

Miis imerruptea u. neir employment; but mark the issue: the ves sels:
l:liat kept their positions under their storm-trirrimed foresails escaped,
laiiharmexl, and resumed their business early the next day; while the,
, refugees were seen no. more for four days, two pf\vhichw'ere excellent:
for fishing, and during that time many vessels paught froiii a quarter to.;
' a third part of a. fall fare.
What has been.said of the operations on board of a mackerel-catcher
at sea is to be received, as general only, shice circumstances modify
and change the ordinary course, and since, too, some masters adopt
,Eieans to'suit their peculiar whiriis and fa.ncies.*. ,
., As'being, more minute in some.particulars, and somewhat diflerent
in others,.! insert the. remarks of Captain MeLa:ughlin, of. Grand
Menan, as contained in Mr. l^eiiey's excellent report upon the fisheries
of New Brunswick, in, 1851. The captain professes to give the modp
pf proceedings on board of American vessels in the Gulf of St. La:w, rence and the Bay Chaleurs, and stiates that his/observations are the
result of ten years' experience-in the fishery. ^ "The"vessel,"^says be,
^"starts for the fishing ground with the-trail-line' out: if it catch a
mackerel, -the yessel is hove-to onthe larboard,side., The baiter, stands,
amidships, with the bait-box outside the rail: with a tin pint nailed to,
ii long handle he begins throwing out bait, while every man stands
to his berth. If-'they firidniackcrel, the taken-in, and the.
.piainsail; hauled out^with a boom-tackle. Then the fishing begiiiSo
You haul your line thrpugh the left hand with the right,' arid not hand-'
over-hand- as 3'^ou do fbr cod: if you do, ypu are sure to lose your fish
after it breaks water. When your fish is.near coming in, you must
take it by leaning over the rail, to prevent its striking a.gainst the side
of the,vessel, catching the line quick, close to, with the right
hand, unhooking it, with a sling,'into the barrel: with the same motion,
t h e / i ^ goiss out in a line pdraller with your own berth. You must be
quick in case;a mackerel lakes ,your other line, and entangles 3^our
. , •* The British mackerel fishery is unlike ours in several particulars. The vessel's employed
in it are smaller, n'ets are in; more common use, and a much larger proportion ofthe fish
caught are consumed-fresh.
. -.
- ,
'^ .
. The average number of .fresh mackerel sold in London is upvVards of one million annually.
This, fish was, first allowed to be cried through the streets of that^city on-Sundays in 1698; and
the year following, Billingsgate, by act of Parriament, was opened as a free market, with pennission to the fishmongers to sell mackereh on Sundays, previous to the performance of divine
service. ' ;
.' ,'.,.'•,
• . • • . ,..-.•.
., The London market sonietimes allo^\^ the fishermen to receive liberal reward for their toil.
In May, 1807, the first boat-load of mackerel sent there sold at'forty guineas the hundred, or'
for seven shillings each, (the count,is six- sco/e to, the hundred;) and the second fare brought
thirteen guineas the hundred. But iri 1808rthe price on the coast, so large was the catchy was
one shilling only foi* sixty fish. Again, ,in 1828, the supply,was large, and more than three
millions were sent to'London. Iii 1831, the crews of sixteen boats caught in a, single day
:mackerel which sold for £5,2.52, or about twenty-five thousand dollars. .T\vo years.later,
i0,800fi.shAvere brought oh shore on Sunday.,by the crew of ene boat. In 1834, a crew earned
V iii one night up wards, of five .hundred dollars.
,.- .
. The Englislifislim ermen m.ake frequent complaints against 'their French competitors, and
petition to PMliament for protection. A mackerel boat;-with suitable nets and other equipments, may be estimated to cost abouttw'o thousand dollars.. •
. ^ • .
The FreJach mackerel fishery wasestablished by Fouquet, near the close ofthe seventeentli
.century,;priMcipally<at Belleisle; on'''of Brit'tanhy. It.lias>hever aequired great; im-'
gbrtance. The number of vessels from Dieppe (a large fishing'.port) in 1830 was pnlylbrtyfiFfia aild the :catch vas valued at 280,000 livres. ,
., ^
.. ..'


s.. Boc. 2,2:

comrade's. You fish with twp lines, most commonty-seven fathoms
long—that is, in heavy weather. > In calm weather, the jigs are lighterthan when it blows hard. There is aii e j e spliced at the end of the"
line, so that the jig ma.3?^ be shifted at pleasure. There are two other
lines used, called fly-lines, with smaller hooks': when mackerel are shy
in biting, they will often take these. The fly-lines. are; only three
fathoms long; Very often the mackerel stop biting. Then the fishermen take the gaffs, and work with thqse until the fish disappear. The;
gaffs must not be used while the lines-are .out,, as they entangle them,and cause great trouble. No man must leave the railtP pick up fish
which miss his barrel and fall on the deck, until the fishing is over.
Ypu must to dress 3^our mackerel.quickty, as. they are.a :fish;;
that is easily tainted. When 3^Pu stop'fishing,'the captain or mate,
counts the fish, and notes down, in the fish-book what each man has'
'caught. Then the crew goes to dressing: and splitting.. The sphtter
liai a mitten on the left hand, to keep the fish stea(]3^to the knife. T w p \
nien gib the fish,, wi!h:mittens oil, to preVent the bones scratching their',
hands. .One man hands.up to the splitter, while the rest offthe .
drew draw water to fill the barrels in which the fish are put to soak;
The fish are pu.r in the soak-barrels back up. In a short time the
water is shified, and the .fish washed out for salting. The Salter
sprinkles a handful of salt in the bpttoni of tbe-^ barrel, then takes the
fish in his right hand, rolls thein in salt, and places them skin down i n
the barrel until he comes, to thetop layer, ;>vhick he la3^s- skin up, cov^
ering the top well with salt. Herring or small mackerel are the' best
bait that can be used. These are ;ground in a bait-mill by the watch
at night: if the vessel has no .bait-m,ill, the fish are chopped up with a
hatchet, or scalded'with boiling water in a barrel or tub.. ; When tliere
is; a fleet of mackerel-vessels fishing,. the3'-, often lee-bow each other—/,
that is, run ahead of one another—and so dra^v the fish towards t h e .
shore. There they" anchor, and put springs on their. ca:bles,
done by taking a strap outside the hawse-hole arid fastening it to the.
da,ble,.then hooking it tp a tackle, and hauling it aft,, at the same time .
paying Put the cable. This brings the vessel broadside to the -wind or
current, arid the fishing goes on. Boats ma3': flsli with the same success
;as.ves.sels when mopred in. this manner., / T h i s is the whole S3^ste;n^ of .
' mackererfishing, British Pr American, and requii-es nothing but activity
and energy."
>. •
. ;
::AS ali;eady i n t i m a t e d , the mackerel is a capricioiis a n d sportive fish,
arid cpntinualty changing its haunts and.habits., Wheri^flrst seen upon
the cPast in t h e spring; it-is thin a n d poor. It differs essentialty,; fi;om^
-one spasoii to anPther, in size and quality. O n e 3rear it is fiit and,large,,
and is sought for almost.entirely in the,Bay Chaleurs; aaon it is leair
aild-small,-deserts that ba3^'and the adjacent waters, and frequents^
George's-Banks, .or our own shores.* .., Sometimps, our whole fleet seek^
•* Paul Crowell, in a report on the'fisheries of Js^ova Scotia, February, 1852,. remarks,;.
"The mackerel in tlfe spring generally strike tlie south part of Nova Scotia. • From the 18th
tO: the 25 th ofr May they come from the southward, fall lug in with the Kantucket aiid St.
George's Shojal; a largequautity conie through >'the South Channel, and,'wliea'abreast of Cape:'
C.od, their course tovvards the south coast of ^Nova :Scotia. Being bound to Bos'toia this,
ep.riug, about the 18th of May, I inet large schools of laaackerel, about fiHy of ssxty, to th©

S.' Doc. 22/ - •.


it in vain in every American sea; at others, it is so voracious as to leap/
, from the water when lured by a red rag, or attracted b3^ flies and other
insects. Some fishermen entertain very strange conceits wiih riegard
to it, and aver that "it knows as much as a man." Under ordinary
.eircumstance,s,'our vessels pursue it north and east, as the season ad-'^
vances; "make fare.s" in the Bay of Fundy in July and August; in
the- Bay Chaleurs in September'; and sometimes in the latter ba,3^ and
in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in the month of October. More frequentty, •
however, they are followirig it on its'return west and,south, befbre the'
equinoctial gale..
.Of the fis.hery in the waters of New England there is mention, as;
we have seen—incidentally—in the earliest records. The visits ot ihd
va-st>cooZ^ pccurred, probabty,. at intervals, a s ' a t present. Winthrop
westward of South Seal island; they appeared'to be coming from Cape Cod, until nearly o-ver
to the Cape. Their cburse may occasionally vary in consequence of. strong southerly, and ,
northerly winds; they generally fall in on the coast to the westward a few days before they do."
-at Canso and Cape-Breton.', The chief places for netting and seining mackerel in the spring
are the Tusket islands, the -west side'of Cape Sable, east side of Margaret's bay, Little' .
Harbor, White Head, St. Peter's in Cape Breton, Antigonish, and several oiher places. As
'there is no doubt but that the mackerel are,bound to the Bay Chaleurs fiir the^.purpose,of.
spWiiiug, it would lead us to believe that when one fish is taken with the net or seine", thousands
arc destroyed which would otherwise likely come to" maturity. Could the practice-of takihg
the fish with Uieir spawn be abolished, it is likely they would be much more abundant. The
mackerel, after passing the south coast of Nova Scotia, proceed to tlie northward, through the
' Straits of Canso, and to the eastward of Cape Breton, making their \yay northv/ardly until they
areiipwith Shippegan, Bradelle Bank, Gaspe, Seven .tslands, &.c. After having spawned,
they continue about those places as their feeding gi-ound, there being large quantities of lants
there, which they feed upon,-and consequently become fat.
" As the season advances, about the month bf October the fish begin to make their way to
the southward, aiid continue to .do so until the latter pjirt of November. The practice of taking
mackerel with the hook and line, has not been long in operation in Nova Scotia, and I belieye"
there.never has been a voyage made with the hook and line on the'southern coast of NovaScotia except at Sable island, where there have been some good ^voyages made. The fish which
resort here are of a different quality from those which go to the Bay de Chaleurs, being much
larger and fixtter. -In 1850 the fish were plenty and took the hook well, but in 1851 the fishappeared at tiiiies, to be abundant, but wquld .not tahe the hook. Mackerel here feed in
shallow water, within the bars or shoal edges of sand which extend in differerit places, near the
island. The vessels, when employed in the mackerel fishery here, lie at anchor in about six
or seven:fatlioms water, and I am informed that mackerel have been discovered from the mast-^ .
heads of these'vessels, lying within the ridges-of sand,. They are chiefly taken in boats or ,
flats, which^-go over the iidges,'wheii they sometimes appear to be lying ofi the .bottom. Was
there a light-house erected on the northwest end of the island, I think it would be of great
service to those who tend the mackerel fishery, as they often have tp cross the northwest bar
when they cannot ascertainthe distance from-the island.' As the season advances the weatherbeconieSvchangea:ble, and the bars being dangerous to. cross in rough weather, our vessels
mostly leave - after the last^ of September. The American vessels which fit out for:the hook
fisheries are of a superior class to those in Nova Scotia ' Their tonnage is generally from sixty-.
t<) one hundred and thirty'tons, very sharp built,.-well fitted in eveiy respect; those they term
the Sharp:shooters are very superior sailing vessels. This enables them to reach the fishing'
ground and procure their cargo Avhile those of Nova' Scotia are actually carrying sail to reach
the fishing ground. Those ves,sels are likewise well manned, carrying from twelve to twentyfour men; making ah average,.pi'obably,'of about'fifteen or sixteen men to each vessel.; In^ 1851 I was informed there w^ere about one thousand sail of American vessels, which, with au;average of fifteen men,'would give fifteen thousand. Some of these vessels, I heard, made
three trips in Chaleurs bay for mackerel. Some-, after having made one or tvYO trips or fares .
of eodfish, proceed to the Bay Chaleurs, well fitted, taking sufficient barrels to cure their fish .
in.. These are partly filled with menhaden and clams, which aire considered the best bait for
mackerel; others are filled with salt and.water, which make.ballast. Whena*equired for use,
they are emptied of their contents and filled with'mackerel; this keeps their vessels uigood
ballast. They.generally commence their fishing a;bout Bradelle Bank, Shippegan, and follo^y
tlie fish noi-therly, until the season advances, when they return to the north side of PriiiC6;
Edward Island, and Cape Breton.'* . "


S. Doe. 22.

relates, under date of 16.39, that there " w a s such of exceeding
large and fat mackerel upon our coasts this season, as was a great
benefit to all our plantations," and t h a t " one boat, with thYee men,
would take. in a week ten hogsheads, which were sold at Connecticut
for .£3 12s. the hogshead." And it seems, from equally authentic
sources, that similar "stores" relieved the "plantations," occasipnalty,
at subsequent periods. In'Maine, we have ari account of a boat fishery
previous to the year 1648. During the first half of the last century,;
there arejtatements which show, that a single vessel, fishing in Massachusetts ba3^, often took eight hundred barrels in a season.'' In our own
day it has happened, on the sudden appearance oi a,scool, after a lapse
of years, that landsmen, women, and children, abandoned their accaslomed emplo3mientst6^5A with pans, baskets,.tra3^s, pitchforks, and the
like, aild to .prove hpw true it is that "necessity is the rnother of invention." So, too, our fishermen, professipnally"equipped, even to the ilemttv and sou*-wester, recall many an exciting scene between, and off", the
capes of Massachusetts, within' the last twenty-five years!. Thu.s, in
1826, one hundred and fifty Vessels sailed from Gloucester
in one da3', to hook, seine, or gaff', as circumstances should require, the.
mass of fish that appeared near the harbor'of that .poit; in 1831, one
hundred thousand barrels were caught in fifteen days; in 1845, large
quantities were secured from w^harvies and rocks, in boats and on rafts,
in nets aiid .cloths, by dipping and spearing; in 1847, " a store, exceeding large and fat," were seen at sea, off Cape Cod, where boats could
hot safely follow, and, iii the absence of a considerable part ofthe vessels at the Bay Chaleurs, most were suffered to escape; in 184'8, a fleet,
of six huridred vessels and boats caught'twelve thousand barrels in
bne da3^,- and fifty thousand barrels in twelve days; and in 1849., the
success of a smaller, hum ber of vessels, though much less, was yet
sufficient to retrieve the losses of other and more distant fishing grpunds
J n the early part of that season.
- :. '
Serious depressions and ruinous losses in the. mackerel fishery are
not uncommon. Success does not depend on skill and industry ialorie.
" The best masters make "broken voyages," for the obvious-reason that
the mackerel dpes not always a:ppear in sufficient numbers in. any of
the seas or bays of New England, or of British America.. The fishery
fails one year at home, a second ip the Bay of Chaleurs, and a third
everywhere. Seasons occur when those engaged in it lose the use and
outfits of their vessels, and the wages of their nien. . Sometimes the
quahty of .the fish is so poor, that an average "catch" affords np proht;
at others, the successofi.he British colonists gluts our markets. Mean-'
time,, the most enterprising masters and owners, discouraged by repeated
disappointments and lo.^ses, abandon the business, and suffer their ,
wharves'and packing-houses to go to decay.
^ >
In 1851 the fishermen were .fbrtuiiate. The number of vessels emplo3^ed in Massachusetts was eight hundred and fifty-three. The fishery
in our own waters, and in the colonial bays, was alike^ successful;,- and
these.vessels, with eighty-seven others, owned in other States, but whose
fish were, inspected in Massachusetts, caughtthree hundred and twentyliine thousand barrels.
- •


S. Doc. 22.

• The following statistical information, which relates to these nine
hundred and forty vessels, is derived from returns made to the inspector
general offish: - Where owned.

Numbei of


/. - ,
..,. .
Charlestown. . . . . .
Dennis. . . ^
^ -..
.Essex. -•.'
Gloucester. - - - - --.
. .....
Marblehead— -•...
Martha's Yineyard.
Nantucket. Newburyport. _ . . .
Orleans........ ..
Yarrriouth. - . . . . . . .

- 48
' 4
. 79

New Hampshire. . .
Rhode. Island..
Maryland.. - -

• 2




' 7
. 28
^ 2
> 19


. -74'
; 2,885

• 80^

iNumber men
and boys.



. 561
- 577
707• 54



• 71
• 25


S; Doc. 22;

It will be seen, that while more than one half of the Massachusetts
vessels, in 1851, were owned in four towns, more than one quarter be-"
longed to the single port of Gloucester. iVt present, Gloucester is the
great mackerel market of the country, and' the merchants.of many of
the principal cities- have agents there to purchase and ship for them.
Twenty years ago, Glpucester emplpyed but about sixty vessels in the
fishery; and such are the uncertainties and fluctuations of the busiaeg'ss

that its clegline ntay be as rapid a3 has been itg increasie,


S. DOG. 22.


Statistics of the m,ackerelfishery of the TJnited; StateSi
Mackerel inspected.

Tonnage employed.
In MasGachu- Ih N. llaitlpshire-.- '
• setts-. .-•
Barrels i
8, 9m,

1805 . . . a
1807 . • . . . . - - . . . .



1818 ...,...w.

- 1827
1831 . .
1834 ..
1835 .1836..
1837 ..

1845 .«
1846 ..
: 1847 •..
1849 ..
1850 ..
"1852 ..


• 8, 4t3



Barrels i

111 Maine."


16j 170
^ 50,539

. 7,738
•• 8,-865
5', 018
. 1,349
^ 16,394
' 47,210
190, 310
• 225,882 :
' 108i"538
75, 543
64, 451
. 197,768


19, 3f 5
18; 200
^ 630
• 1,075
. 3,Ot3


22, 46'^
24, 312.


* Maine, 9,858; New Hampshire, 481; Massachusetta 39,416? Ehode Island^ 190; Con^
necticut,*594: Total, .50,539.


S. Doc. 22.

Annual return of the number of/bcLrrels,hahes, quarters, and eighths ofbdr^
rels.of mackerel omd^_^q,t/heT^pickled fish, estimated in barrels, inspected in
Massachusetts, for the year ending December 31, 1852, as yer the returns
ofthe dcjyuty inspectors now in the ojjice ofthe inspector genen-al.
Where inspected.

Oloyeester . . .
Hockport ...'.
Truro . . . . . ' . . .
Chatham . : . . .
Dennis . . ; . . . ,
, Hingham.....'.
Plymouth . . . .
Salem .

Number of
barrels.^ ,
10, 290^
3, 235

The above includes all except two returns from Provincetown and one from
Scituat.e,;'estimated' at

: • 1, O O

, Total, 1852.


Keinspected at Boston;..

317, 540|

All other kinds of pickled fish.
Total amount of mackerel inspected in 1852 .
Total amount of mackerel in.spected in 1851 .
Decrease of 1852 from 1851 . . .

197, 768^,
•329,;278 -



S.. Doc. 22.

Statistic? of. foreign mackerel iniported into and exported from: the United.
States, and of dried codfish imported into the same.

I m p o r t e d into E x p o r t e d from
the United
the United






1821 • '
1822 .••.•.-•-.
1823 . . . . . .
1824 ..-..'••.
..'. - . • : ' '
1826 •.•
-. . . / 1827 ..•1828......!...:....


. . ..>... ^:
1835 .•
•••• • • '

1838 . . . k . : . . ' . . J . . . • : . . . . . . . . . . '
1843 . . . . . . . : .
. . ^ . . . •' •
. . . . . . . : : . : . . . .... . . . _ . :
..-.. •
•1850 . . . . . . . ' . . . , • . , . = . . . . . . , . . . - . ' • . . ' . . • . , ' ' .75,491 .










• $24, 303. 00
19, 355-OO
19,262 OO

'4/061 '

. . ' . . . . . . . . i...









2 3 295
18 240





^ 43,709 00
' 4.5,961 OO
2 7 , 7 6 9 00






387 ' .'
. . .
87 ^
38 . ' . . " . . . d o do
. . . . do.
. 850
937 6, 037
• 182
7, 046

-m^........ ......



From its commencement to the yecirlS52.




^ W e hear of,this; flshery among .the Pilgrims.*' In 1641 they rented
* In the reign of James I, of Scotland., we find mention of the Gustom or duty on the exportation of herrings—a proof that the fishery had:^tlien. attained to inapbrtance in Great Britmn,
We t e a m , too,'-that the English;^ thinking it disgraceful that theDutch, their'rivals in com-'
riierce, should derive so much, wealth .from the; coasts of'England, set about prosecuting the
herring fishery, aid in the year 1580 raised,the sum ,of.£80,000 by^a joint stock .company./ ; In 1760, there w^ere employed on the coast of Yarniiouth, England, 205 ve.ssels of frpm thirty
to one hundred tons; In 1826, the s/jore herring fishery of England and'.Scotland empb^^^

,S. Doc. 22.




.the herring i^earat Plymouth for three years to three men, ^*wh6 Were
to deliver the shares of fish, and receive one and sixpence per thousand
fbr their trouble.'' We'hear of it on the coast of Maine, also, a few
years afterwards.' \Josselyn says that the ''herrin^' Were''so numerous, they take of them all summef long." In 1670, he continues,, ''they
were driven into Black Point harbor, by other great fish that prey upon
them, so near the shore that they threw themselves (it being high
-water) upon dry land in such infinite numbers that we might have gone
,half way\the leg amongst them for' hear a quarter of a mile." , He
repeats the account, in his " Chronologic ah Observations^^of America!,"
where he states that so '.'wonderful" was the quantity, that "they were
half-rleg deep-for a mile together.^^^ Of the manner of cooking at that
period he remarks, that " we used,to qualify a pickled herrin by boiling
of him in ^niilk." These incidents are .sufficient to show tlV early


' • ' ' ' . / '




From the fragmentaryknotices of the fishery which> are to be met
with, it seems probable, that, for,a long time, as the- scools of herrings
came to, our coasts, the inhabitants on the sea and rivers, frorn. Maine
to the Carolinas, generally secured sufficient for consumption fresh;
that the more careful provided, themselves with salt to cure quantities
"for future use; and that some, becoming regular fishermen, caught and
our^d the fish for sale to their neighbors of the interior. And that the
practice :was continued, substantially,; without interruption, until the
Waters resdrted to by the herring for the deposite of its spawn were ob^
structed by dams and mills, is hardly t o be doubted.. It is certainly
true that^ on sonieof the rivers, where the fishery is now\ nearly extinct,
the suppty'at the revbllitioiiary era was considered inexhaiistible ; and
that farmers and fishermen" were inthe constant habit of filling wagons
..and boats at pleasure ! with" scoop-nets and -o'ther simple •implements.
Since the peace of 1783, the'herring has abandoned many of its oki
haunts, but is still wears,- seines, and nets, in various parts of
10,365-boats and upwards of 44,000 fishermen; while tliei-nuraber of other persons connected
with it exceeded 31,000-persons. The. quantity t)f herrings^cured in that year vvas; 379,233
liarrel.^s IR 1831, the quautity cured vvas 439,370 barrels.: Two^.year slater, the number of
barrels Was 329^557, of which 181,654 barrels were exported: In 1837,, jthe quantity was. 451,531
barrels, and the largest catch kilovMi; while" the export was 272,093 barrels. The fishery, at
this'time, ernployed 11,284 boats; 49,212 fishennen and boys ; 1,925 coopefsT'and 23,972 men,
women and childreii, ingibbing, packing, and other labor. The quantity of nets in. use.,wa8
more than one million square yard's..
- , Yarmouth is a great herring niart: ^ h e vessels employed in the fishery cost about five
fchoiSisand dollars. The nets form a; large itemln the expenses of the outfit. The fishing voyage is short, not ofteii occupying more than a week or ten dayB.
The commissioners of the- British herring fishery, in their report, 1839, state that in 1810,.
, when the board of commissioners was instituted, the whole number'of barrels of herrings cured
\va§ o\ily aboiit !90,000; whefeas the Slumber in thfe first mentioned year Was 555,559 barrels.
They state, further, that this fishery, as a nursery Tor seamen, is invaluable • that it employs
50,000 fisheiineii, (men and boys,) aiid 11,357 boats, andthat " wiew^ oftJie best of our sailors "
were drawn from it during the wars in which England had been recently engaged.
> •i^tm I'/errmg fishery of Sweden, three, centuries ago, was extensive. Gottenburgh Was,i(;8
principal seat. The fish finally, disappeared from the coast, as is said, and did not again
appetir for a long time. About the year. 1660 the business was nearly extinct- but the catch
was lai-ge during.'the fifteen succeeding years. From 1675 to 1747 the herring disappeared.
From the lasjbnientioned year to 1770,fishwere abundaiit, the produce of the fishery averagin^g,
p.robably, 150,000 barrels, 'In 1833, upwards of 48,000,barrels of herrings were imported into
^Sweden; «aad iia 1840 tibe Gottettburghlishery^^
. • t

.:;H..,Doc. 23.,

^ S69-^-

.' the United States. Notice of the fishery in particular towns and neighbor hoods is not necessary, and our attention will be confined J:o such
places as will serve to give a general view of it as prosecuted on both
- riyers and seas.
' .
. Washington', in describing his Mount Vernon estate to Arthur Young,
remarked tliat'its margin was "washedby inore than ten miles of tidewater;" t h a t " several valuable fisheries appertained to it;" and that
"the whole shore, in. short, was one entire fishery." A shad or herring
fishery appurtenant to> an estate on the P.otomac aidds much to. its value
^ at the present time. As elsewhere, the. herring sometime^ fails to ap^
. pear in this river, and the disappointment of the: planters and their
' servants is extreme. There are yedrs of great success.'" In 1831, fift}^,
- and even^ one" hundred thousand fish were frequently taken at a haul..
^ In 1836 no'less than,t:hree hundred,wagons were'at at one
- time, each teamster '' -waiting his turn." : On the other hand, the fishery
in .18'43 was unprofitable: and disastrous;•the outfit was large, and
.' many iiew landings were opened., but tHe fishermen cut out their seines '
.at the,-close of the seas.on unrewarded a.nd in sadness. Better results
.followed in'1844, and the businessof catching, buying, counting, dressing, washing, and sahing, wa.s; animated at most of the principal land. ings on both sides of the river, from Alexa^ndria to the vicinity of the
•Gapes.- Ill 1851, fourteen, twenty-five, .and in;: onfe,.cas6 niiiety-five ^
thousand herrings were taken at a haul, and those engaged in the fishery
,' were fairly rewarded for their capital and labor.^ : " - k.
' . T h e sea fishery in. Maine, from the Penobscot loathe frontier, and in
; the.Bay of Fuiidy, is thO; most important. ' T h e herring in this region '
is cured by salting and smoking, and by salting and pickling. .When
• - b y .the first. method', it is .packed'.in boxes; when by the, latter, in .
"barrels. . T h e y were caught for many years by irieahs,' principally, of .
lighted tprches, made of the outer bark of the white birch. T'^he prac• tice was, and, to some extent, still is,"^ to place a light ofthis description
. in the bow of a small boat, about the favbrite resorts ofthe herring, on
' • very dark nights, and to bail in,* with .a dip-net, all that were attracted
; to the surfa:ce of the water. A boat requires four men; onetb dip, two'
, to row, and oiie to steer.'. While'in pursuit," the boat moves with great
velocity, that the fish.may-be induced to follow the light, and that they
:, rnay be kept within reach of thd man 'with the net, who: stands iii the
bow. • The islanders in the Bay of Passamaquoddy have a story that
, the disco-ver}^ ofthe attracting properties of light was aecidental. They
relate- that .a fishernian who lived on Gampo^Bello,* and who chanced
one iiight'to b e o n the.side of-one of its, little' harborsvopp.osite;to his\
' own house; on" remerribering. that he had .nb'fire at home, took sonie
'.^chips and; coals in a skillet Jo ca:rry across;- that, duiiiig the'.passage, '
the chips took fire and bla,2ed u p ; aiid, on- his landing, he fpund that a
large number :0f herrings fha:d fQllowed him t o the shore;;, and that this,
circumstance induced experiments, which ^resulted in, abandoning.- the
• fofme'r practice of using "set-nets "- and "wears," ' ..But whatever the
pfi^-in .ofvthe tor
^ ihe .inhabitant's of the frontier /
^^;jin.island opposite-Eastport, and on the British. side of the bay, and owne'd by Adiniral
:- Owen>: ofthe royal navy;
. "
. '
- /
- '\ •






. .






















































H. Doc. 23.

towns of Maine, and to the sojourners among them, an attractive scerie..
To watch, from the head-lands and beaches, the movements of the
"herring-drivers," has been a recreation there, of some, for years. The
spectator sees a spacious harbor, and the coves and indentations in its
neighborhoodj niost beautifully lighted up, as with hundreds of lamps,
and each light heaving and falling with the motion;of the sea. Far i n
. theoffing th^ torches,, no larger to the eye than a candle's flaine, -move
and dance, approach and. cross each other, and then vanish .away;.while nearer, and perhaps within a stone's throw ofthe positi.oii which
'. he occupies, their red flare .will reveal every; act" of thejBshermen, as,
time after time, the fish are bailed into the boat.. On ship-board, too,
when entering or leaving the-Tassamaquoddy, these lights, seen in all
directions, serve to relieve lonehness, and to excite.interesting imagin-;irigs. Set-nets .and wears are becoming favorites again, and it is not
' irnpossible that in a few year sth e torch-lights will-be coinpletely extinguished in some of the harbors, and be very much diminished inall.
The herringskntended for smoking are washed soon after they are
canght, and the. scales of all that :are fat enough to shed them are forced
off by friction, when they are salted away in cas-ks. As soon as they
are sufficiently "struck" with the salt,.they'are again washed, spitted
, or strung upon sm'all round sticks, and hung up in the smoke-house.
. In spitting,;as well as in-hanging them up, great care is necessary to
prevent the fish from touching each" othen.-. They are placed, tier above
tierj upon wooden fixtures supported by joists until the'house is fiill.
^ The distance from the lower tier to the floor is commonly^ about 'seven
feet. Fires of wpod are now lighted;.,and the great. a:rt is to manage
these' fires in'a proper manner, inasmuch as they must neither be' too
quick nor too slow, and at times they require to be extinguished. Rock.maple wood is best; but any kind-pf fuel green from the forest is prefer; able to the old and water-soaiked wopd sometimes iised, to the serious
injury bbth of the color and the flavor of. the fish.,. The smoking occupies several weeks. To cure .herrmgs vvell, gpdd weather is quite as
necessary as good fuel and carefully-tended'fires. .' After being sjifficiently, smoked, the fires are. allowed to go. out; and as ,soon as the
house has becoine cool the fish .are'taken down,;slipped froni .the sticks,
sorted into three qualities; and packed in boxes. The houses,in which
the smoking is done: are mere huts, without floors, and without other
finish than rough-board walls,, and rppfs of the^ same, battened, with
slabs, 'in some; cases, hoWeVer,. a wiser use is made of money, and
sufficient expense is incurred; to erect durable buildings. The upper
part and the roof are always intended to be tight, both to retain the
, snipke and to exclude the rain and damp. Thesehouses. are of various
' sizes-^some being large enough to hold one thousand boxes of the fish
on the sticks, while others will contain no more than a' fourth pairt of
that quantit:y. ] The^ largest and best finished are the most'economical.
. 'The business of smoking herringsks confined., mainly to the .region • of
which we are. liowv speaking. The price imtlie markets to which they
are usually sent is sometimes ruinpusly low, and;the fishermen are often
, deprived of adequate recompense for their labor. The quantity exported fi'-om, the; eastern part of Maine often exceeds eighty thousand
boxes in a yea!f, while the average of ten years may; bq estimated at


H. ..Doc, 2S.


three fourths of that quantity. Besides these, some thousands of barrels'are annually pickled. The kimd known among dealers, as the
gibbed herring, when properly dressed 'and cured, is a good article of '
food, and a substitute for the .second queility of mackerek
Another 5e<7/fisliery. is that at the Magdalene islands, in which our
citizens are allowed to participate by treaty stipulation. It has been
thought to be of considerable value as a. means of employing vessels
(tbp, smallfor carrying fi'eight with profit) in the early part of the season. It has been'prosecuted,, with various success.. Our vessels visit
these islands rin'.'spawning time," when\the ,herrings are poor, >and °
the quality, if:well cured, is not command a high price. ^ For- meiiy, so little tiine and care were bestpwedupon them, that m*any were
.unfit for humaii food. .Salted in bulk, as it is termed, they remained in
the hold of the vessel until her arriyal in port, where they were packed'
without being washed, and. sweltering in all their impurity. Some
masters and owners, to their ^.credit, have always been at the labor and
expense of curing themin a proper and wholesome mariner... Of late, ..
^smoking has,been found preferable to pickling; and whenever the fish'6ry is: successful, many thousand bpxes are sent to: market. : The seine*
• is in coinmoEuse at the Ma.gda:lene islaiids. vThC'kind best adapted to
• the fishery is large, requires some twenty or-thirty meirto manage it,
arid is capable of enclosing and bringing to the shore; several hundred
.barrels at a hauk Captain R . F a i r , in command of lier Majesty's shipoi-war' the Champion,-'visited':these i.slands. officially in M.df, - T839,
• and aftW die Gpmniencement ofthe fishery. ^ rHe found the "quantity v
of lierrings.'veiy.great,.exceedlrigthat of any former year; and the expertness and; perseverance of the American fishermen" to. be " f a r
beyond that of the "colonists. "About one hundred and forty-six sail
of American fish ing schooners,, of, from' sixty to eighty' t pn s,' and e ach
carrying.sevefipr eight men," were engagisd in it, he continues, and
caught. " nearly seven hundred barrels each;" making for the number
stated,'" a. presumed product of one hundred thousand barrels, of the
value'of one* hundred thousand pounds sterling; the. tonnage about ten
thousand,,and the-number of men about one thousand." Whatever the
statistics ofthe year in question, the average quantity of herrings caught
by our vessels is not probably foity thousand barrels"; wiiiletlie price—
wpbuiul sterling the barrel—^is quite.-fifty per cent., I suppose, above that
' * The machine for the maniifactiire of "bobbinet" is connected sufficiently with our general
subject to justify brief reference" to it. The fi,rst machine was perfected iu the year 1809.
From,a minute.iiccbunt oC,the invention the folio wing facts a:re obtained. A workman of JsTot•'dngham,Engk.nd, ^einployed in making machinery, for the ,miahiifacture of fishingruets, seized
.upon'a hint furnished by a child at play, and discovered by that' means a mode of forming the
>feobbmand carriage, as, now used-in the bobbinet machine: .At fii^st, theliiventionwas confined,to the manufacture of fishing-nets, but was filially, and after many failures, extended to
Jthe niakiiig of lace. „ The value of lace niade by. machinery thus'introduced is'now immense. .
By reference to-the^statistics.of 1831, it appears that,.in seven to\\Tis and cities, in England',
ithirty:Oiie thousand persons are employed in'making, and ene hundred thousand women and
children-obt^un a considerable portion of their subsistence by embroidering .it. 'The quantity
of cotton required" yearly is .2',460,000 pounds, the amiual manufacture is 30,771,000 square
yards, and."tlie 'amiual value.'is £1/850,650, and the.permanent,• capital employed about
£2,000,000, Nor is "this all; the'manufacture • has been extended to the continent, and
10,000,000. yards, or "about one-third ef. .the' quantity made in' Great Britain, it is estimated, is
.'produced there, • - •,
/ . :' ' \
. ;
.• - ' 'k


''H. Doc. g g .




generally received in any market in the United States for the article of
" Magdalene herrings:"
Herrings fatten as the season advances; hence those taken accasionally by vessels employed in the cod-fishery on the coast of Labrador
are as unlike those/just mentioned as' possible. It is to be regretted that,
so few fat and well-flavored. herrings are procured for consumption at
home, inasmuch'as a more abundant supply offthe gibbed. fish, caught
in the'Bay of Fundy^and more distant regions in a:utunin, would doubtless lead to the' disuse of the.inferior kinds pf dried fish, and; render
poorer,and badly cured herrings entirely,unsaleable.
In America this fishery' has pver oecupied a: subordinate pia:ce.. But
some ofthe cities'of Europe owe miueh of their ^present commerce arid
importance tp the wealth acquired in its prPsecutipn. To persons who
are familiar with the character,arid rank o.fthe mass of herriilg-cateliers
of Pur dayV an account of the mania on this subject in-Eiigfand two cen-=
turies ago seems almost incredible.*'Without space fpr details, .or .
even to relate incidents" to show how vast were the projects, arid how
magnificently rich were the joint'stock associations, which'were formed
by noblemen and , princes of the blood—to catch herrings'-—I can only
remark'that the"" operators"'' in timber lands and'corner lots of cities:
. : * Fishing.manias in Great, Britain, have been frequent. We will .briefly iiotice several of
them. To commence-no-earlier,'there was one in 1677, whea the Diike of York, as^d other
personages of rank, were incorporated iiitO'a 'body entitled the "'Company of the^'Royal Fishery
of England." This, company seeins to have exhau.sted its" capital infittiiigkut "'•6Msses,"or
^vessels built in-Holland, and; manned with Dutch herring-catchefs, and to, have been. ruine(^
, by the ca})ture of a' large partof their vessels in a war with France... ' ,- . •
A second'was in 1720, when two thoii-sand of the principal gentlemen of Scotland .formed a.
. company fbr'the.prosecution; of the herring fishery, • This'was a* time noted; for speculations ;
and the> Scotch Company.—a mere bubble—soon burst, lea-vlng the shai^ moum '
oyei" their folly. •
. ; , •
' . •
A third occurred in 1750, when a company was incorporated with a capital of £500,000,
of which the Prince of Wales was. president, or governor." His associates vfere asnong the
first men in the .kingdom. General James Ogletlibrpe, the founder of the State of Georgia,
was a prominent'member, and, on'delivering the Prince the'act;of incorporation, made a
speech, which was publi-shed. The public excitement* was int'ense; the stock was subscribed
• for immediately; vessels were built and equipped ^vitli the utmost rapidity, and artifices-were
resorted to. in order-to ascertainthe Dutch method of curing the herring" .But the project . failed—as the'Earl of Winchelsea and soiiie other peers predicted it would-^at.the'omset.
The suspension of this company was very injurious to the British herringrfishery generally for,
' a,considerable period. •• • .. • • '/• .'..• '.'.'.•/,
;- ' • .'•
• •
Men have been ruined in our -rnvn .times for indulging in the same, visiohaiy schemes..
• In 1803, some- Enghsh theorists of. rank and .influence reconimendech a national fishery on avast scale. The plan was plausible, but- too'complicate:d: These gentlemen pipposed " that
there shbuld be a grand .national - corporation,kinder the immediate protection and superm"
tendence of Parliament," with a.c'apital stock' of ——', which was to be raised in shares by
the seaport to^\^ls;alldcorpol•ations, proportioned to the advantages of locality and the amount
of their trade and tomiage, and an amiual dividend,of Sjie'r cent..was to be:guarantied on the
caiiital. ' Conveniences • for' shipping, storehouses, s.heds,' &c.., were to be ? constructed iii
places contiguous tb the best'fishing-grounds.' "'"A free use'of salt' was to-be granted to 'the
managers without any interference of the revenue officers.'' .^' The fish taken.and cured,',were 'to be exempt from all duties whatever,' and, 'on:the other hand, no bounties' were k o b e
given.' 'Fishei-nien, disabled by accident, age, or infirmity, and the widows and childi-en of
fishe-iineh,' were 'to be iiirovided for.' Finally,' 'the corporation' rwas 'to be authorized to ..
propose rules foivtheregulation.and discipMe of tli®-fi^:^<^iy-'''
As late as the^year 1825 we have'similar projects^ (tliGu,gh.of private comp'anies;) since,
among, the immense, joint-stock concerns;wliich burst diiring the' commercial revulsion of
• that period,: we-find three fishing, companies whose aggregate capital (noniinally)-amounted t©
the enormous sum of £1^660,000, or nearly:eight millions of dollars-; |.-. "


H . Doc. 2 3 . •


blinder., water, of 1834, were more 'sensible, as well as more successful,
•than these speculators of former days.

The halibut fishery on George's Bank is ' enterprise. It was
-commenced within a few years by the. adventurous, fishermen of Cape
Ann. Pursued in mid^winter,, it is as hazardous an employment as can
cweU be imagined.
• : " "
" '
While the. fishery was confined to the cpast, the consumption of the'
fish was'very limited.. In April,, 18.43, the Norfolk Herald amiPuriced
that." Our market, yesterday morning, .'was'enriched with .a delicacy
irom the northern waters, the halibut—a ^^^ra^^g-ej^sA in these parts, known
only to eyicur'es and ^naturalists.'*'* . " ^
- _,^ > .
The .-New Orleans Picayune, in' May of the. same year, contained a
::similar . At present, the fish,, p.acked in boxes with ice, is
-sent sound and^sweet, by railroads and vessels, to the most distant-secr
, .;.fions of the country.
,; • .
* • ; ./
Vessels einployed ori.the bank are^absent from port frorn six to fourteen days.' • The^aveirage catch of halibut is perhaps, two hundred to a
.vessel, though some obtain double that nuiriber. . The weight ofthe fish •
is-froni fifty,to two hundred pounds. - .
^. F o r some time,, dealers in. Boston purchased, packed, and shipped
the fish almost exclugively; but a company was finally formed, at Gloucester for the. purpose of .transacting this" part ofthe business, as w.ell as
•the other. The. fishe'rmen, however,-resort: again to Boston; for this
company, after losing a considerable part, of their capital, relinquished,
$heir design.'
\ .
- • ; • ^., '
^ The giwvth ofthe fishery ha,s been rapid.^- The number of vessels
', owned at Gloucester, was thirty in 1844;. sixty-three in •
1848; and about seventy-five i n . April, 1852. The present fleet contains many new, well-modelled, and. fast-sailing vessels. The value of,
the halibut caught in 1851 was upwards'of sixty thousand dollars^^ ; .
The-earnings of the yessels sent to the bank, are generally ample;
feut the fishery is not profitable, in consequence of the extraordinary
wear and tear of sails and rigging, and, the frequent loss of cables and
anchors. More than all, hardly a seaspn passes.without'appalling dis-.*
asters^., Whenever avesselis lost on George's,.'a:ll, on board perish.
An .American citizen inay contend, if kie will, for the repeal of our
bounty laws*; he may favor.a low duty, or no duty whatever, on fpreign,"
fish;; but he is bound to honor the courage and the perseverance pf the
lialibut 'catchers of Cape. Ann, .who, mid the stormy and gales of a,
hqrthern winter,- procure for hini the. luscious napes, and fins which garnish ..his board-. ' -, \

H. Doc. 23.



The interval in our annals between the .discovery and the settlement
of North America is often regarded as a mere blank; and the opinion
is prevalent that our fisheries have np^history, but such,'as relates to the
quantity and quality of food which they annually produce.. It may be .
hoped that something has been done in this report to .correct these,
errors, as well as others which" exist with .regard to, our subject g.ener-^
ally. , We have seen that fishermen were the, pioneers of British and ,of
French civilization t n America; that by their severe toils they taught'
other - ad venturers to the New World to v rest their hope^ of success on ,
regular and useful employmeiits; that the intercourse which, they maintained between the two continents kept alive desires which otherwise
might have biecome extinct; thiat .they perslevered when all; others were
defeated or discouraged;, and that the arrival upon our coast, for nearly
o r quite a century, of hundreds of-fishing vessels",'gave rise to events of
momentous consequence. ';
-In the course qf.^our' mquiries, we have aseertaimed that France was^
directly indebted' to her fishermen for the immense domains which she
acquired in this hemisphere; and that the failure of several attempts to>
found English cplonies at Newfoundland hastened permanent settlements in more genial region's. W& have seen that lpng;before an Englishman had a home in."America, a law was passed to correct abuses on
our fishing grounds; and that, contemporaneous, with > the founding ofT
New England, Parhamentf after; an excited debate, broke down the
company of court favorites who claimed the'monopoly- of pur seas, and
asserted the principle of "free-fishing with',all its incidents'^ as the
right of every subject. W e have, seen, too, that the strong and repeated
.declarations of Smith, the father of Virginia^ that the waters; of New
England were richer and its soil and climate were better adapted to husbandry than were those of Newfoundland, were known to the Puritans,
who came to Plymouth and to those who came to MassaGhusetts proper,'
and had a contrplHng influence with other Englishmen whose thoughts^
were'tmned, by persecution or, the love of adventure, ;to the northerly
part of America; whilekt has also appeared thatMhe founders and proprietors of New Hampshire, Maine, and Maryland,.; before obtaining,
these possessions, were interested in the fisheriesof^Newfoundland.
We have ^seen that, the founders of Venice, and of the cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, were fishermen; that the same humble class
of men gave the .first impulseko the-commerce of Holland -and'Denmark, and an immense.-, increase to that of England; that, previous to
the development of other respurces, the fisheries were the life-blood of
our own conimerce, not only'with the mother country, but with every '
other people with, whom we had lawful or illicit trade. : We have seen,
that through aUthe wars and territorial arid maritime disputes between,
Fra,nce and England, touching their respective possessions in America;;.
.thr.ough all the changes arid chances of our cplonial siibmission,.fi-onsv
its commencement to its termiiiation; thro.ughthe war of the Reyplisir

H. Doc. 23.


tion, and the negotiations for peace; in fhe convention that framed,
and in the State conventions that considered, the constitution of the
tJnited States; in the first Congress; arid in the negotiations at the
close of the war of 1812, the fisheries occupy a prominent place, and
were often the hinge on which turned questions of vast impoilance.
"We have seen, that once,- entire communities seemed to believe that
no way to wealth was so sure and so rapid as adventures for herrings'
and codfish; and that men ofthe highest raink, and of the most shining
talents, accordingly,-set their'hopes and fortunes on the cast of the net
and the line. W e have found that eminent writers on matters of coii>
merce and navigation, and statesmen of world-wide fame, have declared that "the English .naivy became .formidable alone by the dis^
cOvery of the inexpressibly rich fishing banks of Newfoundland;" that
writers of acknowledged judgriient have observed, that " b y the codfishery in America, the ria-vy of France became formidable to all Europe;" that our own statesmen of the revolutionary era considered that
we.' also must look to our fishermen tp man our riavy; and that a French ,
minister ofthe present time expressed the'opinion, in 18,36, "that witliout the resources which were found in the sailors engaged in the fisheries, the expedition to Algiers* could not have, tal^en place." The grateful.duty of speaking of the .patriotism and public services
of American fishermen remains to be performed, and will riow occupy
our attention. \ That, during tlie whole period of our colpnial vassalage, they •'^were'ever among the^.foremost to en<er the ships and armies
furnished by the colonies to aid Englknd in her struggles with France;
that t h e y were engaged in every strife in :;French America; that- they
lie buried-on every battle-ground; in Capada arid' Nova Scptia; and
that their remains were committed to every sea, are facts which have ,
alre.ady appeared.t I would not magnify their exploit's in the war for
freedom; for, as'we all know, "the mailed hand of k^a^ war w^as
thrust into the casements of our fathers' hpuses, his blood-stained footsteps were in the streets, over the fields,' upon, the thresholds, and at
the hearths of. our mothers;" but I "may still say, that the fishermen'
were driveri from their employment; that they-were absent as soldiers
in the army, and. as seamen on'board pf the public-arid private armed
ships, commissipned by .Congress;, that their: ;Vessels were stripped
naked to the liiaLSts, a n i rotted at the wharves and on the beaches;
and that their famihes, deprived,of their usual means of support, were
reduced to despair. / '
. k
The pepple .of Plymouth depended almost entirely for subsistence
* Algierswas conquered by the French,in 1830, when Abd'el Kader, who, next to Mehemed
All,is "the most remarkable individual tn the existing ,Mohamniedan>world,".commenced his
public career.
^ t Fishermen fought the battles of their country in remote ages., Four hundred years before
the Christian pra, and in the time oT Nicias,-Plutarch relates, that in an engagement .between
the Syraeusans and Athenians, " Not only the men from the ships, but the very boys from the
fishing-boats and small barks, challenged the Athenians to come out, and ofi'ei'ed them, every
kiiid of insult. - One.of--these boys, named Herachdes, .who was of one of the best faroilies in
Syracuse, advancing too.;far, was pursued by an Athenian vessel, and came very near, .being
taken. His uncle, Ppllichus, seeing his dajiger, made up with ten galleys which were underhis
command;, and others, in fear, for Pollichus, advanced to support hiin.. ^A sharp conflict ensued, in which the Syraeiisans were -nctdrious, and'Eurymedon and nunibers were killed."

H. Doc. 23.


upon the seventy-five vessels wiiich they employed in the cod-fishery; ;
and though the difficulties with the mother country, if civil war ensued,
threatened them with ruin, they espoused the Whig cause, with alacrity. When the tidings ofthe bloodshed at Lexington reached them, sixty of
these vessels were iri their harbor; the fishermen, supplying themselves ,
with arms, marched to meet the- royal troops, and by the time they
arrived at Marshfield, their number, by acquisitions from different
towns, was nearly one thousand men.' The people of Salem and
Beverly were like zealous: frorn the opening, to the close of the con-.,
test, they were extensively engaged in fitting out and manning," piiva- .
teers,; a n d i n ' a single-seasori,'despatched to sea, to prey upon British
coEQ merce, fifty-two vessels,* which mourited about .seven hundred and
fifty guns, arid'carried crews of nearly four thousand men.
At the revolutionary era, Gloucester was a place, of inconsiderable .
note;' yet sixty-five men for the Whig army at Cambridge were eri~. ^
listed there in four days, and two companies of Gloucester: fishermen
shared . in the glories of Bunker's Hill., Upon the - oceari they "were.
even more numerpus; arid thirty,married men, belpnging to that town,
perished in the wreck of a.sirigle privateer.
- .
/, .. ' '
The privateers owned in Boston, Salem,-Marblehead, Beverly, and •>
Newburyport,'and other ports in Massachusetts, in the.single port^of
New Hampshire, in Rhode ^Island, and elsewhere in New England,
were among the most efficient instruments employed to harass the <
enemy? and their - success had no iriconsiderable influence upori' the^^:
result .of the struggle. Tt is stated that the private armed vessels of"
the Whigs, captured more than fifty thousand-tons oi British shipping .
in the year 1777, alone;, while Curwen, a: Salem loyalist, vvho fled to.
England, mentions i n his journal, that Lloyd's coffee-house books-show,
that from May, 1776, to IFebruary, 1778, th'e American privateiers (one
handred and seventy-three in number) made prize of sevens hundred
and thirty-three -British yessels, which,, with their cargoes, were worth ,
more thari twenty-five rnillions of dollars,''after, deducting the value of.
the property retaken and restored. Omittirig details, it may be stated,
.on the authority of other^ accounts, that from the commencement to the
termination of the war of the Revolution, quite tWb hundred thousand
tons of British shipping were captured and'destroyed; that such were,
the losses, and such was the terror of the '"rebel privateers," that the .
underwriters finally demanded,- and .'the merchants, paid, premiums of .
' thirty, forty,, and. evenfift}^-per cent., to insure ships and cargoes frPm .
England to America; arid that, the^ mercantile interest kbecame, at last,
so claniorous. asko render the War unpopularj and. to embarrass the •
ministry in their irieasures to cqntiiiue it.
,. -. . \
k" The services of the people of Marblehead are entitled to particular^
notice. They were invaluable uponthe sea and u pon the land. When,'
in 1774, the port of Boston Was shut by aet..o.f.Paiiiament,'they tendered to their suffering brethren of the capital the .use of their wharves houses free of charge.. The .first actual avowal of offensive
hostility a,gainst Erigland which is to be fourid in the revolutionary .
annals, is an- act passed -the Provincial "Congress of .Massachusetts •

• • * ' ' C h i e f l y OAvned'in'Salem and B.everly.'' > -^ . • '






H...DOC. 23,:-


in November, 1775. It was framed by Elbridge Gerry, a merchant of
Marblehead, whose business^depended upon the fisheries. - It author- ,,
ized captures upon the sea. With "its preamble, it was printed inthe
London Magazine as a political curiosity;" and .John Adams, calls it.
"one pf^the most important documents in the history of the Revolution."
Who "hoisted the first American flag?" arid td whom "the first British
flag, was struck?" are questioris in dispute bestween the friends of differ- ,
ent claimants; but Mr. Adams confers both honors upon John Manly,*
,of Marblehead, who captured a transport having; on board a mortar,
which, transferred to Dorchester heights, "drove the English army
frorri Boston, arid; the navy from the harbor." The fishermen of this
town appear to be entitled to the sam§ precedence in naval affairs ''.
under commissions authorized; by the ContiAientalCongress,,since it is
stated. that John Selman and Nicholas Broughton were the first com- .
maiiders appointed by Washington after he assumed the direction of affairs. ' Another i commander of merit was Mugford, .who took' a .
powder ship early in the'war, and perished in the enterprise. "And /
still ariother was Samuel Tucke.r, kvho, successful beyond his compeers, is said t o have captured' more British guns: and British seamen
than Paul JOnes, or any other captaiii in the service of the thirteen ,
States.t,. Of the exploits of individuals of humbler jank, two examples
rnust suffice. In 1783 "three, lads" were put on board of a brig at
Quebec to be sent Erigland; on the passage they gained ^,
possession o f t h e vessel and carried her safely to Marblehead, their
native town. The same year, three other young fishermen—-all.,
minors—prisoners inthe Biitish armed ship Lively, conceiyed the plan ,
of capturing, her; and, inducing, ten other prisoners to join therii, were
successful; and conducting their prize ' to Havana, made -sale of her 'for a large sum." • . , '
; ; ^
• \,
<• '
For service in the field,. Marblehead raised one entire regiment. It"'.
has been remarked of these "fishermen soldiers" that, inured to.fatigue
and hardship,they were not reduced by sickness or camp diseases
during the vvar.' This regiment composed a part of the force of the
illustrious commander-in-chief in hisk'etreat through New Jersey, arid ,
in the .crisis of the Whig 'cause. The Americari army, composed of.
regulars and militia, hardly three thousand in, number, almost desti-;^
tute of tents and utensils for cooking, badly armed,' neaiiy naked arid barefooted, dispirited by losses, and worn down by. sufferings, were
pursued, in-November and December, to the northerly bank ofthe.,










' •





, . .



: .



* Capt. John Manly received a naval commission from W:ashingtoii,^ October, 1775. His first
command was'the schooner Lee. He was subsequently in-command of the frigates Hancock,
and Hague. He died in Boston in 1793, and was buried with distmcrion. .
t Captain Tucker, took John Adams to Europe in 1779. -On the passage he fell in -with art ttiemy.. It wQ,i agreed to fight her,.and-also that Mr. Adams should retire belo-w; but Tucker
soon observed him, with a gun, fighting, as' a common marine, 'and in tones of authority"'
ordered him to leave the deck'. .Mr. Adams, however, continued at his post, when, at last, ; '
Tucker seized'him and forced him away, exclaiming as he did so, " / « m commanded^ by the
.Continental Congress to carry you in safety to Europe^ and.J ipill do it !^^ It is-believed thiat.'
Tucker was as brave a man as. ever lived. ^After the Revolution, he removed to the " Ancient •
Pema.q[uid," or Bristol, Maine, where f6r some years he was interested in his old avocation. •
He died at Bristol in 1833. The government, in their tardy justicej;granted him a pension ;of$600 per annum a few months previous to his death. . He was. nauch respected, and received
several gratifying tokens of regardfrom the people of Maine."
• •.


H. Doc. 23.


Delaware, by the well-appointed army of the enemy, flushed by success, and panting for a last decisive, victory. For a moment, the
destructipn of Washington, either from the waters in front or from the
royal troops in rear, seemed certain.; The heroic daring bf the men .
who, perhaps, saved him, and With him their country, is nowhere
, related in history. But Henry Knox,* the chief of artillery, whose own
services on the occasion will ever be remembered and excit.e.admiration, has done them justice. After the peace, and while \Gen.; Knox
was a iriember of the legislature of Massachusetts, an application was'
made by citizens of Marblehead for the charter of a; bank. Their i
petition was opposed. He, ro se: and stated their claims. " I ain sur-.
prised," he said, "that Marblehead should as'"k so small a privilege as :
that of banking, and that there, should be opposition to it. Sir, I wish
tlie members of this body knew the people of Marblehead as well as I
do., I could wish that they had stood on the banks of the Delaware
river in 1777, in that bitter night when the commanderkn-chief had
drawn up his olittle army to* cross it, and had seen, the ppwerful current
bearing onward the floating masses of ice which threatened destruction
to whosoever should venture ^upon its bosom. I wish, that w;hen thi.s
occurrence threatened to defeat the enterprise, (they could have heai-d
that distinguished warrior .demand, ' W H O WILL LEAD US. ON?' and
seen the meini of Marbleheadi and: Marblehead alone, stand Jorward to lead
the army along the perilous yath to unfading gtories and honors in the
achievements of Trenton. There,-sir, 'whU the^fishermen of Marblehead,
alike at home upon, land or water, alike-ardent, patriotic, qnd_ unflinchirig,
whenever they unfurled the/flag of the country.'*'*f
To remark now, that, in 1772, the tonnage of Marblehead Was upwards of twelve thousand, and the nuriiber. of polls was twelve bunded
and three; that in 178Q.the polls were but five hundred arid forty-four;.
and that the tonnage at the peace was only fifteen hundred and nine;
to state > that nearly every able-bodied citizen was abroad, engaged in
the public service, either "upon land or water;" to show from a document presented to the general court of Massachusetts,, that, at the close
ofthe' contest, there were -within the borders of this single town four
' hundred and fifty-eight widows, arid nine hundred and sixty-six fatherless children—is to sum up its sufferings in the cau'se of freedom,* and to
prove that, as has been averred, " i t was a mere wreck and ruin,"
when we emerged froni the war. , No other town in the United States,
ofthe same population and property,.lost so large a proportion of both,
probably, as Marblehead.;.
/ • ^/ .
It is related that'Nelson, on his return to England after the attack on
Copenhagen^ visited his. wounded in the hospital, and that, as he
stopped opposite to a bed, on which lay a sailor who had lost an arm,
, * General Henry Knox was a native of Boston: In the Revolution h« was chief of artilleiy.
; He held the office of Secretary at War after the peace, under the Confederation, aiid the same
place under the administration of Washington. His wife Was" of a loyalist family, whose property was coiifiscated. .The "Waldo patent, "In Maine, formed a p a r t of her father's estate,
and the General, purchasing, a large part of it, settled upbn it, at Thomaston, where he built
, an elegant mansion, and where he died iil 1806, at the age of 56. •
' tFrom a speech ofrHon. John.Davis,of Massachilsettsi in.the Senate bf the United State^^
• • •/" ^
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H. Doc 23.


he looked at his own empty sleeve, and exclaimed, "W.ell, Jack, you
and I are spoiled for fishermen!" How many men of Marblehead, of
Beverly, Salem, .Newburyport, Plymouth,, and ofthe towns on the two
capes of Massachusetts,:of Portsmouth and the Isles of Shoals, and of
the -fishihg towns and islands of Maine, who served in the war of 1812,
returned .home with an " empty sleeve," and " spoiled" for their former
avocation!" I regard it as strictly true to say, that without our fishermen we could hardly have manneda frigate, :or captured one, from the
beginning of that war to its end. ; Fishermen corriposed a large part of
the crew of." Old Ironsides " in her two earliest victories; 'and I believe .
that the number was not much diminished when that favorite ship
passed into the hands of Stewart and wonkier, last;battle.' Without
going into details, it/may be said that the men of Marblehead,* .and of
other places engaged in the sairie pursuits, were iri almost every national
or private-armed ship that bote, our flag. ;
. .
At present it is affirmed, the official tables show that the number of
our fishermeri in the national service in case of war would be small. I '
admit it; and were it not so, and Were not further decrease to be ap"preherided, much pf my labor might be spared. , It is' hard, first to
' wound an importantbranch of industry, and then to accuse it of iriefficiency; to fill our ships, public and private, with foreign seamen,
and then tauntingly show figures to prove how contemptible the,fish-,
eries are as a means,of supply. , But I conterid that ofliciar statistics (erroneous or unsatisfactory quite • often) do not, i n this matter,
convey the'whole truth. The fact is,-that hundreds,, nay, thousands,
who first learned to " rpugh it,'.' in pinkies, pogies, and jiggers, on the
coast, or in the larger class of vessels that visit Labrador and Newfoundland, have abandoned such craft, and are. ribW either masters, .
mates, or seamen, of merchant vessels. Many others, retired wholly
from the sea^ are to be found quietly settled as traders in small towns
along the sea-board, or are to be inet with daily on 'Changein our prin^
cipal citiesi The., reasons^ for these changes are obvious. The more
ambitious arid intelligent seek to better their .condition, while all per^
ceive that their employment is of but questionable repute, arid of uncertain rewards.. It may be urged With'>force that an avocation in
which men are educated to become'' m'asters of merchant vessels, is
entitled to protection on this account alone, since eyery good mariner
is a source of strength and wealth to the country. To preserve the
school—so to speak—^in which the business character of such men is
formed, is an object of national concern, to'say nothing of the immense
benefits, to be derived: from an common seamen,,
both in peace and in war. .
' . ',
' , The* question may be argued still further.' Every American citizen
desires a wife, and a home., Marriage conduces to morahty, arid wise
rulers in every age and country have, endeavored to promote it. ,In
,this regard, then, iet us inquire what ar© the just hopes.of fishermen^—
who. reflect^-^as determined by experience arid by ascertained facts.
A distinguished, statesiriari, in advocating the repeal of,the "bounty
*Ii is believed thatfivehundred" men who b.elon^ed to Marblehead alone, were^d from
Dartmoor prison at the peace.
' ;*
. '


H. Doc. 23.

system,''' a few,years ago, estimated that the common fishermen shared
. three hundred and thirty dollars each, in addition to the bounty, for
three and a half months' labor. He.was mistakeri. A gentleman of
Gloucester, who had been engaged in the fisheiies for a considerable
period, made an accurate calculation, by which it appeared that the
average earnings was only/one hundred anel fifty-seven dollars for a ma,n,
o and seventy-nine dollars for a boy, for five and a half months^' service in the
•codfishery, and three ancl^ a half months'* in the mackerel fishery, or for the .
V -whole working year of nine months.' By adding the, bounty tothe earriirigs, the share, per man, was increased = to one huridred and seventy-,
^ five dolla,-rs.- In the/prpceedings'of a public meeting of citizens of the
same town, subsequently, it is stated that the'average earnings for the.]^
ten previous.years had hardly been QNIEI nuNDRiEiB AN,D*,FORTY nohLAUS in.:
a season, for each man. : .
•• , " - , .
. In the."MeinOrial of citizeris of .Marbfohead agairist the repeal ofthe .
fishing bounty,"'&c., presented to the Seriate of the United States,
March, 1846, the misrepresentations made on the subject of the-amount.
earned by/fisher men are thus; answered:-"And though it has been
stated before your honorable body, in support of an effort to repeal the
. aid and protection which the present laws affbrd, t h a t ' t h e poor fisherman, earns his five hundred dollars forwhat iscalled ^'his three and a.half
nionths' labor," yet your mempriahsts well know that there is no truth ,
in the assertion;.. The fishermen of this town, engaged in the bank cod^;.
fishery, are usually employed from March .to-November arid December^
from the. time they begin the labor of'fitting the vessel for sea, until^
they return to their winter quarters, being a period of.eight months on .
an average'; and your rnemorialists aver, from their own persoiial know- .
ledge, that it is no uncommon.occurrence fgr.^fishermento be thus constantly toiling through the working poftioii of'the yectr, and ' not- earn a single dollar .
(bounty arid all included^oz;er and above their outfit, expenses, andthe, advances during their absence.^ And it is thus that, i n seasons of scarcity,
-it often' happens that: crews cannot be obtained by vessels enga.ged in
the business-, except the owner, will fir^t guaranty that they shall makesomething (a-sum^ to be, first agi^eed on) in return for theirkabor, over
' and above their shares of fish,; after deducting. thO; outfits bf the voy-.^
age." " It is true," contiriue these "memorialists, " t h a t in seasons When ,
fish happen to be plenty, and a'good "market is obtairied for them, that ^
in such cases both owners and 'fishermeri realize a remuiierating profit
for their, capital and their labor. But tbis^state of things is rare rather
than, otherwise;, and such is the uncertainty, and,.as it were, lottery
- nature of the business, that, in looking around among those who have been
* Fishermen sometimes pursiie their avocation Vheh'of very advanced age. A remarkable
instance occurred hi 1842, when the schooner Elizabeth Rebecca arrived at Beverly with" a.
full fare of fish; her master,'Isaac,Preston, being seventy-two, and one of the crew, upwards .
of eighty years old. The late Captain Andrew Harrington, of Eastport, Maine, an excellent
man, used the hook;.and line without intermissionkor half a century.
- .
_ There was a jubilee at Gherit in. 1841', in^honor of a fisherman.who had followed his avocation <
.' forfifi^yyears; his companions repaired to his house, accompanied with twenty-^olin,and
trunipet players; and.after.greeting the old man partook of a plentiful feast'. .' - . .
In Wade's History of England there is an account'of one flenry Jenkins, a poor fisherman
of Yorkshire, who, born in the year 1500,^ Kved in the reigns of eight kings,aud queens, and*
died in 167.0, at the age of one hundred and seventy, years. Wade speaks "also of John
Chambers, an-JEngUsh fisherman, who died in 1752, aged ninety-nine years. ,^--'/-\

•'H. Doc. -m.



engaged in it all their lives, they cannot point out a solitary owner who has
become wealthy from the profits of the fishing business alone,'nor a single
fisherman, with a family depending Ufon him for support, who has been able
to lay up, from the earnings of the business, a surplus for his old age/^^
In 1848 many crews of fishing vessels owned in Newburyport, on
settling with their owners, for six and :seven/months' hard toilat sea,
received only about ten dollars per month ; arid on this miserable pittarice they were to'Cke out the. year. They/had obtairied good-fares
, offish, but were sufferers froin the 4epressed state ofthe market.
. With facts,like these before us,^ can we wonder that the more ambitious young -men -abandon^ the. employment at every opporturiity?,
Should we not worider, rathdr, that a???/who seek to marry and to haye
honies^ and v/ho. are,anxibusko"lay up-a surplus for old age," remain
in it? As a class, their condition has beeri without change. .Sixty
years ago Fisher Ames saidi. in the first Congress,.that " t h e fishermen
are too poor to remain, too; poor to remove."*
*The report of a'select committee of Parliament in 1833, on the British channel fisheries^
, contains many interesting facts touching the same point..' Tbis> committee was appointed in.
consequence,,of the;petitions of\British fishermen,^who complained of their distressful conditidn. The, committee,-after inquiries, which embraced the whole coast between-Yarmouth'and
Land's End, reported.that the channel fisheries, and the interests which were-comiected with
th.em, were in a declining state; that "they appear to;have been, gradually sinking since thepeace of 1815,-and more rapidly during the ten.years immediately jp receding the investigation;
that, the capital employed in them did notjdeld.a profitable return; that the number of vessels
'and boats, as well as of men and-;boys, was much diminished; and tha,t the fishermen's families,, who formerly paid rates and taxes, were^theh, in a greater or less degree, dependent upon
the poor rates.," . ' . ^:. •' .
, '
" '
. , - '
, The causes '• assigned by the^ cominit-tee for this deplorable state of things were three:; first?
the inteiference of French fishermen; second, the quantity of^'foreign-caughtfish sold in London; third, the" decrease and .scarcity of fish in the ch'a;nnel. With regard to the first, they
had evidence that, for a loiig period, large fleets of Frenchfishermenihad frequented the coasts
^of Kent and Sussex," and that they had greatly increased ih number since 1815, inasmuch ae
there were no less than "three hundred sailing out'of Boulogne alone. 'The French vessels
were declared, indeed, to be;more numerousihan the Enghsh vessels,'to be of larger size, and
to carry, frequently,-double the-number of men; as well as, to use better .nets and other fishing
"gear. The committee remarked, fuitheiv disastrous, to British fishermen had-been
. Freiieh mterference, that while many were unable to, earn a livelihood^ some had been quite
ruined, or had witlldra^yn from the .business.
... "" • •
-Subh'statements, it .might seem, were - sufficiently humiliating;. but the comnaittee averred
, that the French had been in" the habit of meeting at sea>boats from the Thames and elsewhere,
wldch took the foreigh-caught'fish to theXoiidon market, where", it is to be inferred,..they were
sold as of the produce of the' British fisheries. . This practice they condemned in strong terms.
Ofthe third cause of distress, the committee expressed the opinionf that the scarcity of fish
.in the channel was occasioned by the great destruction of spai^ii, contrary to existing laws on
the "subject. .
' • \ , , . ,, ,
' " •'
• \
:TO remedy these several evils,, they suggested, that foreigners should not be allowed to come
within a certaiii 'distp^nce to be prescribed; that such fishermen be required to conforni to de'fiued-and rigid rules; and that oflicers of the reveniie, and vessels'cruising upon the coast,.
should be instructed to enforce whatever"regulations might 'be adopted.' They suggested, also,
the revision of the statutes relative to the destruction of .spawoi and young fish;-and to the use
„ of particular kinds of nets, and the repeal of otherlaws not specially relating to coasts.whiGh
.they mentioned.
.• '
, • ' . « • ' : • "
• .
•'The story, of ^"aggressions," whether made by ;British^ subjects on this side of the Atlantic,
or on the other, is always to be examined is received as truth. Inthe case before us,
; as inthe many tales related by the committees of the colonial assemblies, there is somethmg
to be allowed; for it appears .that the English were " aggressors," also, on the fishing-grounds
of France at the very moment, that this report was under' the consideration of Parliament. In
1834, says a British^ writer of authority," A rencontre took place between some Jersey fishingboats which had in the night trespassed within, the restricted limits^of eight, miles off the French
6oast, and q, French arnied cutter. One boat was taken, and^the master of another shot.-' Th©


H. Doc. 23.

Again: The fearful disasters and loss of human life are not to \)e
overlooked in this connexion. Our time is too limited for general details ; and a few examples will serve to show why, in addition to the
causes already mentioned, "official statistics'/ furnish so few arguments
in. favor of protection to the fisheries as " a nursery for seamen."
In 1837 seventy-eight men perished,; who belonged tp. the. fishingtowns of Provincetown, Truro, Wellfleet, Easthain, Orleans, Chatham,
Harwich, Brewster, Dennis, •Yarmouth, Barnstable, Falmouth, and
Sandwich; and in these thirteen :tpwns riine hundred and fourteen
widows were/ascertairied to be then living.
, Iri the great gale of October, 1841, the tpwn of Truro alone lost fiftyseven men, whose homes were, within a circuit of'two miles; twentyseveri of them were married, and orily eight were more than thirty years
two governments, soon after this affray, concluded a.cbnvention, in,which provision is' made, to
avoid similar difficulties.
. • /•
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~-. •
In this connexion, we may barelyrglance at the condition of things across the channel. The
sea-fisheries of Ireland are not of great importance; but the river andlake-fisheries are lucrar
tive to the owners of the soil.,' The herring and the pilchard" might be caught,ui many places
on the coast in abundance, but the catch of neither is large. • "
As late as 1847, a.debate occurred in Parliament on the subject of encouragement to the
Irish sea-fisheries, when the following facts were elicited: k
'" Sir Henry Winston Barron inoved for a select committee * to inquire into the means of improving the fisheries in Ireland,'and thereby affording profitable employment.'
" In the ten years ending 1835, "ParUanient granted £143,79:L to stuuulate Scotch fisheries;
only £12,000 for Irish fisheries. ' The' Scotch fisheries are the most prosperous in'Europe; .and
it is a melancholy fact,-that Scotch fish to the value of £60;000 is annually imported for the
consumption of ;the poor Irish., Government has established six curing-houses and two depots;
there ought to be at least-a hundred curing-houses on the coasts. :
" M r . Labouchere agreed as to the necessity of encouraging fisheries in Ireland, but opposed
the motion:
; • • ' '
k • •'•/.•
' - •
'•' --^
" .' '
" It is a mistake to suppose that official-encouragement .has been" the chief cause of the
prosperity in .Scotland. Private enterprise iskhe real cause. There are two mo<ies in which,
government may advantageously interfere—by constructing piers,-and by establishihg curingstations.. The late government ~ granted^. £50,000—the present has proposed £40,000—as
loans for the construction of piers. ;Curing-stations have been established at a.cost of £5,000,
with such good results that Irish fish is fast driving Scotch ling oiit,of the market, and private
speculators eyen from England are beginning to turn their > attention to the Irish .fisheries.
The increase of railroads-and steam navigation'will. afford a further encouragement. 'As. to
inquiry; Mr. Labouchere objected, that a committee could only reproduce the informationwhich is already in their possessioii:
V ',,
: The motion was supported by Lord George Bentinck, Mr. Hume, Mr. Montague Gore, and
''' •.. -\.
; .. .
b •
" Sir Henry Barron said, that.after Mr. Labouchere's statement, he thought that he should
do injury rather than good by pressing his motion; and he therefore begged to withdraw it.
" This led to a fracas: Several of the opposition members met the. hint at withdrawal by loud
objections. The gallery was cleared for a division, but hone took place; and when Mr. Aglionby urged gentlemen to suffer the withdrawal, Mr. Disraeli replied by a disclosure. Sir Henry
Barron had sent to Lord George Bentinck, privately, to request-, support for themo^tion, as,a
personal, favor; and, accordingly, LordvGeorge Bentinck's friends had taken care to 'keep a
. House/ This assertion was disputed; some members' averring that during Sir Henry Barron's speech only twenty-three members' were^ present. Mr. Disraeli afterwards recurred to
the charge, accusing the Irish members of interrupting real and serious discussion of. other
subjects by a- '-flashy denapnstration.' , Mr." Labouchere imputed Mr. Disraeh's heat to disstppointment at not having been. able to practise a little trick upon the governnient, and so to
- place it^in a minority. Apparently, more aiigry than ever, Lord George Bentinck declared that
the good wishes for Ireland entertained by his party were^ thwarted bythe Trish members."
Nothing had really been gained by this ' sham attempt' to 'obtain a committee. Sir Henry
Barron denied that it was a 'sham attempt:' His -object develop the opinion of tlie
House, not to bring,about a paity division; and when he saw it turning to a party question, he .
. owned that he shrank from- it. (.Ironical cheers from the Opposition.) Eventually, the House
divided, and the moti6n was negatived by 73 to 22. . . :
, ^

H. Doc. 23.


of age. The population of Truro at that time was about nineteen hundred ; the number of widows, one hundred and five.
Twenty-eight men who belonged to Dennis were, lost i n t h e same
gale; of whom but six were past thirty years Pld, and nine left families.
In one day, immediately after, this storm, nearly or quite one hundred.
bodies were takeii up and buried on Cape Cod. ; ^ .
In a gale September, 1846, eleven vessels owned at Marblehead were
Avrecked or foundered, and sixty-five'men arid boys perished in them.
By this calamity the number of widpws in that town was increased'
forty-three, and the number of orphan children one hundred and'fiftyone. In the same year sixty fishing skiffs were tptally wrecked at
Trinity Bay;. Newfoundland, and the ]oss..of'hfe and;property along,
t h e shores of that islands was appalling. ' ;
Between 1837 and October,^ 1852, my record (which is probably
imperfect) shows that the single town of Gloucester lost thirty-one vessels, and one hundred arid ninety-four men. In many cases every,
person on board .perished. ,- '
... ^
.- After the memoirable. gale of October,'1851, on the coast of Prince
Edward Island and inthe Gulf of St.;Lawrence, the beaches were
. strewed with the wrecks of Atneiican and British vessels, and with the
"bodies of men. \ The exact riumber ofthose of both flags who lost their
lives is. hardlj^ to bekascertained. But it is known-that fifty bodies
floated ori shore withiii about' twenty hours, frbm the cessation :of the
stprm, in a distarice of twenty miles ; that.ninety-seven persons, belonging to thirteeri American' vessels,; Were. fpund on diffbrent partS;of the
- poast; that upwards pf eighty.of Pur vessels; were~ driven pn .shore ; and
that the-aggregatb number of American fishermen who perished w a s .
more than "one hundred and
, . ^
^ It rema:iris,' in conclusion jko speak ofthe chai-acter ofthe'fisherman.
Itis said that he " is credulous and.superstitious.". Admit t h a t " Kidd's
.mohey'''has been, dugfor- ill'every dark nook of the coast, or talked
about in everyk^^^ZJj/v for a ceritury and a.'half, and that horse-shoes are
nailed, upon the- masts of fishing-vessels -to keep off witches; what then ?
:Is he the only one who; has been, ^or still is, guilty of the same follies ? t
'*^ Among the fishermen of Europe similar-disasters occur. In 1836, six fishihg yessels bcr
• longing to a village on the Bay of Biscay, France, foundered ,m a violent storm,- and all on
board, seventy-three in nuinber, perished.' Ah affecting ceremony for the .-repose of their souls
was perfpriiied under the direction of the late Cardinal Cheverus.
• ^ 'i
' The Galway Vindicator, 1842, contained an .account of the -loss of .thirty-five fishing boats,,
with crews of frbm'five to six-persons each, making a "total loss of niore than bne Ijundred and ,
seventy fishermen in a single gale.'^ '-• • ' ,
/ - '. '• f '
•An English paper, 1843, details the destruction of human life on the repast of Ireland, in
Jaiiuary of that year; from .which it appears that forty-six fishermen perished at one place,
and twenty-seven at, another; that sixteen women were made widows; that eleven women,
who had previously lost their husbands, \vere deprived of supiport by.the loss bfsons^and other
relatives'; and that fifty-eight children were left fatherless. In Deceinber of the last mentioned
year, says a- London newspaper," Oh Sunday week six'ty-hiiie fishermen, who had been savedfrom shipwreck during the awful-storm of the 28th ultimo,.publicly returned thanks to Almighty
• God,in Cromer; church, Norfolk.'• They .all rose when' their narhes;were, called over liy the
officiating minister, and then; on their kiiees, joined in the beautiful form of thanksgiving in the. church service."
, .:
, . ,
• • t In. 1825 the Duchess'de Berri .visited a watering place in France, and mdulged in seabathing. Sea-waiter and fish which were afterwards taken from the spot were ,£irticles of im-.


"H. D o c - 2 3 .

It is said that he "is ignorant." What then? If ignorance be necessarily despicable, then those who were called eighteen handred
years ago to be " fishers of men," were proper objects of contempt. But
' he is not always destitute of knowledge, - and sometimes retorts upon
• his accusers. The poor fisher-boy-Jones acquired in his, boat, and
before, he reached the age of twenty years, the Greek, the Hebrew,
Latin, French, and .Italian languages; and read the Iliad, and, many
• works of a similar description, in the original tongue. In. a. word, his
astonishing : attainments' in the darkest recesses^ of ancient, learning
'. .were a kingdom's Wonder.- When asked his opinion ofthe celebrated
Dr. Parr—who, in a long conversation, had attempted to - sound the
depth.and accuiracy of his acquirements^ie. answered ihat this great
'.scholar wa:s only "less ignorant than most men!" ; .' k
The fisherman is called "-wasteful and improvident:" ..What then?
If to rhis-sperid the mere .pittance/of. one's .pwn earnings be a crime
worthy of rebuke, what shallbe thought of those who, born to wealth
and polished life,'Sport, with whole .patriinoniesj waste-large estates,,
; dfo'sots, a n d i n penury ? v - •
.-. ^ ' : . ' . • : .
. •. ^
His.raiik is humble;';:but sornetimes he, inscribes his name'on the
page^of history. Beukpls, who invented the process of preserving, the
fisb of pickle, and who, according to the sneer,.; caused the
"Dutchmen's-bodies t q h e built of pickled herrings,'kwas a benefac.tor
to his race; and the Emperor-Charles.'the Fifth, accompanied, by 'his
sister Margaret, of Hungary, visited, his grave, and. Ordered a magnificent monument to be eriscted'. to his. memory., \
Massaniello, the young fisherriian pf .Naples, led his countrynien in
their revolt against Spanish rnle,^ and. rose to supreme power. mpre
rapidly than" mortal had ever, done- befbre him; but, shot down at lastwithout trial, and like a ^ dog, was dragged b y t h e r a b b j e set^ the
nobles, through.thp ditches pf the city.. In American -annals, Phipps
and the highest .rank to whiph colonial .subjects ever
attained, and were envied'and traduced in .consequence:of.-the honors
bestowed-upon them. In orir own -day, a';Spanish fisherman , of the
name of Jep-del „Estaiigo joined the party of Don-'Carlos as a simple
• volunteer; but, promoted step by step, v.'vyas. firially appointed, to the
command of/an army-of eighty thousand men, So, too, the Count de ,
Morello, whose father, was pf the;'same huriible pccupatipn, and, who
himself commenced life a s . a pauper-student, became,^by^ the force of.
khis talents and'the circumstances of a civirwar,khe se'eond general in
the Caiiist army.* ..
k ;. k- . . . .
k -. /
mense value, and sold at enonhous prices. Indeed, .those persons, who could .not purchase a
wliole fish, gladly possessed th'emselv'es.^of a few scaZes, oiva'^??/- The .^yater(Where the "royal
pej-son" had been washed, .-when bottled and ofiered" for sale, was known as "Bern .&Hwe."
Have fishermen, in any age, been ""guilty of greater Yolly than these fashionable people of
France?, /
.. ,
. : ^;, ' . ' - ,
• -^
' .- •
'1. •
* in 1750, the clerk, of the company of fishmongers of London,- in'addressing Frederick,
'Prince of Wales, made the remarkable'statement, that, "This company, sir, is famous for having had near" three score lord; mayors of the-city of London, J^esides. many-ofthe most considerable merchants, and. eminent citizens of it.";
.. • .: /••••'
It a,ppears froni another source' that' company is one of the oldest in the
'realm, and that, six of the lord-mayors spoken of vwere appointed in the space'of, twenty-four
years. '' " • ; - : .
• ' '"," ' ' ' •• ' '•• " .' - .. ' •- : •'" ' ' / ' •
' ''•- "
. Pied, in 1797, Soloiaon Southwick,, aged- Q6 years. He was a native of Newport, R. I.

S: Doc. 22.


' The fisherman is a privileged iiian. In the colonization of Massachusetts, ^^hen every arm and every purse were needed for the publicdefence, he was relieved from the performance of riiilitary duty and the
paynient of taxes.' In the time of William of Orange, when the avenue
to the royal palace of Holland was supported by a toll of every passenger, he was excused and exempted. In war, arid in the midst of hostile fleets, he has been, allowed to pursue his avocation unharmed.
• He is a grateful man. In the war of the Revplution he was the
prisoner of Nelson, on the coast of Massachusetts. Released by the
young hero, whose crew were sick and dying of the scurvy, he conveyed refreshments on board ofthe royal ship at the peril of his own
He is a patriotic irian. His services, as a countryman of ours, and
in the navies of England and France, have been related. In the recent;
struggle for liberty in Greece, he fled from the continent to the isles,
where he was foremost in resisting the oppressors of his country. True
to the end of the contest, he gave his boats and vessels freely, and
without recompense, to be converted into war and .fire ships.
' H e relieves distress. . Mungo Park^ during his travels in Africa,
passed through many fishing villages, and was kindly treated. At one
the chief magistrate was rude and surly. Park was worn and weary.
A fisherman kindly relieved him from the difficulties which surrounded
him, by transporting him to a distance from the inhospitable ruler, in a
He is moved at the sorrows of others. Within the recollection pf
many persons now living, Major Campbell, ofthe British army, slew a
brother officer in a duel. The story is a long and a sad one. Suffice
it to say here, that the extraordinary circumstances of the case seemed
to place the Major on a level with common murderers; that he was
tried and condemned to die; and that great exertions were made on
the part of his friends to save him. The agony of his wife was for a
time intense. By wonderful exertions she recovered sufficient fortitude
to enable her to leave Ireland and to set out for London, to throw herselfat the feet of majesty and implore her husband's,life. No steamers
then crossed the channel; and a gale of unusual violence interrupted
her' progress, for all the packet-vessels were on the opposite side.
" T h e days of the being whom she loved best on earth were num-^
bered. The storm was at its height; a mountainous sea broke into
the harbor while a crowd anxiously, watched the progress of a fishingboat, which, under closp-reefed canvass, was struggling to beat up to'
His father was a fisherman, and, folio-wing the same business, he assisted m the sale of fish in
the market place. While thus employed, he attracted the attention of Henry Collins, a.wealthy and philanthropic citizen of Newport, who, pleased with, his activity, handsome person,
and sprightliness, took him from the fish stand and provided for his education, and finally established him in commercial business. But as a merchant Mr. Southwick was unfortunate,
and became a bankrupt. He retrieved his fortune, however, by marrying a daughter of Col.
John Gardiner, who had been governor of Rhode Island. In the Revolution he was a whig, and
performed good service to his country. A sufferer by continental money, his fortune was impaired a second time, and his latter days were embittered ^vitll poverty and many infirmities.
He was a man of decided character and talents. His son, Solomon Southwick, of New York,
haa borne a distinguished part in the politics of that State.


. ^


S. Doc. 22.

the anchorage." The hardy crew triumphed over the wind and the
sea; and, mid the cheers ofthe throng and the caresses of their wives,,
they disembarked. " A t this moment the sorrow of the lady attracted
the notice ofthe crowd, and it Was whispered that she was wife to the
unhappy convict Whose fate, even in that remote region, had excited unusual sympathy. An aged fisherman stoodnear f'she asked " if the weather
was likely to moderate?" The mariner looked at the sky attentively
and shook his head. "Oh God! he will be lost," she murmured;
.*'could I but cross that "angry sea, he might be saved." Her words
were heard by the crew of the fishing-boat, who were securing its
moorings. With one consent they offered to carry her across. . " I t is
madness," said the old nian ; " n o boat can live in yonder broken sea."
But the courage of the noble-hearted fishermen was unshaken, She
embarked; they set part of a single sail, and reached the shore of Eng^
land in safety. She would have paid them generously: they refused
her moneys and invoked blessings on her mission.
He is true to the laws. Though his distresses were as great as
could be borne, at the time of "Shay's insurrection" he was not
tainted with the spirit of disaffection; arid iri,some of the fishing.toWns
there was not a solitary individual of his calling who countenanced
rebellion or armed combinations to obtain redress fbr the real or sup- '
posed grievances of the period. After the adoption o f t h e present
constitution of the United States, he caused the apprehension of Bird,
the first murderer and pirate, who was tried and executed.*
His wife may not be fitted to adorri the higher walks of life; but she
is a woman in her affections and sympathies, for all that. It was a
"fish-woman" who carried Chateaubriand to a hut, who waited upon^
his wants, and. to whom he owed his life, when sick, destitute, • and
about to perish. So, when Gifford, the critic, whose unsparing severily '
wiU not soon be forgotten or.forgiven, was forlorn and in rags, and, in
his misery, had ceased to hope, almost to wish, for a change, the pity
of fisherihen's wives, and their continual rehearsal of the story of his
sufferings to others, caused his removal from a vessel to a school, and
thus laid the foundation of his subsequent fame as a scholar; And
who has not been touched at reading of the custom of the fish wives
pf Venice, who,: repairing to the shores of the Adriatic sea, as evening
approaches, chant a melody, and listen until they hear art answer from
their husbands, who are guided by the sounds to theif own village?
Last of all, and mote than all, the fisherman is loyal, to duty
"Jesus of Nazareth reigned in the fishing-boat from which he taught.-'V
The faithless one who betrayed,him was not among the disciples who
had cast their nets in the sea of Galilee: he who took the thirty pieces
of silver "was neither Andrev^, the first chosen one, .nor Peter his
brother, nor Thomas, nor James, nor that disciple who, ever present
with his beloved master, has come down to us as the one whom Jesus
*In Maine. Bird's counsel, as this,was the first case, endeavored to move the clemency of
the President on that account. Washington was inexorable.
_ t The lake cf Gennesareth was the chief scene of the miracles and preaching of our Saviour. It abounds in fish of several kinds peculiar to its waters. In the time of Yespasian

S. Doc, 22.


The same fidelity is found iri profane history. Gaius Marius, as he
fled from the court of Hiempsel of Numidia, uttered the prophetic
Words, " Go, say to the Roman goverrior that thou hast seen the exile
Marius sitting on the ruins of Carthage," and, embarking in a fishingboat. Was borrie beyond the reach of his enemies and pursuers. The
illustrious Pomp ey was overthrown on the plains of Pharsalia: sheltered in the hut of a fisherman the night which followed his ruiri, he
set s^ail on the morrow to meet his wife, Cornelia—and to perish.
The beautiful Mary of Scotland suffered a decisive defeat from her
rebel lords: adopting the resolution of throwing herself on the protection of Elizabeth of Englarid, she crossed the Frith of Solway in a
fishing-bark, and was safe from her own subjects; but the act was
fatal to herself, and gave a new and a strange coloring to the subsequent part of Elizabeth's life arid reign.^ The battle of Worcester was
lost to the secorid Charles, and he fled for his hfe; and who was more
trueito him in his hour of need than the fisherman Tattersal, who, as
he bore the fallen monarch frqm the shores of England, exclaimed,
" B y the grace of God, I will venture my life and all for hini, and set
him safe in France, if I can!" So, too, the battle of Culloden sealed
the fate of Prince Charles Edward, the Pretender, and he also fled:
thirty thousand pounds was the price which tempted men to betray
him-; but,he sought the huts and boats, of the "ignorant, the superstitious, and the improvident class of men" who had been faithfol to
his dynasty, and eluded the vigilance of his enemies.*
it became the seat of war. The poor Galileeans in their light fishing boats could not withstand
the heavy barks of the Romans, and were overcome, and were slaughtered by thousands. " The
blue waters of the whole lake," says a historian offthe Jews, "were tinged with blood, and its
clear surface exhaled for several'days a foetid steam. The shores were strpwn with the wrecks
of boats and swollen bodies that lay rotthig- in the sun, and infected the air till the conquerors
themselves shrmik f^-om the effects of their own barbarities."
Sir Thomas Browne, an English physician of great fiime in his time, who died in 1682, wrote'
a tract entitled " A letter on the fishes eaten by our Saviour with his disciples after his resurrection from the dead." But this treatise, remarks his biographer, " is unsatisfactory in its re- „
suit, as all the information that diligence or learning could supply consists in an enumeration
of the fishes produced in the waters of Judea."
The travels of modern times contain some information which relates to our subject. " In
the dirty town of Tiberias," says.Elliott, in 1838, "where Christians and Jews are banished to a distance from their mussulihan lords, a church, with an arched stone roof in the
form of a tent upside down, pei-petuates the memory of the house occupied by St. Peter; or,
as others maintain, of the spot where the disciples conveyed to the shores the miraculous
draught of fishes." Again, says the same traveller, on the shore of Galilee is the village of
Majdal, which gave its name to Mary Magdalene, and was the spot whither our Saviour retired after the miracle of the loaves and fishes." On the northern extremity of the lake he
came to a 'f mass of ruins called Tabghoorah, which mark the site of an ancient town. The
only indications of life are a mill and a few huts made of rushes, occupied by two or three r
fishermen. Its position points it out as an eligible fishing place; and such is the import ofthe
word Bethsaida, which city, if not situate on this spot, could not have been very far off". Here
we halted, and requested the tenant of one of the huts to throw in his line and let us taste the
produce of the sea. In a few minutes each of us was pres.piited with a fish broiled on a plate
of iron, according to the custom of the country, and wrapp'ed in a largeflat_;^vafer-likecake, a
foot in diameter, of which one was spread as a table-cloth, and. two others served as napkins.
Thus we made a repast, on the banks of the sea of Tiberias, of what was almost literally 'five
loaves and two sniall fishes.' "
From the villages of Mount Lebanon, and from points far above the bed of the sea, Elliott
procured fossil shell-fish, and a box of fish found imbedded hi lune.
* The fishermen, as a class, were, I suppose, loyal to the Stuarts. Readers of English
history, and particularly of diaries and letters of the seventeenth century, arrive, probably,
at the same conclusion.
Digitized forIt was said in 1660, after the Restoration, by the royalists, that during the time of *' Red^



. My taski is: finished.. I, have traced, with a rapid hand, the outlinies
of the civil, statistical, political, "and-diplomatic history of the principal*.
American sea fisheries, from, their origin to the present time. I have
endeavored to be careful in rhy authorities, and accurate in my statements. That, however, I have sometimes arrived at erroneous conclu-"
sions, is probable; and that I have occasionally misapprehended facts,
is. almost certain. In the performance of such a duty, some mistakes
are unavoidable., I have spoken earnestly, and, permit me to. add,
honestly, in behalf of a great branch of national industry.
. My case is so like that of the renowned "John Smith, Admlrall,":
that I cannot forbear pnce more to quote his words. "But because," ;
said he, " I speak so much of fishing, if any take me for such a. devout
fisher as I dream of nought else, they mistake me. I know a., ring pf
gold from a grain,of barley asp^well as a goldsmith; and nothing is,:
here to be had which fishing doth hinder, but further us to obtain."
nosed Noll,^' as Cromwell was called, the fish forsook the seas in very disgust at his wicked ,
rule, and one of them, in rejoicing oyer the return of Chalrles, declares that "our mischiefs .
began,with tumult and sedition, and we are restored to our fortner felicity with miracles; that
the sea-coast, famous for fishery, was barren since his Majesty went from Scotland to'Worcester, insomuch, that the poor men who. subsisted by the trade were reduced to go a begging ^.
but that now, blessed be God, since his Majesty's return, the seas are so plentiful that in some
places " sole were even used to dressthe land; "an argument," continued the pious monarch,
ist, "sufficient to, stop the black mouths of those -wretches that-w'ould have persuaded the peo^
pie that curses were entailed upon the royal family.'^

S. Dot;. 22:



The documents* submitted by the President, in answer to the resolution of the Senate of July 23, 1852, embracing as they dp the able
and spirited defence Of our ""rights, by Mr. Everett, never before published, as well as several other papers of interest, afford much valuable
information. But yet, it is apparent that our archives are singularly
deficient in documentary evidence to show both sides of the controversy as it really exists. We have already seen that the loyalists, or
*'tories," opposed a?t7/ stipulations whatever, at the peace of 1783, and-^We are now to find that the principal cause of our difficulties since that
time—whether past or present—on the question of the fisheries, is to
be traced to the same source.
At the close of the Revolution, justice and good policy both required
of our fathers a general amnesty, and the revocation of the laws of
disability and banishment; so that all adherents of the crown who deshed, might become American citizens. Instead of this, ^however, the
State legislatures^ generally, continued in a course of hostile action, ,
and treated the conscientious and the pure, and the unprincipled and
corrupt, with the same indiscrimination as they had done during the
struggle. The tories were ruined and humbled men. Most of them
would have easily fallen into respect for the new state of things, old
friendships and intimacies would have been revived, and long before
this time all would have mingled in one mass; but in some parts pf
the United States there seems to have been a determination to drive
them from the country at all hazards, as men undeserving pf human
sympathy. Eventually, popular indignation diminished; the statutebook Was divested of its most objectionable enactments, and numbers
were permitted to occupy their old homes, and to recover the whole or
a part of their^ property; but by far the greater part of the loyalists;
who quitted the thirteen States at the commencement pf or during the
war, never returned; arid of the many thousands who abandoned their
native land at the peace, and while these enactments were a n force,
"few, comparatively, had the wish, or even the means, to revisit the
country from which they were expelled. It cannot be denied, and we
of this generation should admit, that our fathers dealt harshly with
many, and unjustly with some, of their opponents. Indeed, whoever
visits the Biitish colonies will be convinced that persons were doomed
to misery who were as true in heart and hope as was Washington himself; that, in the divisions of famihes which everywhere occurred, and
which formed one of the most distressing circumstances of the conflict,
there were wives and datighters who, although bound, to loyalists by
the holiest ties, had given their, sympathies to the whigs from, the be-

* Executive Doemnent, No. 100.

390 ;

S Doc. 22.

ginning, and who, in the triumph of the cause which had had their
prayers, went meekly—as woman ever meets a sorrowful lot—-into
hopeless, interminable exile. It is to be lamented that better counsels
did not prevail. Had New York, Massachusetts, and Virginia especially, been either merciful or just, transaclions which, in ages to come,
will be very likely to put us on our defence, would not stain our annals.
The exarnple of South Carolina should have been followed by aU. As
it was, whigs whose gallantry in the field, whose prudence in the
cabinet, and whose exertions in diplomatic stations abroad, had contributed essentially to the success of the conflict, were regarded with
enmity on account of their attempts to produce a better state of feeling
and more humane legislation.
As a m a t t e r of expediency, how unwise w^as it to continue to perpetuate the ^opponents of the Revolution, and to keep them a distinct
class, for a time, and for harm yet unknown! How ill-judged the
measures that caused them to settle the hitherto neglected possessions
of the British crown! Nova Scotia had been won and lost, and lost
and wori, in the wars between France and England, and the blood of
New England had been poured upon itssoillike water; but when ^ we
drove thousands and tens of thousands of our countrymen to seek a
refuge there, what was it? Before the war, the fisheries bf its coast—
for the.prosecution of which Halifax itself was founded—comprised, in
public estiriiation, its chief value; and though Great Britain had quietly
possessed it for about seventy years, the emigration to it of loyalists
from the United States, in a single year, more than doubled its population. By causing the expatriation, then, of the adherents ofthe British
crown, among whom were the well-educated, the ambitious, and the
well-versed in politics, we became the founders of two Biitish colonies,
for it is to be remembered that New Brunswick fbrmed a part of Nova
Scotia until 1784, and that the necessity of the division then made
kvas of our own creation. In like manner, we became the founders of
N Upper Canada. The loyalists of our Revolution were the first settlers
of the territory thus denominated by the act of 1791 ;* and the principal object of the line of division of Canada, as established by Mr. Pitt's
act, was to place them, as a body, by themselves, and to aUow them to
be governed by laws more.congenial than those which were deemed
requisite for the subordination of the French on the St. Lawrence. The^
government for which they had become exiles was liberal to them; it
gave them lands, tools, materials for buildings, and means of subsistence for two years, and to each of their children (at the. age of twe.ntyone) two hundred acres of land.. And besides this, of the pffices
created by the organization pf a new colonial government, they were
the chief recipients.
Should it be replied that Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Canada
West, without accessions from the United States, would have risen tp
importance ere this, I answer, that there is good reason to doubt it;
* It was in a debate on this bill, that Fox and Burke severed the ties of friendship which
had existed between them, for a long period. The scene was one of the most interesting that
.had ever occurred ih the House of Commons. Fox, overcome by his emotions, wept aloud.
,.B.urke'.8 previous course with regard to the French revolution had rendered a rupture at some
time probable, perhaps certain.

S. Doc. 22.


because, in the first place, of the many thousands who annually come,
from Europe to Anierica, but a small proportion land on the shores pf
these colonies, and because the most of those who do, soon leave for
^'the States," notwithstanding the hiducements held out to emigrants
by the colonial and home governments to settle on the.territories of the
.crown. But were itPtherwise, the'force,of the.remark is in np degree
.diminished, for the pbyious reason, that, had we pursued a wise course
.•at the peace ,of .'83, people of Ameiican prigin would Jiot have become
our rivals in ship-building, in the carriage of our great staples to Europe, in the prpseGutipn pf the fisheries, and in the production of wheat
iand other breadstuffs. Nor is this all. We should npt have had the
hatred, the influence, and the talents of persons of loyalist descent, to
contend against, in the long and vexed controversy relative tp our
nprtheastern boundary, nor continual difficulty about, and uppn, the
fishing grounds. It is to be observed, moreover, that the operatiori
.of these causes.has be.en,, and will continrie to be, no slight obstacle in
•the way of adjusthig such qu.estions, since the children arid kvinsmen
ofthe Ipyalists have no inconsiderable share in determining cplpmaL
councils, and inkhe. shaping of remonstrances and representations to
the:British ministry. And- whpever takes into view the fact that the
..sufFerings and sacrifices of the fathers are Well remembered by the
descendants, and that, under the monarchical form, hereditary descent
.of pffieial station is y.ery .common, will agree with me in the belief,
that evils from this source are far from being at an end. , There are
still those in the colonies, who, remembering only that they are descended from the exiled losers in the revolutionary strife, would keep
alive, and perpetuate for generations to come, the dissensions of the
past; but their number, w.e may hope, is rapidly diminishing. To ex.tend and strengthen the sympathies of human brotherhood is a.
Christian duty; and to unite kinsmen, who were severed by events
which dismembered an empire,' is a work in which all may nowen..gage, without incurring the reproach of disloyalty on the one hand, or the, want pf patriotism oil. the other.
' These remarks explain, and account for, the pertinacity of the colp^
nists, and serve to indicate that. ^Aei/,^ a
not the British, gpvernment,
are the real party ppposed to.usin this controversy. As we [prpgress
:in pur inquiries, w.e s.hall find aburidant evidence to show, that England
.has moved with great, with .avowed reluctance, against iis; and that
while the cplonies of Canada, Prince Edward Island, and New
Brmiswick, have remained almost indifferent, down to a very recent
day, Nova Scptia, on the contrary, has pressed the subject of " A m eri. can aggressions" upon the attention ofthe ministry, with hardly an
intermission, for a term of years. The last named colony, it maj'- bp
pertinent to observe, maintains extreme opinions upon all poliiical
questions, demanding' concessions and privileges entirely inconsistent
with cplonial dependence, and asserting and insisting on doctrines
which no whig of o.ur Revplution, in his loftiest mood, even so much
as wrote or, spoke to his most cherished friend; as the letters of the
Hon. Jpseph Howe to Lord John Russell, in 18.46, and the
4he "LibeM^^^
Some well-informed persons have expressed the opinion, that, until

S Doc. 22.
within a few years, our fishermen have had no cause to complain of
their colonial competitors. It is not so. Those who consult our Mate
papers will find, that, as early as 1806, the inhabitants of the counties
of Barnstable and Ply mouth,. Massachusetts, who stated that they procured their livelihood by fishing, memoriahsed Congress on the subject
of existing grievances, arid desired redress. They represented that
they were much injured in the sale of their fish in consequence of the
American market being glutted with Enghsh fish; that they were fired
upon and brought to by English cruisers when falling in with them in
going to, and coming from, the fishing grounds; that they were imposed upon;-that they were compelled to pay light-money if they
•passed through the. Strait of Canso; that their men were imprisoned;
and that if they anchored in the colonial harbors, they were compelled
to pay anchorage money. Thus the complaints in 1806 were nearly
identical with those in 1852.
• In the year 1807 the colonists appealed to the British government
on the subject ofthe fisheries within colonial jurisdiction, and the ''ag'gres.sions" of their republican neighbors. .Looking with jealous eyes
•upon the extent of our adventures to their,waters, they employed a
watchman to count the number of American vessels which passed
: through the Strait of Canso in° a season. ' This watchman reported
. that he saw nine hundred and thirty-eight. As many passed in fogs,
and in the night-time, and were unseen by him, the whole number
was not less, probably, than thirteen hundred. Without,enum'erating
other acts of the colonists which show their hostile feelings towards us,
T will barely add that many of them preferred that the difficulties then
spending between England and the United States should terminate in a
•war; for, as was believed and said, a war would put an end to our
lights of fishing in British America, inasmuch ^s it would annul tho
.stipulations of the treaty of 1783.*
The event which so many of our banished countrymen anticipated
with complacency, occurred in 1812. In the year following, a determination was manifested to exclude us from the colonial fishing-grounds
on the return of peace. It was represented in memorials, that the American fishermen abused their piivilegesto the injury of his Majesty's subjects; that the existence of Great .Britain as a power of the first rank,
depended mainly upon her sovereignty of the seas; and that sound
policy required the exclusion of both France and the United States
States from any participation in the fisheries. It was, furthermore, insisted
* A highly respectable gentleman, of loyalist descent, related to me the following uicident,
which will serve to illustrate the temper ofthe time: " I went," said he, "to see my uncle,
who, as I entered the house, accosted me thus, in great glee: 'Well, Wilhe, there'll be war,
and I shall die on the old farm after all.' 'How so?' rejoined my informant. 'How does it
follow that, if a war really occurs, you will die on the old^farm V ' How!' petulantly replied
the uncle; ^^why, won^t England whip the blasted rebels, and shan't we all get our laiids back
again ?^ " This loyal old gentleman is now dead. He was a native of New York, and lost
his property—the " old farm"—under the Confiscation act of that State. At the close of the
Revolution he settled on the British side of the St. Croix, where many persons of his lineage
• still live. This is by no means a solitary instance of the hopes entertained as to the result of
a conflict between the two nations. In 1807 many of our banished countrymen ^yere not only
alive, butin full vigor; 'and theexpectation-was common among Ihem that, in the event of hostilities, their interest would be promoted, either by stipulations in their favor in the treaty of
.peace, or b / t h e abrogation of our fishing rights, as stated in the text.

S. Doc. 22.


that fifteen hundred American vessels had been engaged in the Labrador fishery alone, in a single season; that these vessels carried and dealt
out teas, coffee, spirits, and other articles, on which no duty was paid;
that these smugglers and interlopers exercised a ruinous influence upon
the British fisheiy and the morals of British fishermen; that meri, provisions, and outfits were cheaper in the United States than elsewhere, and
that of consequence British fishermen on the coast could buy what they
^needed on better terms oft h e American vessels than ofthe colonial merchants ; and hence the memorialists expressed the hope that foreigners
would no longer be permitted to visit the colonial waters for the purpose of fishing. These representations created a sensation in Massachusetts, and were the topic of comment there and in other parts ofthe
country. The Boston Centinel pithily said, that they were "alarmingly
interesting f* arid as far south as Baltimore the New England sentiment of "no yeace without thefisheries,'*'*was echoed and approved.
J n 1814, Mr. Canning, in.the British^ Parhamerit, urged upon the
government the necessity of giving due consideration to the question of
the fisheries, in the adjustment of terms of peace. In our treaty of
1783, said he, " w e gave away more than w-e ought; and vve never
now hear of that treaty but as a trophy of victory on the one hand, or
the monument of degradation and shame' on the other. We ought to
refer, in questions with America, to the state in which we now stand,
rather than .that in which we once stood."
The principle asserted by the American commissioners at Ghent,
Mr. Russell alone excepted, has been stated and need not be repeated
here. It was assumpd in England, and in the colonies, that that principle was in contravention of public law, and British statesmen and
British colonists claimed to exclude our vessels from' the fishings
grounds, and even to seize them when found there. The government
of-Nova Scotia was especially zealous and prompt In protecting her
supposed interests,' and in proclaiming the penalty of confiscation to
.American intruders upon her coasts. In 1815 the commander of his
Majesty's ship-of-war the Jasseur, heeding the clamors of the colonists
more than the qualified instructions of the admiralty, commenced the
seizure of our fishing vessels; and in one day in June of that "year,
sent no less than eight into, the port of Halifax as lawful prizes. This
.outrage, and the right assumed by the cpmmander ofthis ship to warn
our fisherm^en not to come within sixty miles of the coast, (as- else.where remarked,) led to negotiations and to the, convention of 1818.
Mr. Baker, the British charge d'affaires, in reply to Mr. Monroe's
note of July 18, 1815, declared that the commander of the Jasseur had
transcended his authority, and gave the assurance that orders had been
ti^ansmltted to the naval officers on the Hahfax and Newfoundland
stations, which would "prevent the recurrence of any similar interruption;" but the'schooner Nabby was seized by his Majesty's ship Sara?cen. Captain Gore, and proceedings in the admiralty court of Nova
Scotia were instituted against her in August, 1818, only two months
before the convention was concluded. Eleven other American vessels
w^ere seized by Captain Chambers, under orders from Admiral Milne,
for alleged violations of British maritime jurisdiction. That some of
.these vessels were captured for good cause, is quite probable;, but yet,


S. Doc. 22.

-the comity between nations, aside from the assurance of the British
charge, d'affaires, required that while negotiations were pending, the
officers ofthe Biitish navy on the American station_ should have been
instructed to suspend captures, and to have merely warned off such
ves.sels as were found infringing upon what were held to be British
lights; for it is to be recollected that, claiming, as we did, to fish under
the treaty of 1783, we were entitled essentially to exercise all the
privileges of catching enjoyed by British subjects, until the differences
.between the two cabinets were adjusted.
On the 14th of June, :I819, Parliament passed " An act to enable his
Majesty to 'make regulations with respect to the taking and curing fish
.on certaiii parts ofthe coasts of Newfoundland, Labrador, and his
Majesty's other possessions in North America, according to a convention made between his Majesty and the United States of America."
I t i s now pretended that this law asserts the recent Gonstruction of
the convention, as relates to our exclusion from the great "bays.'*^
That pretension will be examined in due time. The act, after reciting
'the first article of the convention, provides, first, that "it :shall and may
be lawful'for his Majesty, by and with the advice of his Majesty's
privy council, by any order, or order - in council, to be from time to
time made for that purpose,ko make such regulations, and to give such
directions, orders, and instructions to the governor of Newfoundland, or
to any officer or officers on that station, or to any other person or persons, whomsoever, as shall or may be from time to time deeriied
proper and necessary for the carrying into effect the purposes of thb
said convention, with relation • to ^ the taking, .dr3ing, and curing offish
by inhabitants ofthe Dnited States oi America, in common with British
subjects, within the limits set forth in the said article of the said convention, and hereinbefore recited; any act or acts of Paiiiament, or
any law, custom, or usage, to the contrary in any wise notwithstand•ing."
Second, that "it shall not be lawful for any person or persons, not
being a natural-born subject of his Majesty, in any foreign ship, yessel,
or boat, nor for any person in any ship, vessel, or boat, other than such
as shall be riavigated according to the laws of the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Ireland, to fish for or take, dry, or cure, any fish pf^
:any kind whatever, within three marine miles of any coasts, bays,
creeks, or harbors whatever, in any port of his Majesty's domlnipns in
v4mmca, not included within the liriiits specified and described in the
first article of the said convention, and hereinbefore recited; and that
if any such foreign ship, vessel, or boat, or any persons on board thereof, shall be found fishing, or to have been fishing, or preparing to fish
within such distance of such coasts, bays, creeks, or harbors, within
such parts of his Majesty's dominions in America, out ofthe said hmits as
aforesaid, all such ships, vessels, and boats, together with their cargoes,
and aU guns, ammunition, tackle, apparel, furnUure, and stores, shali
he forfeited."
Third, t h a t " it shall and may be lawful for any fisherman^of the said
United States to enter into any such bays or harbors of his Britannic
Majesty's dominions in America as'are last mentioned, for the purj)ose
of shelter and repairing damages therein, and of purchasing wood and

S. Doc. 22.


of obtaining water, and for no other purpose whatever-^subject, nevertheless, to such restrictions as may be necessary to'prevent suc^ fishermen of the said United States from taking, drying or curing fish in the
said bays or harbors, or in any other manner whatever abusing the said
. privileges by the said treaty and by this act reserved to them, and as
shall for that purpose be imposed^ by any order or prders to be from
time to time made b}^ his Majesty in council, under the authority ofthis
act, and by any regulations which shall be issued by the governor,, or
person exercising the office of governor, in any such pai'ts of his Majesty's dominions in America, under or in pursuance of any such Prder in
council, as aforesaid."
Fourth, that " if any person or persons, upon requisltlpn made by the
governor of Newfoundland, or the person exercising the office of governor, or by any governor, or person exercising the office of governor, in
any other parts of his Majesty's dominions in America as aforesaid, or by
any officer or officers acting under such governor, or person exercising the
office of governor, in the execution of any orders and instructions from
his Majesty in council,^shall refuse to depart from such bays or harbors;
or if any person or persons shall refuse or neglect to conform to any
regulations or directions which shall be made or given for the execution
of any pf the purposes of this act; every such person so refusing or
otherwise offending against this act shal^ forfeit the sum of two hundred pounds."
Reserving comments upon this statute for another place, we proceed
with our narrative. The four years succeeding t\\e ratification of the
conyention, were years of comparative quiet and security. But in
1823, the ships-of-warArgus* and Spairow-hawk spread alarm among
our fishermen who were employed in the Bay of Fundy, and elsewhere
in the waters of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. They molested
some, and ruined the voyages of others; but the Charles of York,
Maine—a prize to the Argus—is believed to be the only vessel captnr^edi
and sent into port for trial.
In 1824, Captain Hoare, of his Majesty's brig Dotterel, seized nine
vessels.t The conduct of this gentlemari caused much excitement and
indignation. I personally witnessed many of his proceedings. However censurable his general course, it is not remembered that he. disturbed the who fish in small open boats in the Bay of
Passainaquoddy, and in waters always corisidered free and common
to the people ofthe two flags. Of the vessels which he captured, one
was retaken by her crewj assisted by one of his own men; and two
others Were rescued by their crews, aided by an armed party from
In September, three memorials,' signed by citizens of Maine who
were aggrieved by the acts of Captain Hoare, were transmitted to the
President. These papers, with the accompanying protests and depositions as to the wrongs complained of, formed the subject of a cprrespondence between the Acting Secretary of State and the British
charge d'affaires. No results followed. Our countrymen demanded
* Formerly of the United States navy, and captured in the war of 1812..
tThe documents submitted to the Senate by the President, August, 1852, contain several ,
papers connected with matters inlhe Bay of Fundy at this period.


S. Doc. 22,

indemnity and reparation. The British functionary required, on the
other band, " the punishment of the transgressors fbr the act of violence
perpetrated on persons bearing his Majesty's commission while engaged
in the discharge of their public duties.". Meantime, the President di^rected Ether Shepley,* the >attorney of the United States for Maine, to
proceed to the frontier and make inquiry into the circumstances of the
matters in dispute, and especially those attending the recapture of the
three Vessels just referred to. That Captain Hoare was sometimes
unjustly reproached by'our fishermen, was admitted by the calm and
^considerate in. 1824; and this fact, in common fairness, ought to be
stated in this brief record of the troubles which are connected with his
command of the Dotterel, and which will not soon be forgotten by those
who live on the eastern border of Maine. ,The charge preferred against
him that he converted the vessels which he seized into tenders for
assist:ing him iri his operations " prior to their adjudication in the courts,"
he denied in the most explicit terms. It was riever proved to be true.
It may be said, also, that the capture of seven of his prizes was held to
be justifiable by the British charge d'affaires in his correspondence
with Mr. Adams. The accuracy ofthis opinion, however, we shall
have occasion to dispute.
The excitement occasioned by the zeal with which Captain Hoare
" guarded the coasts from the intrusion pf foreign fishermen and smugglers," did not suddenly cease. In 1825, his conduct, on motion ofthe
Hon. Jeremiah O'Brien, who represented the frontier district of Maine,
became a subject of inquiry in Congress; and the United States
schooner Porpoise, under the command of Lieutenant Parker, was despatched to the Bay of Fundy for the protection of our flag.
Early in 1826, the Dotterel was again the terror of our fishermen.
The presence of the United States sloop-of-war Lexington, Captain
Shubrick, under orders to cruise upon the fishing grounds, relieved
their fears; and the season passed away without any serious disturbance. But tliere had. been rio -adjustment of the difficulties which
occurred in 1824. The note of the British charge d'affaires to our
governinent, relatiye to the recapture of two of the Dotterel's prizes,
"had not, in fact, been answered. Meantime, Mr. Adams had passed
from the Department of State to the Executive Mansion. Mr. Clay
had succeeded him; and a new British niinister had arrived in the
•United States to treat with the new administration. To have delayed
a reply to that note for a year and a half, was equivalent to a refusal;
^ and it could hardly be hoped by Mr. Vaughan, that Mr. Adams would
permit, as President, what he had declined as Secretary of State. Yet,
on the 29th of April,t that functionary called the attention of Mr. Clay
to,the fact that his predecessor, on the fifth of October, 1824, had informed our government "that an outrage had been committed by some
armed citizens of the State of Maine, in forcibly rescuing, off* Eastport,
two American vessels,- the Reindeer and Ruby, which had been captured by his :Majesty's cruisers while fishing in the Bay of Fundy in
places where the United States had by treaty renounced the right so
* ^^6 present chief justice ofthe supreme court of Maine.
t Executive Document 100, pages 54,55,


S. Doc. 22;:



to do;" arid; in renewing the request "for an acknowledgment of the.
improper conduct of-the persons engaged I n " the enterprise, he reinarked that " the British government was disposed tp waive all demand
for the punishment of the offenders, as the act resulted apparently from
unpremeditated violence."
• It does not appear that Mr. Clay ever replied to this letter, pr that;
the required "acknowledgment" was ever made in any form.
The naval and diplomatic officers of his Majesty attached far more'
importance to this affair than it deserved. Admiral Lake stated, and
the British charge d'affaires repeated to Mr. Adams, that the. Reindeer
and Ruby were rescued -'by two. schooners and an open boat, underAmerican colors, full, of armed men, with muskets and fixed bayonets,.,
amounting to about one hundred, headed by a Mr. Howard,* of East-,
port, who is said to be a captain in the United States militia." But tlie
truth is, that "Mr. H o w a r d " was a mere stripling, and a merchant's,
apprentice. I was- a witness to the whole affray. The two vessels
in question were partly owned by young Howard's employers. As
they hove in sight under charge of Captain. Hoare's prize-masters, a.,
party of some thirty persons, many of whom, were boys, and without
" m u s k e t s " or weapons of any sort, were hastily collected and embarked.. The deed was bravely done, and at the moment won the
plaudits of grave men. Persons of mature years who deliberately arm
themselves to expound treaty stipulations, are not to be justified; but
the acts pf generous, impulsive youth, admit of apology and extenuation,
The period of quiet which followed the transactions last noticed indicates that Captain Hoare was too zealous, or that his successors were
remiss in the performance of their duty, or that the masters of our fishing vessels suddenly reformed their practices, and conformed to the
provisions of the cpnvention. In January, 1836, Mr. Bankhead,. the
British charge d'affaires, at the instance of the colonial authorities,
called the attention of Mr. Forsyth, Secretary of State,t to "repeated
acts of irregularity committed by fishermen of the United States;" but. >
- the papers which accompanied his note specify the encroachments of
a single yessel only-^-namely, the schooner Bethel, pf Provincetown,
Massachusetts. Still, the President, '-'without waiting for an examination of the general complaint," or that of the solitary instance cited,^^
''directed the Secretary ofthe 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 Americari fishermen, under the convention of 1818."
111 March, of the same year, an act was passed by Nova Scotia of
extreme, and, in some of its provisions, of inexcusable severity. It provides (among other things not material to our present purpose)— .
That '5officers of the colonial revenue, sheriffs, magistrates, and any;
* William A. Howard, subsequently a midshipman in the United States navy, and a cap-tain in the revenue service. He was in command of the steam cutter McLane at the 'attack,
on Vera Cruz, during the late war with Mexico.
t Executive Document, 100, p. 55. ,
^ ^





other person duly Gommissioned for that purpbse, ma.y go on board any
vessel or boat within any harbor in the province, or hovering within
three miles of any of the coasts or harbors thereof, and stay on board
so long as she may remain within such place or distance."
That "if such vessel or boat be bound elsewhere, and shall continue
within such harbor or so hovering for twenty-four hours after the-master
shall have been required to depart, any one pf the officers above men- .
tioned may bring such vessel or boat into port and search her cargo,
and also^ examine the master upon oath, and if the master or person in
command shall not truly answer the questions demanded of him in such
examination, he shall forfeit one hundred pounds; and if be any
prohibited goods on board, then such vessel or boat, and the cargo
thereof, shall be forfeited."
That "if the vessel or boat shall be foreign, and not navigated according to the laws of Great Britain and Ireland, and shall have been
fourid fishing, or preparing to fish, or to have been fishing, within three^
marine miles of such coasts or harbors, such vessel or boat and the
cargo shall be forfeited."
That "if any seizure take place arid a dispute arise, the proof touching the illegality thereof shall,be upon the owner or claimant."
That "no person shall enter a claim to anything seized until security
shall have been given, in a penalty not exceeding sixty pounds, to answer and pay costs occasioned by such claim; and in default pf such
security,"the things seized shall be adjudged forfeited and shall be condemned."^
• T h a t " no writ shall be sued out against any officer or other person
authorized to seize for aii}^thing done until one month after notice inwriting, delivered to him or left at his usual place of abode by the person intending* to sue out such writ, his attorney or agent. In which notice shall be contained the cause of action, the name and place of abode .
of the person who Is to bring the action, arid of his attorne}^ or agent;
and no evidence of any cause of action shallbe produced, except such
as shall be contained in such notice."
That "every such action shall be brought within three months after
the cause thereof has arisen."
That "if on any information or suit brought tP trial on account of
any seizure, judgment shall be given for the claimant, arid the judge
or court shall certify on the record that there was probable cause of*
seizure, the claimant shall nPt recover costs, nor shall the person who
made the seizure be liable to any indictment or sriit ori account thereof.
And if any suit or prosecution be brought against any person on ac-.
couiitof such seizure, and judgment shall be given a,gainst hirii, and the
judge or court shah certify that there was probable cause for the seizure, then the plaintiff, besides the thing seized or its value, shall not
recover mbre than twopence damages, nor ariy costs of suit, nor shall
the defendant be fined more than one shiUing.''
That "the seizing officer may, within one month after notice of ac-'
tipn received, tender amends to the party complaining, or his attorney
or agent, and plead such tender."
That "aU actions for the recovery of penalties or forfeitures imposed
must be commenced within three years after the offence committed."

S. Doc. 22.


And that "no appeal shall be prosecuted from any decree or sentence
of any court in this province touching any penalty or forfeiture, unless
the irihibitibn be applied fbr and decreed wktliin tv^'elve months from the
• decree or sentence being pronounced."
The next riieasure of Nova Scotia was in 1837, when an elaborate
report on the subject of the fisheries was submitted to the House of
Assembly, which embraced a plari of protection by the employment
of steamers on the part of the home government, and of a preventive
force on the part of the government of the colony. The latter recommendation was adopted.
But the desigri of committing the ministry to the plans of:political
leaders in this loyal possession pf the British crown was ^not abandoned. Early in 1838 a joint address of the Legislative Council and
House of. Assembly was transmitted to the Queen, complaining of the
habitual vioiatlon of the convention of 1818 by American citizens, and
j^rayirig for an additlorial naval force to put an end to these aggressions.
In Noveriiber, of that year. Lord Gleiielg, the coloriial secretary, in a
despatch to Lieutenant General Sir Colin Campbell, lieutenant governor
of Nova Scotia, remarked, in reply to this address, that—
" I n obedience to her Majesty's commands, this subject has engaged
the serious attention of her Majesty's government, and it has been determinerl for the future to station, during the, fishing season, an armed
force on the coast of Nova Scotia to enforce a more strict observance
of the provisions ofthe treaty by American,citizens, and her Majesty's
minister at Washington has been instructed to invite the friendly cooperation ofthe American goverriment for that purpose.
" The necessary directions having been conveyed to the lords commissionefs of the admiralty, their lordships have issued orders to the
naval commander-in-chief on the West Indian and North American
' station to detach, as soori as the fishing season shall commence, a small
vessel to the coast of Nova Scotia, and another to Prince Edward
Island, to protect the fisheries. The commanders of these vessels will
be cautioned to take care that^ while supporting the rights of British-^
subjects, they do not themselves overstep the' bounds of the treaty.
You will of course afford them every information and assistance Which
they may require'for the correct execution of this duty. I trust that
measures will prove satisfactory to the legislature of Nova Scotia."
In March,'1839, the consul ofthe United States at Pictou addressed;
, a letter to Mr. Forsyth, Secretary of State, in which, after referring to
the seizure of several of our fishing vessels during the previous year,
-he said that—
" T h e British government has decided to send out two armed vessels, to be stationed during the fishing season on these coasts, for the
purpose of preventing any infringements of the treaty ;* and although I
am well aware that much of the outcry which has been made on this
subject has had its origin in the disappointed feelings of Nova Scotia
fishermen, ori seeing themselves so far outstripped in the successful pursuits of so valuable a branch of commerce by superior perseverance
and skill of their enterprising neighbors, yet I know that, within" my
consular district, a tempting shoal of fish is sometimes, either from ignorance or the excitenient ofthe moment, followed across the prescribed


S. Doc. 22./

limits; and I suppose that during the ensuing season the greatest vigilance will be displayed in looking after offenders."
The seizures in the course of the year were numerous. The Java,
Battefle, Mayflower, Charles, Eliza, Shetland, Hyder Ally, Independ-:
ence. Hart, Ocean, Director, Atlas, Magnolia, Amazon, and Three
Brothers, were amon^. the number; whether for justifiable cause, wilh
form the subject, of inquiry in another place. Her Majest5^'s cruisers
spread consternation on the fishing-grounds throughout the season. The
Hon. Keith Stewart, in command of the Ringdove, was as much
dreaded by our fishfermen in the Bay of Fundy as Captain Hoare had
beeri, in the Dotterel, in the year 1824. In July, a gentleman pf one of
the' frontier ports of Maine informed an official personage at Washing-"
ton-^ that fbur or five hundred American fishing vessels were tfcen in
that bay; that the complaints of the colonists of the island of Grand
Menan had caused the- commanders of the Biitish cruisers to refuse
shelter to our flag even in stormy weather; that nearly one hundred of
our vessels, which had been driven from positions secured to them by
the treaty, had fled for refuge to a single harbor on the American side
of the line; and that our fishermen were generally armed, and would
^ riot bear the indignities to which they were exposed. He added that
*'they can furnish some thousands of as fearless men as can be found
anywhere, at short notice; and, unless our government send an armed
vessel without delay, you will shortly hear of bloodshed." Such was.
the condition pf things, now well remembered, at and near the border.
Elsewhere there was so much difficulty and excitement that the masters of our vessels, whether at sea or at anchor, felt themselves unsafe;
and, molested along the entire coast of NPva Scotia, many of them adjusted their affairs at the close of the season without reward for their
toil and exposure, and in sadness of spirit as to the future. In a word,
there seemed to persons of calm judgment a determination on the part
of colonial politicians to drive our countrymen to extremities. - To exclude us from the Bays of Fundy and Chaleurs, and other large bays,
by lines drawn from headland to headland; to deny to us resort to the
colonial ports arid harbors for shelter and to procure wood and water,
except in cases of actual distress; to dispute our right to fish on the;
5Awe5 of the Magdalene islands, and thus to render the treaty stipulation valueless; and to close against us the Strait of Canso, and of coiisequence to compel us to make the dangerous voyage round the island
of Cape Breton, when bound to or from the Gulf of St. Lawrence,
axe among the pretensions of Nova Scotia seriously asserted in the
memorable year 1839.. The seizures of our vessels, and the other proceedings which we have briefly noticed, attracted the attention of our
government, and the United States schooner Grampus, under the com-mand of Lieutenant John S. Paine, was despatched to the scene of
alarm and commotion. Lieutenant Paine informed himself of the matjters in dispute, and performed his duty With zeal and efficiency. In
his official report to Mr. Forsyth, Secretary of State, he observes that
" t h e injustice and annoyance suffered by our fishermen had soirritated

S / Doc. 22.


them, that there was ground to believe that violence would be resorted
to, unless some understanding should be had before another season."*
In March, 1840, the Assembly of Nova Scotia passed another address
to the Queen, in which her Majesty was again reminded of the grievances of her subjects of that colony. Our government in the following
month, and, as now appears, for the first time, communicated with our
miriister at the Court of St. James on the subject of the fisheries, but
yet withbut instructions to make a statement of our wrpngs to the,
government to which he was accredited.
, '
The early part of the year 1841 is fruitful of events which show the ,
progress of the controversy, and the development of colonial plans; and
pretensions. On the 20th bf February, Mr. Forsyth, Secretary of
State, addressed Mr. ^Steyenson, at Londpn, a letter of definitive instructions, i n w-hieh he reviewed the points in dispute, and stated that,
he was directedby the President to convey his desire that a represent^
ation should be made to her* Majesty's government, immediately on
receipt ofthe despatch, earnestly remonstrating "against the illegal
and vexatious proceedings of the authorities of Nova Scotia towards
our fishermen," and;,requesting of the ministry "that measures be
^forthwith adopted" to remedy " t h e evils arising but of this misconception^ on the part of the prpviricial" government,"and to prevent the
possibility of the recurrence of similar acts." Mr. Stevenson's attention io the representations of Mr. Forsyth was prompt. On the 27th
of March he wrote to Lord Palmerstoii as follows:*
.. " T h e undersigned,kEnvoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States, has the honor to acquaint Lord Viscount
Pahnerstori, her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for • Foreign
Affairs, that he ,has been instructed to bring to the notice of her Majesty's government, without delay, certain proceedings of the colonial
authorities of Nova Scotia, in relation to the seizure and interruption of
the vessels and citizens of the United States enga.ged in intercourse
with the ports of Nova Scotia and the prosecution of the fisheries,on
its neighboring coasts, and which, in the opinion of'the Am.erican government, demand the: prompt interposition of her Majesty's government. For this purpose the undersigned takes leave to submit, to Lord
Palmerston the followirig representation':.
" By the first article o.fthe convention between Great Britain and the
United States, signed at London on the 20th October, 1818, it is.provided:
" 1st. That the inhabitants of the United States shah have forever,
in common with the subjects of Great Britain, the liberty to' take
fish of every kind on that part of the southern coast of Newfoundland
which extends from Cape Ray to'the Rameriuislands, on the western
and northern coast of Newfoundland, from the said/Cape Ray to the
Quirpon islands, on the shores o f t h e Magdalene islands; and also on
the coasts,.bays, harbors, and creeks, from Mount Joly, on the southern
coast of Labrador, to and.'through the Straits of Bellisle, and thence

*Exeoutive Document 100, page 113.


S. Doc. 22.

northwardly indefinitely along the coast, without prejudice, however,to the exclusive rights of the Hudson Bay Company.
"2d. That the Americans shall also have libert}^, forever, to dry and
.cure fish in any part of the unsettled baySjharbprs, and creeks, of the
southern portion of the of Newfoundland before described, and
of the coast of Labrador, the IJnited States renouncing an}^ liberty befbre enjoyed by their citizens to take the fish withiri three miles of any
coasts, ba.ys, creeks, or harbors of the British^ do minion s i n America,not included within fhe above limits, i.e., Newfoundlarid and Labra.dor.
" 3 d . That American fishermen shall also be admitted to enter suchbays or harbors' fbr the purpose of shelter, and of repairing dainages
therein, .and also of purchasing wood and obtaining water, under such
restrictk)ns only as might he necessary to prevent their taking, drying or.
curing fish therein, or abusing the privileges^ reserved to thenii Such are the
stipulations of the treaty, and they are believed to be too, plain and
explicit to leave room for doubt or misa.pprehension, or render the discussion of the respective rights of the two countries at this time neces-;
sar3^ ' Indeed, it does not appear that'any conflicting question of right
between them has as yet ariseri out ofthe differences of opinion re-;
gaxding the true intent and meaning o f t h e treaty. It appears, however, that inkhe actual application of.the provisions of the convention,
(committed on the part of Great Britain to the hands of subordinate,
agents, subject to and controlled by local legislation,) difficulties, growing out of individual act:s, have unfortunately sprung up, amongthe
most important of which have been recent seizures of iVmerican vessels for supposed violations of the tfeat}^ These have been made, it
is believecl, under color of a provincial law, (6th Wm. 4, chap. 8, 18,36,)
passed, doiibtless, with.a view to restrict vigorously,, if not intended to
aim a fatal blow at the fisheries of the United States on the coast, of
, .
• " I t also appears, from Informatiori recently received by the govern-,
ment pf the United States, that the provincial authorities assume a right
to exclude the vessels of the United gtates from all their bays, (ev.en
including those of Fundy and Chaleur,) and likev^kse to prohibit their'
approach within three iniles pf a line drawn from headland to headland]
instead of froni the indents of xhe shores of the provinces! They also
assert the right of excluding them from Biitish ports,'unless in actual
distress, warning them to depart or "get urider weigh and leave harbor •
whenever t h e provincial custom-house o.r British naval officer sha.ll suppose that they have remairied there a reasonable time,', and this without
a full examination of the'/circumstances under which the}?- may have
entered the poit. Now, the fishermen bf the United States believe (if
uniform practice is any evidence of ,correct construption) that the}^ can,
with propriet}^, take ^fish anywhere on the coasts of the British provinces, if not nearer than three ma,iine miles to land, and have the right to
their ports for shelter, wopd" and water; nor has this.claim, it is be-,
lieved, ever been seriously disputed, .based,; as it is, on the plain and
^obvious terms of the convention. - Indeed, the main object o f t h e
'treaty was not orily to secure to Ameiican fishernien, .inthe pursuit of
?their employment, the right of fishing, but likewise to insure him as


Doc. 22."


large a proportion of the conveniences afforded, by the neighboring
coasts of British settlements a.s might be reconcilable with just rights
and interests of British subjects, and the due administration of her
Majesty's dominions. The construction,'therefore, which has been attempted to be put upon the stipulations of the treaty by the authorities
of Nova Scotia, is directly in coiiflict with their object, and entirely
subversive of the rights and interests • of the citizeris of the United
States.' It is one, moreover, which would lead to the abandonment, to
a great extent, of a highly important branch of American industry^
which could not for a nioment be admitted by the government of the
United States.. The undersigned has also been instructed to acquaint
Lord Palmerston that the, American government has. received information, that in the House,of Assembly in Nova Scptia, during the session
of 1839-'40,.a.n address to her Majest}^ was voted, suggesting the extension to adjoining British cplonies of rules and r eg a lations relating to
the fisheries, similar to those in actual operation kn. that' province, and
which have proved so the fishermen of the ynited States;
and that efforts, it is understood, are still making toancluce the other
colonies to unite with Nova this lestrictive, system. Some of
theeprovis.ions.,of her code are pf the most extraordinaiy character.
Among; these is one; which declares .that >any foreign vessel j^'^'eparing
to fish within three miles of the coast pf any of lier Majesty's dominions
in America, shall, together with • the cargo, be forfeited;-that in all
cases of seizure^ the ovA-ner or claimant ofthe vessel, &c., shall be held
to prove hiskrinbcence .or pay treble costs; that he shall be forced to .
try his action within three months, and give one,'month's notice, at least
tp the seizing officer, coiitainiiig 'everything tp be proved 'against. him,
before any suit can be instituted;-and also prove that the notice has
been given. The seizing officer, moreover, is almost wholly irresponsible, inasmuch as he is liable tp no prosecution, if the judge certifies
that there is probable cause; and the plaintiff, if successful in his suit,
is orily to be entitled to tivopence damages, withput costs, and the defend ant'fined iio t more than one shilliiig. .In short, some of these rules
and regulations are violations of well estabhshed ,, principles' of the
cpriimon law of England, and of the principles of the just la\ys of all
civilized iiations, and would seem to have beeri designed to enable her
Maje.sty's authorities to seize and confiscate with impunity American
vessels, and embezzle, indiscriminately, the property of American citizens employed in the fisheries on the coasts of the British provinces.
It may be proper, :also,'. on this occasion,, to bring to the notice of her
Majesty's gpvermnent the assertion of the provincial legislature, 'that
the Gut or Strait of Canso is a narrow strip of water completely within
and dividing, several counties of the province,' and that the use of it
by the, vessels and citizens of the United States is in yiolatlon of the
treaty of 1818. This' strait separates Nova Scotia from the island of
Cape Breton, which was not annexed to the province ^mtll the year
1820. Prior to that, in 1818, Cape Breton was enjoying a government
of its own entirely distinct from Nova Scotia,, the strait-ior ming the'
line of demarcation between them, and being then,"as now, a thorough-^
fare fbr vessels passing intp a.nd out, of the Gulf of St, Lawrence. The
union; of the two.colonies cannot, therefore, be admitted as vesting in

S. Doc. 22.
the province the right to close a passage which has been freely and in.disputably used by the^ citizens of the United States since the year
1783. It is impossible,^ moreover, to conceive how the use ori the part
of the United States, common, it is believed, to all other nations, can
in any manner conflict with the letter or spirit of the existing treaty
stipulations. The undersigned would, therefore, fain hope that her
Majesty's government wpuld be disposed to meet, as far as practicable,
the wishes of the American government in the accomplishing, i n t h e
fullest and most liberal manner, the objects which both governments
had in view in ;entering into the conventional arrangement of 1818.^
He has accordingly been instructed to bring the whole subject under
the consideration ofthe British government, and to remonstrate on the
part of khis government against the illegal and vexatious proceedings
of the authorities of Nova Scotia against the citizens of the United
States engaged in the fisheries, and to request that measures may be
forthwith ^adopted by the British government to remedy the evil arising
out of the misconstruction, on the part of the provincial authorities, of
their conventional engagements, and prevent the possibility of the rer
currence of similar acts. The undersigned renews to .Lord Palmerston, &c.
-;- • " A. STEVENSON


" M i r c A 2 7 , 1841,"
This despatch was transmitted to the Secretary for the Colonies on
the 2d of April, and (seven days later) a copy of It was sent to Lord
Falkland, Lieutenant.Goyernor of Nova Scotia, with a request that
his lordship would make immediate inquiry irito the allegations contained in it, and furnish the Colonial Office wkth a detailed report on
the subject, for the information of her Majesty's government. On the
28th ofkhe same month. Lord Falkland wrote to Lord .John Russell,
that " The greatest anxiety is-felt by the irihabitants of this province
that the ;convention with the Americans, signed at Lpndon on the
20th October, 1818, should be strictly enfoi}Ced; and it is hoped that
the consideration of the report may induce your lordship tp exert
your influence in such a manner as to lead to the, augmeritation of the
force (a single vessel) now engaged in protecting the fisheries on the
Banks of Newfoundland, and the south shore of Labrador, and the employment, in addition, of one or two steamers for that purpose.
" The people of this colpny have not been wanting in effbrts to repress the incursions ofthe natives of the United States upon their
fishlngigrounds, but have fitted out with ;good effect some small ai'med
vessels, adapted to follow trespassers into shoal water, or chase them
on the seas;" and that, "finding their own means inadeqriate to the
suppression.of this evil,khe Nova Scotians earnestly entreat tlie further
intervention and protection of the mother country."
His lordship's letter enclosed, a copy. of a repprt pf a committee
on the fisheries of Nova .Scotia, which had been adopted by the House
of Assembly, and a " c a s e " stated, at the request of that body, "for
the purpose of obtaining the opinion of the law officers of the crown
in England." The preamble of the latter document recites the rights

S. Doc. 22.


stipulated in the treaty of 1783; the fact of the war between.Englarid
and the United States in 1812 ; the first article of the conyention of
1818; and refers to the act of .Parliament of 1819, passed to meet,
the conditions of the convention, and also to the act of Nova Scotia
of 1836; and cpncludes with submitting to the consideration of theQueen's advocate, and her Majesty's attorney general, the following^
seven queries:
A. Whether the treaty of 1783 was annulled by the war of 1812,.
and whether citizens of the United States possess any right of
fishery in the waters of the lower provinces other than ceded to
them by the convention of 1818 ;.and if so, what right ?
2. Have American citizens the right, under that conventionj to;
enter any of the bays of this province to take fish, if, after they havd
so entered, they prosecute the fishery more than three marine miles
from the shores of such bays; or should the prescribed distance of
three marine miles be measured from the headlands, at the entiance
of such bays, so as to exclude them ?
3. Is the distance of three marine miles to be computed from the
indents of the coasts of British America, or from the extreme headlands,
and what is to be considered a headlarid ?
4. Have Americah vessels, fitted but for a fishery, a right to pass
through the Gut of Canso, which they cannot do without coming
within the prescribed iimits, or to anchor there or to fish there ; andis casting bait to lure fish in the track o f t h e vessels fishing,, withia.
the meaning of the convention?
5. Have American citizens a right to land on the Magdalene islands,and conduct the fishery from the shores thereof, by uring nets and^
seines; or what right of fishery do they possess on the shores of those;
islands,; and what is meant by the term shpre ?
6. Have American fishermen the right to enter the bays arid harbors
of this province fof the purpose of purchasing wood or obtaining^
water, having provided neither of these articles at the commencement
of their voyages, in their own countryj or.have they the right only of
entering such bays and harbors in cases of distress, or to purchase
wood: and obtain water, after the usual stock of those articles for .the;
voyage of such fishing craft has been exhausted or destroyed?.
7. Under existing treaties, what rights of fishery are ceded to the
citizens of the Uriited States of America, and what reseryed fbr the
exclusive enjoyment of British subjects ?
These queries were sent to the law officers of the crown on the 8th
of June, and on the'30th of August they communicated their reply to
Lord Palmerston. They state that, in answer to thej^?'s^ query—
" We'have the honor to report that we are of Ppinion that the treaty
of 1783 was;annulled by the war of 18IS; and we are also of opinion
that therights of fishery of the citizens of the United States must now
be considered as defined and regulated b y t h e corivention of 1818;
and with respect to the general question, '?jr 50, what right?'* we can
only refer to the terms of the convention as explained and elucidated
by the • observations which will occur in ariswering the other "specific


S Doc. 22,

" 2 . Except within certain defined limits, to which the querj^^ put'to
us does not apply, we are of opinion that, by the terms of the treaty,
American citizens are excluded from the right of fishing within three
miles of the coast of British Anierica; and that the prescribed,distance~
of three miles is to be measured from the headlands or extreme'points
' of land next the sea of the coast, or of the entrance of the bays, and
not from the interior;of such bays or inlets of the coast; and conse-r
quently that no right exists on the part of American- citizens to enter
the bays of Nova Scotia, there to take fish, although the fi.shing, being
within the bay, may be at agreater distance than three miles from the
shore of .the bay, as we are of opiriion. that the term headland is used
in the treaty to express the part of the land we have before mentioned,
excluding the interior of the bays and.the inlets of the coasts.
• " 4 . By the treaty of 1818 it is agreed that American citizens should
have the liberty of fishing m the Gulf of St. Lawrence, within certain^
defined limits,,in commoii with British subjects; and such treaty does .
not contain any words negativing the right to navigate the passage of
the Gut of Canso, and therefbre it may be conceded that such right of
navigation is not taken avy^iy by that convention; but we havp riow
attentively considered the course of navigation to the gulf b}^ Cape
Breton, and likewise the capacity and situatiori,of the passage of
Canso, and of the British domiriions on either side, and we are of
opinion that, independently oi treaty, no foreign countiy has the right
to use or navigate the passage of Canso;' and attending to the terms of
the'convention relating to.the liberty of'fishery to be enjo3^ed b y t h e
Americans, we are also of opinion that that convention did not either
expressly or by implication concede any such right of using or navigating the passage in questiori. We are also of ppinion that, casting
bait to lure .fish in the track of-any Americari vessels navigating the
passage, would constitute a fishihg within the negative terms pf the
'•'5. With reference to the claim of .a right to land on the Magdalene
islands, and to fish from the shores thereof^ it must be obseived that
by the treat}^ the libert}^ pf drying and curing fish (purposes which
could only be accomplished h j landing) in any of the unsettled bays,
&c., of the southernpart of Newfoundland, and of the coast of Labra^
dor, is specifica:lly-provided for; but such liberty Is distinctly negatived in any settled bay, &c.; a;nd it must therefore be inferred that if
the liberty of landing on the shpres of the Magdalene island's had bpen
intended to be conceded, such an. important^concession wonkh have
been the subject of express stipulation, and would necessarily have
been accompanied with a description of the inland exterit of the shore
over which such liberty was to be exercised, and whether in settled or
unsettled parts; but rieither of these iiiiporta:n;t particulars is provided
for, even by implication; and that, among other considerations, leads.'
us to the conclusion that American, citizens have no right to land or
conduct the. fishery from t h e shores of the Magdalene islands. The .
word 'shore' does not appear to be used i n the convention in any other;
than the general or ordinary sense of the word, and must be construed
with reference to the liberty to^be exercised upon it, and wouldkhere

S. Doc. 22.


fore compromise the land covered with water as iax as could be available fbr the due enjoyment of the libert}^ granted.
" 6 . By the. convention, tlie liberty of'entering the bays and harbors
of Nova Scotia for the purpose of purchasing wood and obtaining
water i.s. conceded in general terms, unrestricted by an)-condition ex.pressed or implied, limiling it to vessels duly provided at the coniniencement of the voyage.; and we, are of opinion' that no such condition ca.n be attached to the enjoyment oi the libert}^.
" 7 . .The rights of fishery ceded to the citizens of the United States,
and tliose reserved,for the exclusive enjoyment, of .British subjects,
depend altogether ^upon the convention of 1818, the only existing
treaty on this subject between the two countries, arid the material points
arising thereon have been specifically answered in our replies to the
'preceding queries. ^
" W e have,.i&c..
"Viscount PALMERSTON, K . B . , Sfc, Sc

Fifteen .months ela.p3ed beforeLord Stanley,* who, as the Earl of
Derby, is the present prime minister of Engiand, sent the answ^er of
the crown law^yers tb Lord Falkland. That it was communica,ted with
reluctance, even in Noyember, 1842, is a.ppoTent. The subject to
which it,rela.tes, said lie, "has^fiequently engaged the attentiori of myself and ni}^ polleagaes, with the view of adopting-further measures, if
necessary,, for.the protection of British interests in accordance with the
law as laid down" by these .functionaries. " W e have,-Iioweyer, on
fall con.sideratioii, come to t h e conclusion, as regards the fisheries of
Nova Scotia, that .the- precautions taken by the provincial legislature
appear adequate to the purpose; and that being practically acquiesced in
by the Am'rleans, no further measure's are required/'* (The closing declaration, Vvkiicli I have placed in italics, will not fail to attract notice.)
V Meantiine (between Augusl, 1841, and November, 1842,) Lord Falkland had forwarded to the colonial secretary two additional reports
made by committee's of the Ho.use bf Assembly, " c o m plaiiiing of the
encroachments of'American citizens on the fisheries oi Briiiish North
America, and praying, the establishmerit of a general, code of regular
tions fbr their protection. ' A change" had occurred i n the ministry of
England, .and Mr. Everett had succeeded Mr. Stevenson as our enyoy
at the court of St. James.
* k
.• The coloriists were not .tardy in acting up to the suggestion pf Lord
Stanley, that our government had "practically acquiesced''* in the construction of the converition of 1818, presented in Lord Falkland'si
" C A S E , " and affirmed, by the crown lawyers. Early in 1843, the subj e c t was considered at a meeting of the chamber of commerce of Halifax ; and the opinion of the Queen's advocate, and her Majesty's attorney general,-was.received with.great satisfiction by the merchants
of that cit}^. Hencefokth, in the judgmerit„ of some, competition between the colonial fishermen and our countrynien was at an end. The
"" The successor of. Lord John Russell as Secretary for the Colonies.

S. Doc. 22.


latter, excluded from the great bays by fines drawn from headland to
headland, refused passage through the Strait of Canso, and deprived of
the right of landing on the shores oi the Ma.gdalene islands, were, in
effect, to be confined to the Newfoundland and Labrador fisheries.
Assuming, as the colonial authorities did, that we were bound by a
private and ex parte opinion, of which our government had no official
knowledge, the schooner Washington, of Newburyport, was seized for
no reason, as appears, other than "fishing broad" (to use a term of
fishermen) in the Bay of Fundy. The fact, was communicated to Mr.
Upshur, Secretary- of State, who, on the 30th June, 1843, .addressed
Mr. Everett in the following ternis :* ,
" SIR : I have the honor to transmit to you, herewith, copies of a letter and accompanying papers, relating to the seizure, on the lOth of
May last, on the coast of Nova Scotia, by an officer of the provincial
customs^ ofthe Ameiican fishing schooner Washington, of Newburyport, Massachusetts, " Cheney, master, for an alleged infraction of the
stipulations of the convention of October 20, 1818, between the United States and Great Britain.
"Upori a reference t > the files ofthe legation at London, you will find
that this complaint is riot the first qf a similar characfer which has
arisen out of the proceedings of the authorities of Nova Scotia under
their construction of the convention, and that representations upon the
subject have heretofore been made to the British government.on behalf
of American citizens, but, so far as this department is advised, without
leading tb a satisfactory result. ,
" F o r a full understanding ofthe whole question involved, I would particularly point your, attention to the instructions of this departnient to
Mr. Stevenson, Nos. 71 and 89, of the respective dates of April 17,.
1840, and February 20, 1841, and to the several despatches addressed
by that minister to the Secretary of State, numbered 97, 99, 108, 120,
and 124, during the years 1840 and .1841. . .
" I need not remark iipon the importance to the negotiatinginterests of
the United States of having a-proper construction put upon the first ar- '
tide of the Convention of 1818 by the parties to it. That' which has
hitherto obtained is believed to be the correct one. The obvious necessity of an authoritative intervention to put an end to proceedings on the
part of the Biitish colonial authorities, alike conflicting with their conventional obligations, and ruinous to the.fortunes airid subversive of the
rights of an enterprising and deserving class of bur fellow-citizens, is
too apparent to allow this government to doubt that the government of
her Britannic Majesty will take efficient steps for the purpose. The
President's confident expectation of an early and satisfactory adjustment of these difficulties is grounded upon his reliance on the sense of
justice of the Queen's government, and on the fact that from the year ^
1818, the date of the convention, until some years after the enactment '
of the provincial law out of which these troubles have arisen, a practical construction has been given to the first article of that instrument
which is firmly rehed on as settling its meaning in favor of the rights
of American citizens as claimed by the.United States.
.^^ Executive Document 100, p. 117.


S. Doc. 22.


" I have, therefore, to request that you will present this subject again
to the consideration of her Majesty's government by addressing a note
to the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, reminding him
that the letter of Mr. Stevenson, to Lord Palmerston remains unanswered, and hiforming him of the anxious desire of the President that
proper nieans should be taken to prevent the possibility of a recurrence
of any like cause of complaint."
Mr. Everett, on the lOth of. August of the same year, thus ably and
clearly stated his views :*
" T h e undersigned, Envoy Extraordinary and Mihister Plenipotentiary of the United States of America, has the honor to transmit to the
Ear lof Aberdeen, her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign
Affairs, the accompanying papers relating to the seizure on the lOth of
May last, on the coast of Nova Scotia, by an officer of the provincial
customs, of the American fishing schooner Washington, of Newburyport, in the State of Massachusetts, for an alleged infraction o f t h e
stipulations of the convention of the 20th of October, 1818, bety^een
the UnltedStates and Great Britain.
" I t appears from the deposition of-William Bragg, a seanian on
board the Washington, that at the time pf her seizure she was not within
ten miles of the coast of Nova Scotia. By the first article of the convention'above alluded to, the United States renounce any liberty heretofore enjoyed or claimed by their inhabitants to take, dry, or cure fish
on or within three marine miles of any of the coasts of her Majesty's:
dominions in America, for which express provision i s not made in the
said article.' This renunciation is the only limitation existing on the
right of fishing upon the coasts of, her Majesty's dominions in America,,
secured to the people of the United States by the third article of the
treaty of 1783.
k ^ ' " The right, therefore, of fishing on any part of the coast of Nova
Scotia, at a greater distance thari three miles, is so plain,, that it would
be difficult tocoiicelve on what ground it could be drawn in question,
had not attempts been already made by the provincial authorities of her
Majesty's colonies to interfere with its exercise. These attempts have
formed the subject of repeated complaints on the^part of the government of the United States, as will appear from several notes addressed
by the predecessor of the undersigned to Lord Palmerston.
''From the construction attempted to be placed, on former occasions,
upon the first article of the treaty of 1818, by the colonial authorities,
the undersigned supposes^that the 'Washington' was seized because
she was found fishing in the Bay of Fundy, and on the ground that the
fines within which American vessels are forbidden to fish are to run
from headland to headland, and not to follow the shore. It is plain,,
however, that neither the words nor the spirit of the convention admit
of any such construction; nor, it is believed, was It set up by the provincial authorities for several years after the negotiation of that instrument. A glance at the map will show Lord Aberdeen that there is,
perhaps, no part of the great extent ofthe seaPoasts of her Majesty's .
.possessions in America in which the right of an American vessel to


* Executive Document 100, page 120.


S. Doc. 22.

fish can be subject to less doubt than that in which the ' Washington
was seized.
" F o r a full statement of the nature of the complaints which have,
from time to time, been made by the government of the United States
against the proceedings of the colonial authorities of Great Britain, the
undersigned invites the attention of Lord Aberdeen to a note of Mr.
Stevenson, addressed to Lord Palmerston on the 27th of March, 1841.
The receipt ofthis note was acknowledged by Lord Palmerston on
the 2d of April, and Mr. Stevenson was informed that the subject was
referred by his lordship to the Secretary of'State for the colonial department.
' .^
" O n the 28th ofthe same mPnth Mr., Stevenson was further informed by Lord Pa:liii ers ton, that he had received a letter from the
colonial department, acquainting his lordship thatMr. Steyenson's communication worild be forwarded to Lord Falkland, with instructions to
inquire into the allegations contained therein, and to furnish a detailed
report upon' the subject. The undersigned does not find on the files of
khis legation any further communication frorii Lord Palmerston in reply
to Mr. Stevenson's letter of the 27th March, 1841, and he believes that
letter still remains unanswered.
" I n reference to the case of the 'Washington,' and those of a similar
nature which have formerly occurred, the undersigned cannot but remark upon the impropriety of the conduct of the coloniak authorities
in' undertaking, without directions from her .Majesty's government, to
set up auiew construction of a treaty between the United States and
England, and in proceeding to act upon it by the forcible seizure of
American vessels.
- " Such a summary procedure could only be justified by a case of ex-,
treme necessity, and where some grave and irnpending mischief required,
to be averted without delay. To proceed to the capture of vessels
of a friendly powpr for taking a few fish within limits alleged to be
forbidden, although allowed by the express terms of the treaty, must
be regaxded as a very objectionable stretch of provincial authority.
The case is obviously one for the consideration .of the twogoverhments,
and in which no disturbance of a right exercised without questioii for
fifty j^ears from the treaty of 1783 ought tp be attempted by an}''
su^bordinate authority. Even her Majesty's government, the undersigned
is convinced, would riot jiroceed In such a case to violent measures of
suppression without some understanding with, the government of the
United States, or, in the failure of an attempt to come to an understanding, without due notice given of the course intended to be pursued.
" The undersigned need: not urge upon Lord Aberdeen the desirableness of an authoritative intervention on the part of her Majest3^'s
government to put an end to the proceedings complained of. The
President of the United States-entertains a confident expectation of an
early and equitable adjustment of the difficulties which have been now
for, so long a time under the consideration of her Majesty's government..
This expectation is the result of the President's reliance upon the sense
of justice of her. Majesty's government, and of the fact that from,the
year 1818, the -date of the converition, until some y^ears after, the attempts of the provincial authorities to restrict the rights of American

S. Doc. 22.


vessels by colonial legislation, a practical construction was given to the
first article of the convention, in accordance with the obvious purport of its ternis, and settling its understood by the United
States.., •
. k
" The undersigned avails hini'self of this opportunit}^ to tender tp Lord
Aberdeen the assurance of-his distinguished'corisidera.tion."
Lord Aberdeen did not reply to Mr. Everett's letter until the 15th of
April, 1844. In his answer of khat date, which follpW'S, it seen.khat his loixlship declined to enter into a defence of the course adopted
by Nova, Scotia ; arid that, he confined himself to the seizure of the
Washington, and to an argument upon the term " b a y " as used In the ^
convention. It willbe seen, aLsOj that he justified the detention of the
Washington on the ground, solely, that she " w a s found fishing within
the Bay of Fundy." He.says :*
• .
" The note which Mr. ,Everett, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister
Plenipotentiary ofthe United States of America, addressed to the uii. dersigned, her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs,
bn the lOtli of August last, respecting the seizure ofthe American fishing vessel Washington, by the officers of Nova Scotia, having been duly
referred to the, Colonial Office, and by that office to the governor of Nova
Scotia, the undersigned has now the honor to communicate to Mr. Ev^ erett the result of those references.' .^ ,
" The complaint which Mr. Everett submits to her Majesty's government is, that, contrary to the express stipulations of the convention concluded on the 20th of October,.18,18, between Great Britain and the
Uriited States, an American fishing vessel wa.s seized by the British
authorities for fishing in the Bay of Fundy, where Mr. Everett affirms
that, by the. treaty,-American vess.els have-a right to fish, provided
tlie}^ are at a greater .distance than three marine miles from the coast.
"Mr. Everett, in submitting this case, does not cite the words of the
treaty, but states, in general terms, that by the first article of said treaty
the ,Uiiited States renounce any liberty heretofore enjoyed or claimed
by their inhabitants,' t o take, dry, or cure • fi.sli, on or withiit three
riiiles of any of the coasts^of any Majesty's dominions in America. Upon reference, however,, to the words of thp; treaty, it will be
seen that American vessels have no right to fish, and indeed are expres-sty debarred from fishing. In any bay on the coast of Nova Scotia.
" The words of the treaty of October, 1818, article 1, run thus: 'And
the United States hereby renounce forever any liberty heretofore enjo5^ed'or claimed by the inhabitants thereof, to take, dry, or cure fish, ,
on or within three marine miles of any ofthe coasts, bays., creeks, or harbors of his Britannic Majest5^'s dominions in America, not included
Avithin the above-mentioned limits,, [tha.t. is, Newlbundland, Labrador,
and other-parts separate from Nova Scotia:] , provided, hpwever, that
the Anierican fishernieii shall be admitted to enter such bays or harbors
for the purpose of shelter,' &c.
, .
" I t is thus clearly provided that American fishermen shall not take
fish within three marine miles of anj^ bay of Nova Scotia, &c. If the


* Executive Document 100, page 122.


S. Doc. 22.

treaty was intended to stipulate simply that American fishermen should
not take fish within three miles ofthe coast of Nova Scotia, &c., there
was no occasion for using the word 'baif at alk But the proviso at the
end ofthe article shows that the word 'bay' was used designedly ; for
it Is expressly stated in that proviso, that under certain circumstances,
the American fishermen may enter k?a?/5, by which it is evidently meant
that they may, under those circumstances, pass the sea-line which forms
the entrance of the bay. The undersigned apprehends that this construction will be admitted by Mr. Everett.
" That the Washington was found fishing within the Bay of Fundy,
is, the undersigned befieves, an admitted fact, and she was seized accordingly."
It is possible that the contents of Lord Aberdeen's letter were immediately communicated to Lord;Falkland, since the latter, a few>Weeks,
after its date, issued aproclamation charging all officers ofthe customs,
the sheriffs, and other officials of Nova Scotia, to be vigilant in enforcing the provision of several recited acts ofthe imperial and provincial legislatures, and the stipulations'of the convention with the United States,-relative tp illicit fishirig within certain distance ofthe coasts,
bays, and harbors of British Anierica. Mr. Everett again addressed the
Biitish niinister on the 25th May, .1844, in a state paper which, for.
spirit, dignity, arid force of argument, is a model.* It is here iriserted
. .'
" T h e undersigned. Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotenr
tiary of the United States of America, had the honor duly to receive
the note ofthe 15th of April,'addressed to him by the Earl of Aber-deen, her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in
reply to the note ofthe undersigned of the lOth of August last,'relative,
to the seizure of the American yessel the Washington, fbr having been
found fishing within the hmits of the Bay of Fundy. " The note of the undersigned of the 10th of August last, although
its immediate occasiori was the seizure of the Washington, contained a
reference to the correspondence between Mr. Stevenson and Viscount
Palmerston on the subject of former complaints of the Americari government ofthe manner in which the fishing vessels ofthe United Sta:tea
had, in. several ways, been interfered with bykhe provincial authorities,
in contravention, as is believed, ofthe treaty of October, .1818, between
the two countries. „ Lord Aberdeen's attention was particularly invited
to the fact that no answer, as yet had been returned to Mrl Stevenson's,
note to Lord Palmerston, of 27th March, 1841, the receipt of which,,
and its reference to the Colonial Department, were announced by a
note of Lord Palmerston ofthe 2d of ApriL The undersigned further
observed that, on the 28th of the same month. Lord Palmerstori acquainted Mr. Stevenson that his lordship had been advised from the
Colonial Office that 'copies of the papers received from Mr. Stevenson would-be furnished to Lord F alld and, with instructions to inquire
into the allegations contained therein, and to furnish a detailed report on
the subject;' but that there was not found on^ the files of this legation
any further cpmmunication from Lord Palmerston on the subject.

* Executive Document No. 100, page 123.

S. Doc. 22.



" The note of Lord Aberdeen of the 15th of April last is confined
exclusively to the ^ case of the Washington ; and it accordingly becomiCS the duty of the undersigned again to invite his lordship's attention , to the cbrrespondence above referred to between Mr. Stevenson and Lord Palmerston, and to request that inquiry may be made,
without unnecessary delay, into all the causes of complaint which have
been made by the American governnient against the improper interference ofthe British colonial authorities with the fishing vessels ofthe
United States.
- ^
, " I n reference to the case of the Washington, Lord Aberdeen, in
his note of the 15th of April, justifies her seizure by an armed provincial vessel, on the assumed fact that, as she .was faund fishing i n t h e
Bay of Fundy, she was within the limits from which the fishing vessels
of the United States are excluded by the provisions of the convention
between the two countries of October, 1818.
" The undersigned had remarked, in his note of the 10th of August last,
on the imprppriety of the conduct of the colonial authorities in proceeding In reference to a question of ponstruction of a treaty pending between
the two countries, to decide the question in their own favor, and in virtue of that decision to order the capture of the vessels of a friendly
State. A summary exercise of power of this kind, the undersigned is
sure, would never be resorted to by her Majesty's government, except
in an .'extreme case, while a , negotiation was in train on the point at
issue. ' Such a procedure, onkhe part of a local colonial authority, is,
of course, highly objectionable, and the undersigned cannot but again
invite the attention pf Lord Aberdeen to this view of the subject.
" With respect to ithe main question of the right of American vessels to
fish withiri the acknowledged limits of the Bay of Fundy, i t i s necess'ai*y, for a clear understanding of the case, to go back to the treaty of

• ^



," •



-. _



" By this treaty it was provided that the citizens ofthe United States
should be allowed 'to take fish of every kind on such part of the coast
of Newfoundland as Biitish fishermen shall use, (but not to dry or cure
the same oh 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
ofthe unsettled bays, harbors, and creeks of Nova Scotia, Magdalene
islands, and Labrador, so lopg as the same shall remain unsettled; but
so soon as the same or either of thein 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 wkth the, inhabitants, proprietors, or possessors of that ground.'
" T h e s e privileges and Ponditions were in reference to a country of
which a considerable portion was. then unsettled, likely to be attended
with differences of opinion as to what shpuld, inthe progress of time, be
accounted a settlement from which American fishermen might be excluded. . These differences in fact arose, and by the year 1818 the state of
things was so far changed that her Majesty's government thought it necessary, in negotiating the convention of that year, entirely to except the
^province of Nova Scotia from the" number ofthe places which inight be
fi-equented by Americans as being in -part unsettled, and to provide that


Sa Doe. 2 2 .

the fishermen pf the United,States should not pursue their occupation
within three miles of the shores, ba3^s, creeks, and harbors of that
and other parts of her Majesty's possessions similaiiy situated. ^ The
privilege reserved to American fishermen bythe treaty of 1783, of taking
fishkii all the waters^ arid drjkng them on all the unsettled portions of
the coast of these possessions, was accordingly, by the convention • of
1818, restricted as follows : ^ ^
" ' The United States hereby renounce forever any liberty heretofore
enjoyed or claimed by the inhabitants thereof, to take, dr}^, or cure fish
on or within three miles of any ofthe coasts, baj^s, creeks, or harbors of
his Britannic Majesty's dominions In America, not. included \yithin the
aboye-mentibned limits : provided, how^ever, that the Ariierlcan fishermen shall be admitted to enter such bays or harbors for the purpose of
sheltering and repairing dainages therein, of purchasing wood, and of
obtaining water,.and for. no .other purpose whatever.'
, '
" The existing doubt as to the construction of the provision arises from
the fact that a broad'arm of the sea runs up to the northeast, between the
provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. This arm of the sea
being commonly called the Bay of Fundy, though not in reality posr
sessing a l l t h e characters/us ually implied by the term 'bay,' has of
late years been clainied by the provincial authorities of Noya Scotia, to
be included among ' the coasts, bays, creeks, and harbors' forbid den to
American fishermen.
" A h examination ofthe map is.sufficlentto show the doubtful nature
ofthis construction. It was notoriou.sly the object of the article ofthe
treaty In question to put an end to the difficulties which had grown out
of the operations of the fishermeri from the United States a.loiig the >
coasts and upon the shores of the settled portions pf the, country, and
for that purpose to remove their vessels to a distance not exceeding
three miles from the same. In estimating this distance, the undersigned
admits it to be the intent ofthe treaty, as it is itself reasonable, to have
regard to the general Jliie ofthe coast.; and, to consider its baj^s, creeks,,
and harbors---ihat is, the indentations usually soaccounted—as included ,
within that line. But the undersigned cannot'admit it to be reasonable,
instead of thus following the general directions ofthe coast, to draw a
fine from the southwesternmost point of Nova Scoiia to the terniination
ofthe northeastern boundary between .the Uriited States and New.
Brunswick, and to consider the arms of the sea which will thus .
be cut off*, and wh;ch caiiiiot, on that line, be less than sixty riiiles
wide, as one ofthe bays on the coast from which Anierican vessels, are
excluded. By this interpretation the fishermen of the United States
worild be shut out frpm the waters distant, not" three, but thirty miles,
from any part of the colonial coast. The undersigned cannot perceive
that any assignable object of the restriction imposed by the con yen ti on
of 1818 on the fishing privilege accorded to the'citizens of the United
States by the treaty of 1783, requires such a latitude of construction. " I t k s obvious that (by the terms of tlie treaty) the farthest distance to
which fishing vessels of the United States are obliged to hold themselves,
from the colonial coasts and bays, is three miles. But, owing to the;
peculiar configuration of these coasts, there is a succession of bays indenting the shores, both of New Brunswick and Nova, Scotia, within the;*

S. Doc. 22;


Bay of Fundy. The vessels ofthe United States have a general right
to approach all the bays in her Majesty's colonial dominions, within
any distance not less than three miles—a privilege from the enjo3^ment
of which they will be wholly excluded—in this part of the coast, if the
broad arm of the sea which flows up between New Brunswick and
Nova. Scotia Is Itself to'be considered one ofthe forbidden bays.
".Lastly—and this consideration seems to put the maj,ter. beyond .
doubt—the construction set up by her Majesty's colonial authorities,
would altogether nullify another, and that a most iiriportant stipulation
of the treaty, a.bout.which there is no controversy, viz : the privilege
reserved to Ameiican fi.shing vessels of taking shelter and repairing
damages In the bays within which tlie}^' are forbidden to fish. There
is, of course, no shelter nor means of repairing damages for a vessel
entering the Bay of Fundy, in itself considered. It is necessary, before
reliefer succor of any kind can be had, to traverse that broad arm of
the sea and reach the bays and harbors, properly so called-, which indent thexoast, and \yliicli are no doubt the bays cu^d harbors referred
to In the convention pf 1818. The" privilege pf entering the latter in
extremity of weather, reserved by the treat}^,, is of the utmost importance. It enables the fishernian, whose equipage is alwa^^s very slender,
(that of the Washiiigtpn was four men all told;) to pursue his laborious
.occupation-with comparative safetj^ in the as>:urance that in one of the
sudd.en and dangPrpus changes of weather so frequent and-so terrible
on this iroiirbound coast, he can take shelter in a neighboring arid friendly
To forbid him to' approach within thirty miles of that port, ex-,
cept for shelter in extremity of v^^eather, is to forbid liim4o resort there
for that purpose. It is keeping him at such a distance at sea as wholly
to destroy the value of the privilege expressly reserved.
" I n fact it would fellow, if the construction contended for by the British colonial authorities were sustained, that two entirely different limit-'
' ations would exist in reference to the right of shelter reserved to Amer-'
ican vessels on the shores of her Majesty's colonial possessions. They
would be allowed to fish withiiikhree miles of the place of shelter alohgthe greater part ofthe coast; while in reference to the entire extent of
shore within the Bay of Fundy, they would be wholly prohibited from
fi.shing along the cpast, and would be kept at'^a^ distance of twenty or;
thirty miles from any place of refuge in case of extremity. There arecertainly no obvious principles which render such a construction probable.
" T h e undersigned flatters himself that these considerations will go
far tp satisfy Lord Aberdeen ofthe correctness ofthe Anierican understanding of the words ' Ba.y of Fundy,' arguing on the terms of the
trccities of 1783 and 1818. When it is admitted that, as the undersigned is advised, there has been no attempt till late j^ears to give them.;
any other con.5tructlon than that for which the Anierican government
now contends, the point would seem to be placed beyond doubt."
" Meantime Lord Aberdeen willallow that this is a question, however,
doubtful, to be settled exclusively by her' Majesty's .government and
that ofthe United States. No disppsition has been evinced by. the Iat-ter toktnticipate the. decision .of the question; and the undersigned must
again repiesent it to the Earl of Aberdeen as a matter ^of just complaint


S. Doc. 22.

and surprise on the partof his government, that the>opposite course has
been pursued by her Majesty's colonial authorities, who have proceeded
(the undersigned is confident without instructions from London) to capture and detain an American vessel on a construction of the treaty which
is a matter of discussion between the two governments, and w^hile the
undersigned is actually awaiting a communication on the subject prom^
ised to his predecessor.
" T h i s course of conduct, it may be.added, objectionable under any
circumstances, finds no excuse in any supposed urgency of the case.
The Washington was not within three times the limit admitted to be
prescribed in reference to the approach of Ameiican vessels to all other
parts ofthe coast, and in taking a few fish, out of the abundance which
exists in those seas, she certainly was inflicting no injury on the interests of the colonial population which required this summary and violent
measure of redress.
/ " T h e undersigned trusts that the Earl of Aberdeen, on giving a renewed consideration to the case, ,will order the restoration of the Washirigtpn, if still 'detained, and direct the coloriial authorities to abstain
fi-om the further capture of the fishing vessels of the United--States under similar circumstances, till it has been decided between the two
governments, whether the Bay of Fundy is included among 'the coasts,
bays, creeks, and harbors,' which American vessels are not permitted
to approach within three miles.
" T h e undersigned requests Lord Aberdeen to accept the assurances
of his distinguished ponslderation."
' ,
On the 6th September, 1844, Mr. Calhoun* (who had succeeded
Mr. Upshur as Secretary of State) called the attention of Mr..Everett
to the seizure of the American fishing schooner Argus, by the»British
cutter Sylph, off the coast of Cape Breton. From the representation
which accompanied the Secretary's despatch, it appears that the Argus,
when captured, was at a distance of "fifteen miles from any land."
This was the second case of seizure nnd er the new constructiori of the
convention of 1818. Mr. Everett, in presenting the matter to Lord
Aberdeen, on the 9th of October of that year, statedt that " T h e
grounds assigned for the capture ofthis Vessel are not stated with great
distinctness. They appear to be connected parity .by the construction
set up b y her Majesty's provincial authorities in America, that the line
within which vessels of the United States are forbidden to fish is to be
drawn from headland to headland, and not to follow the indentations of
the coast, and partly witfi the regulations established by those authorities, in consequence of the annexation of Cape Breton to Nova Scptia."
That, "With respect to the former point, the undersigned deems it unnecessary, on this occasion, to add anything to the observations contained in his note to Lord Aberdeen, ofthe 25th of May, on the subject
of limitations of the right secured to American fishing vessels, by the
treaty of 1783 and the convention of 1818, in reply to the note of his
lordship of the 15th of April on the same subject. As far as the captute of the Argus was made urider the authority of the act annexing
* Executive Document 100, page 128. -

tExecutive Document 100, page 131.

S. Doc. 22.


Cape Breton to Nova Scotia, the undersigned would observe that he is
under the impression that the question of the legality of that measure
is still pending before the judicial committee of her Majesty's privy
V council. It would be very doubtful whether rights secured to American'
yessels under public compacts could,- under any,circumstances, be impaired .by acts of subspG|ueiit domestic legislation; but to proceed to>
capture Americah vessels, in virtue of such acts, while their lega.lity is
drawn in question by the home governmeiit,-seems fo be a nieasure as
unjust as it is harsh:"
k ' ,
And he remarked, further, that- " i t is stated by the captain of the
'Argus' that the commander of the Nova Scotia schooner, by which he
was captured,- said that, he was within three miles of the line beyond
which, 'on their constructlon'of the treaty, we were a lawful prize, and
that he seized us to settle the/question.'
." T h e undersigned a.gaiii feels it his diity,, on behalf of his government, formally to protest against .an act of this..description. , American
vessels of trifling size, cind pursuing a branch of industry,of the rriost
.harmless description, which, how ever, beneficial to; themselves, pccasions
no detriment to others^ instead of being the debatable fishing
.ground—a remedy fully adequate to the alleged evil—are proceeded'
against as if engaged in the most undoubted infractions of'municipal
law pr the law of,nations, captured and sent into port, their crews de. prived of their clothing- and-perspnal effects, aiid the vessels subjected^
to a mode of procedure in the courts which amounts in many cases to
confiscation; and this is done to settle the construction of a treaty.
' ' A course'so violent, and unnecessarity harsh, would be regarded by
any .;gpverrimeiit as a just cause of complaint against any biher.with
whom it might differ in the construction of a national compact.' But
whpn it is considered that these are the acts of a-proyincial government,
with whom that ofthe United States has arid can have no intercourse,
and that they continue tiiid are repea.ted while the United States and:
Great Britain, the only the treaty, the purport of, whose provisions is'called in question, are amicably discussing the matter, with
every wish, on both sides, to bring a reasonable settlement. Lord
Aberdeen will perceive that it. becomes a.' subject of complaint of the
most serious kind.
- "' • •
• ''As such,' the uridersigned is instructed-again to bring it tp Lord
' Aberdeen's-notice,,and to express the confident hope ;that srich meas-,
ures of redress as the urgency ofthe case requires will, at the;instance
of hiskordship^ be promptly^resorted "to."
, The events- of f845 •\vere highly interesting'arid important. The
colonists had, apparently, accoinpiished their long-cherished plans.
The opinion of the crown lawj^ers in 1841;. the'declaration of Lord
Stanley in 1842,that our government "practically cicciuiesced''^ in the new
Gonstruction of the, convention; and the capture ofthe Washington in
,1843, for,an infringement of that construction, and for;no other offence
whatever; were all calculated to impress them with the belief tliat^ the
contest Was at an':end-. Such,. I confess, waskhe Inchnation of my
own mind. My home was on the frontlet; I was a dealer in the pro-'
ducts of the sea, .and was in theklaily transaction of business with ffsh-^
• ermen of New.Brunswick- and Nova-Scotia, and ..was .Well-advised of


S; Doc. 221

the measures which were adopted by the colonists, from time to time,
to induce the riiinlstry at hpme tp sustain their pretensions. The zeal:
which was mariifested'by those who managed the Biitish side of the
ease, anel khe seeming apathy of the American press and the Anierican.
people; the rumors from the Gpyernment House at Halifax, and the want
of all informatjipn frpm the White Hpuse at,Washington^^ gave rise to
much alarm. Official silenqe on pur part was alt last broken; and such
of our citizens as. were engaged in the fisheries, .or were,'Other^^ise
involved kn the issue of the controversy, were astpurided, in June^ a t
the following paragraph whjch^ appeared in the." Union," a newspaper
supposedto enjoy the confidence of our goyernment, and .said, in the
popular sentiment,, to be its "organ." " We are\gratified," said that
paper, "to be now enabled to state, t h a t a despatch has been recently^
receiyed at the Department of State froni Mr. Everett, our minister at
London, with which he transmits a.iiotefrpriiLord Aberdeen, containing
the satisfactory iritelligence that, after a recorisideration of the subject,;
although the Queen's government adhere to the construction of the con?
vention which they have always maintained, they have still Pome to
lihe determination of relaxing from ity so far as to allow American .fishermen to pursue their avbcationsin an}" part of the Bay of Fundy,.pioylded they dp not apprpaphT—exc.ept in the cases specified in the treaty
of 1818—within three riiiles of the entrance o i a n j bay on the coast
of Nova Scotia or New Brunswick.
*' This is^an imppitant concession, not merely as: removing an occasioa^
of frequent and unpleasant: dis agreement between: the tw-o- go vernments,v*
but.:as reopening to our citizens those valuable, fishing grounds withiu
the Bay of Fundy which they enjoyed befbre the war of 1812, but«
irom which, as the British government has since mainta^^
they were
e^^cluded by the .conyention of 1818.''^^
; ^
The assettion, irom. such a source, that the, British government had
"always maintained]]' the eons true tion of the conventipn cpntended for inthe " c a s e " submitted to-the crown lawyers by Lord Falkland, in 1841i;
the annunciation that our': vessiels yvere no longer tofisli " within^ three
iriMes of the ENTRANCE of amy ba.y on the coast of Nova. Sqotia or Newj
Bfimswick,''* the Bay pf -Fundy alone excepted; the further declaration,
that the fishing grounds of that bay "enjoyed before the. wai; of 181-2;,".
rind lost to us by-that event, were now '.'teppened''to, us by " an impbi:tant concession."-^excited the liveliest sensibihty, and were regarded
in; the fishing, towns pf Maine and,: MassaGhusetts With dismay. T h e
colpnists,had pushed their claims so secretly and so adrbitly, that the;
crown ing acts, of thpir policy were haidly known to our country men who
tesorted to their seas; and the feet' that, the Bay/of Fundy was in & pite,/was first ascertained by iiiariy of them, on the .seizure of the:
*' Washirigton" for fishirig there. It was expected,that some more defc
nite; annuriciatlori would be made, or that the correspondence between?
Mr. Everett and the British government^ which preceded and led to the
*'cpncessioii,.',' would follow the article just quqted from the "Union;;'*'
but the precise teims; of the arran.gernerit of 1845 were never stated,;
either in that paper or elsewhere; and the citizens whose property w;as;
exposed to capture by iBritisll cruisers and colonial cutters were left to
. pursue, their business iri appreliension anS doubt. Under these circum-^

J . Doc. 22.
stances, the Writer of this report assumed the task of attempting to
impress the public mind with the probable state of affiilrs. He wrotp
fpr the periodical and for the newspaper press; :he, addressed letters to
persons interested in enterprises to the British .^colonial seas, and to
persons in official employments; he continued liis labors, in various '
other ways, for quite a year: he was unsupported, and abandoned the
design finally in despair.
The AmerlGan people remained in Ignorance of the tenor, of the cor-PespondeniGe referred to above until. August,, 1852, when; if was em?
braced in the documents submitted b}^ the President to the Senate, in."
answer to a resolution of that body.* ' Lord Aberdeen's letter of March^
1,0, 1^845,k consentirig to admit our fishermen into the Bay of Fundy,
*'a^s ]the concessipii of a privilege,'*'* ^xid in relaxation, o i the new construe^
tion of the conyentlori, and Mr. Everett's reply, ofthe 25th of the same;
month,t accepting the same as the cbntinuatipii; of " a right" always;
enjoyed, and never impaired, are propeiiy iriserted in this connexion.^
The letiter of our minister,it is to be observed, wasamong his last official
acts, as he :was recalled almost immediately after comriiunicating to
our government the cohditioiis which, in opposition to the renionstrances'
of the cblonists, and the alleged"practical acquiescence" of our pwm
cabinet inkhe opinion of the crown lawyers,, he had been able to se^cure; it'closed the correspondence. In ability, it is in no, respect infe^rior to his letter of; May 25th, 1844, already copied, and is- among valuable state pa.pers in our^ arGliives; inasmuch as. it is the onlyone which^we can cite tp show our dissent to,.the British claim to.the'
Bay of Fundy, '^as a iay- within-the meaning; of the .treaty.of 181.8'.""
His lordship said:
• '^'T'he^undersigned, her Majesty's Prineipal ;Secretary oi State-forEpreign Affi;lirs, duly referred to the colonial department the note, w hick
Mr. Everett, Envoy Extraordinary arid.Minister Plenipotentiary.of the;
United States of America, did him the honor to address to him om the25th of May last, respecting the case of the 'Washington,'."fishing ^esr^-.
jsel, and on, t:he general question of the right of'United States;fish '
ermen to pursiie their erilling in the^ Bay,- of Fundy ; and, Kaving short]|^'
since received the answer of that department, the -undersigned is'iiow
enabled to make a-reply to Mr. ^Everett's communication, Avliich: he trusts:.
Will^be found satisfactory.
. '-'
"kn a!cquitthig himself of this diity, the undersigned will not:thinfe
it necessary to enter into a lengthened argument in reply,to the observations which have at diffeterit' tiines been submitted tb' her- Majesty'^s
gpyernment by Mr. Steven.son and-Mr. Everett, on; the subject, of t & ; '
right of fishing inkhe Bay of Furidy, as claimed: in behalf of tiie Unitedj,
States citizens. The* undersigned will confine himself to stating;that
after the niost deliberate reconsiderationjpf the subject,.-and •with every
desire ko do full justice to the United' States,< and tp view the • claims;
put forward on behalf of United States citizens sin, the'most favor^
able;light,,her Majesty's government are rievertheless still eonstrainedt to
deny the right of United States citizens, under the trea.ty of IBiS^to
fish in that part of the Bay of Fundy which, from its geographical

tEx. Doc. 100, p. 135.

t Ex. Doe-100, p. 136.


r.S. Doc. 22.

position, ma}'' propeiiy be considered as included within the British
Her Majesty's government must still maintain—and in this view they
are fortified by high legal authority—that .the Bay of Fundy is rightfully claimed by, as a bay within the. meaning ofthe
treaty of 1818. • And they equally maintain the position which was laid
down in the note of the uridersigned, dated khe 15th of April last,
that, with regard to the^other bays pn the British American coasts, no
United States fisherman has, under that convention, the right to fish
within three miles of the entranice of such bays as designated by a line
drawn from headland to headland at that entrance.
- " B u t while, her- Majesty's goyernment still feel, theniselves, bound to
maintain these positions as a matter of right, they;are nevertheless not.
insensible t o the advantages which would accrue to both countries from
a relaxation of the exercise of Ihativight;. to t h e Uriited States a,s conferring a material beriefit on 'their fishing trade ; and to,Great Britain
and the United States, conjointly and equally, by the "removal of a fertile source of disagreement'between them.
' ' ,, " H e r Majesty's gpvernmsnt: are also anxious, at the same time that
they uphold the just claims of the British crowri, to evince" by evefy
reasonable concession their desire to act liberally and amicably towards
the United Stares.
" T h e undersigned has accordirigly much pleasure in announcing to
Mr. Eyerett .the determination to •which-her-Majesty's government.havp
come, to relax:in favor of the United States fishermen that right which
Great Britain has hitherto, exercised, of excluding those fishermen, from
the British portion of the'Bay-of Fundy, and-they are;prepared to .direct their colonial authorities to allow hencefbrward the United States
fishermen to pursue their avocations in any part of the Bay of Tundy,
provided they do not approach, except i n the cases specified in the
treaty of 1818, withiii three miles of the entrance of any bay on the'
coast of Nova Scotia or New Brunswick.
. -. ;
- ' . *
• " I n thus communicating to Mr. Everett the.liberal intentions of her
, Majest^y's goyeriinient, the undersigned desires to call.Mr. Everett's attention to thekiict that the produce of the<labor of the British colonial
fishermen is at the present moment' expluded by prohibitory duties^on. ,
the part of the United States from, the markets- of that country; and
the undersigiipd would submit to Mr. Everett that the. moment at which
the British government are making a liberal concession to. United
States trade, might well be deemed favorable for a counter^concession
on the part bf the United States to, British trade, by the; reduction of
the duties w'Jiich operate so prejudicially to the interest of the British
colonial fishermen. '
. ,
'•The uridersigned has the honor to Mr. Everett theassu^
ranees of his high consideration."
, ^
Mr. Everett.rejoined:
". The undersigned. Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
of the United States of America, has the honpr to acknowledge the re- .
ceipt of a note of the 10th instant from- the Earl of Aberdeen, her
'Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign .Affa.frs., in reply to

.,S. Doc. 22.:


the: communicatloh of the undersigned of the '15th of May. last, on the
case of the ' Washington,' and the constructiori given by the government of the United States to the conventipn of 1818, relative to the
right of fishing on the-coasts of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
" L o r d Aberdeen acquaints the undersigned, that, a.fter the most de- fiberate reconsideration of the subject, and with every desire to dp full
justice to the, United States and to view the claims put forward ori be' half of their citizens in the' most favorable iight, her Ma.jesty's government are nevertheless stiU constrained to deny the right of-citizens of
the United States, under the treaty' of 1818, to fish in that part of the
Bay of Fundy which from its geographical position may properly be
' considered as included within the'British possessions ; and also to maintain that; with regard to the other bays on the British American coasts,
no United States fisherman has, under that cbnvention, the right to'^fish
within three miles of the entrance -of such bay, as designated by aline
drawn from headland to headlarid at that entrance. ; , ^ , .
, .
" L o r d Aberdeeri, however,iiiforms the undersigned that, although
continuing to maintain these posifcipns as a matter of right, her Majesty's
government are not insensible to the, advantages which might accrue
to both countries from a relaxation in its exercise ; that they are anx- '
ious, while upholding the just claims of the • British crown, to evince
by"^ every reasonable concession their desire to act liberally and: amicably tpwardskhe,United States ;,arid that her Majesty's government
have accordingly come to the deteimiination ' to relax in favor of the
'IJnited States fishermen the right which^Great Britain has hitherto exercised of excluding those fishermen from the British portion of the
Bay of Fundy, arid.are prepared to direct their colonial authorities to
allow, henceforward, the United-Slates .fisliermenko pursue their avocations in^ any part of the Bay lof Fundy, provided^ they do not approach, except in the cases specified in the treaty of 1818, within three
miles bf the entranceof any bay on the-coast of Nova Scotia- or New.
; . •:
, ;.
" The undersigned receives y/ith great satisfaction'.this communication frprii Lord Aberdeeri, which promises the permanent removal of a
fruitful cause^of disagreement between the two countries, in reference
to a valuable portion of khe fisheries in question. The government of
the United States,, the' undersigned is persuaded, will duly appreciate
the fiiendly motives which have the determination on the part bf
her M.ajesty's government announced irK^Lord Aberdeen's note, and
which he doubts not. will have the natura.t effect of acts of libera.iitT '
between powerful states,^ of prpducing benefits to both parties, beyond
any immediate interest which may-be favorably affected.
. ^'While he desires, however, without reserve, to express his sense
of the amicable disppsition evinced'* by her .Majesty's gpveriiment on
this occasion in relaxing in favor of the-United States the exercise of
what, after deliberate consideration, fortified by high legal authority,:
"i.s deemed an unqriestioned right ofkher Majesty's government, the undersigned would be .unfaithful to his duty did he omit to ;
Lord Aberdeen that noarguments haye at any tiine been a.dduced ,^
to^hake the confidence ofthe government of the Uni ted^. States, in theiri
own construction of the treaty. While they have ever been prepared


.S. Doe. 22.

to admit, that in the letter of one expression of that instrument there is
some reason for clainiing a; right to exclude United States fishermen
from the Bay of Fundy, (it being difficult to deny to that arm of the
sea the name of 'bay,' which long geographical usage has assigned t o it,) they have ever strenuously maintained that itis Pnly On their own
Gonstruction of the entire article that its knoWn desigri in reference to
the regulation of the fisheiies admits of being carried into effect.
" The undersigned does not make this observation for the sake oif
detracting from the liberality e-vinced , by her Majesty's government in
relaxing from what they regard as their right; but it would be placing
his owu government in a false position to accept;as mere favor that for
which they have so long and strenuously contended as due to them
nridef the convention.'
_ .
• '
" i t becomes the,niore ;necessaiy to make this observation, in. conse^
•quence of some doubt as "to the extent ofthe proposed relaxatioin.
Lord Aberdeen,.after stating that .her Majesty's goverriment felt theniv\
-ielves con strained, to adhere to the right of excluding the Uriited States
fishermen from the Bay of Fundy, arid also with regard to other bays
on the British American coasts, to maintain the position that no United
•States fisherman has, under that convention, the right to fish withimr
three miles of the entrance of such bays, as desjgnated by a line drawa
from headland tb headland at that entrance, adds, that 'while her Majesty's government still feel themselves bound'lo ma.;intain these positions as ;a matter of right, they are not insensible • to the advantagp-^
which wpuld accrue to both cou lit ries from the relaxatipn of that right.'
'" This form ;ofexpiession might seem to indicate Jhat the relaxation
proposed had' reference to both positions; but when Lord Aberdeen
proceeds to state more particularly its nature and extent, he confines
it to\a permission tP be. granted t o 'the'United States' fishermen to
pursue their'ayocatipns in any part of the.Ba.y of JF,undy, provided
they do not approach, except in the,cases specified in the treaty of 1818;,
'within three miles of the entrance of'any bay on the coast ;of Nova
Scotia and New B;runswick,'which entrance is ^defined, in another
part of Lord Aberdeen's note, as being designated by a! line drawn
frpm- headland to headland.
> i .
' " In the case of the ' Washington,' which formed the subject o f t h e
note of the undersigned of the 25th May, 1844, to which the present
Gomniunication' of Lord- Aberdeen is a reply, the-capture, complained ^
of was in the waters: of the Bay of F u n d y : the principal portion of
the argument pf the undersigned was addressed to that part of the subj e c t ; and he is certainly under, the impression that it is the point of
greatest interestin the discussions which have been hitherto carried on
between the k w o governments, in reference to the United States' right
-of fishery on the Ariglo-TAm erica ri coasts. ^ . "In--the case, however, of the ' Argus,' which' Was treated in the
note of the undersigned of the 9th of October, khe capture was in the
waters which wash the northeastern coast of Cape Breton, a portiori of
the Atlantic ocean intercepted indeed between a straight line drawn
from Cape North to the northern' head of Cow bay, but possessirig
none of the characters of a bay, (far.less so than the Bay of Fundy,)
and not called a 'bay- pn ariy,map whichkhe uridersigned has seen*

S. Doc. 22.


The. aforesaid lliie is a degree of latitude In lerigth; and as. far as reliance can be placed on the only maps (English ones) in the possessioii
lof the undersigned on which this coast is distinctly laid down, it w.ould
exclude vessels from fishirig grounds which niight be thirty miles frorri
the shore.
' ,
"iLord Aberdeen, in his note ofthe 10th Instant," on. the case pf the
f Argus,'observes that, 'as the point of the coiistruction. of the convention of 1818,, in refe.rencetp the right of fishing in the Anglo-American
-•dep,endencies by. citizens of the United^ States, is treated in' another riote
-of the undersigned, of this date, relative to the case of the 'Washington,,'
Ae undersigned abstains from again touching on that subject.' •
",This expression taken by itself, would,seem to authorize the expe.ctation that the waters'where these two vessels respeetively were captured woukl be held subject to the same principles, whether of restriction. or relaxation, as indeed allthe .considerations which occur to the
'undersigried as haviiig probably^ led her Majesty's government to- the
relaxation in reference to tlie Bay of Fundy^exist in full and even superior force in reference to the waters on the northeastern coast of Cape
Breton, where the, 'Argus' was seize'd. But if her Majesty's provincial
authorities are permitted to re;gard as a 'bay,' any portion pf the sea
which can be cut off'by a direct line connecting two points of the coast,
however destitute in o.ther respects of the character usually implied by
tliat name, not only will tlie waters on the northeastern coast pf Gape
Breton, but on iriany other parts of the shores of the A.nglo-x\meriGan dependencies^ where such exclusion has not yet been thought of, be,prphibited to American fishermen. . In fact, ^,the waters which.wash, the
entire souitheastPrn coast of Nova Scotia, from Cape,Sable to Cape
Canso, a distance on a straight line of rathek less than three hundred
miles, would in .this way constitute a bay, from which .United State.s
•feherinen would be excluded.
*^The undersigned, however, forbears to dwell bn this subjectj"being
far fi'om certain, ori a comparison of allthat is said in:the two notes of
Lord Aberdeen of the'10th instant, as to the relaxation proposed by
her Majesty's government, that it is not intended to embrace the waters
ofthe northeastern coasts of Cape Breton, as well as the: Bay of Fundy.;
':' Lord Aberdeen, towards thb close ofthe note i n which the, purpose
•of her Majesty's goyernm.ent is communicated, inyites the attention of
the undersigned to the fact that-British colonial fish is,,at the present
time, excluded by prohibitory duties, from the markets of the United
'States, and suggests that the momerit at which, the British gpvernment
are ma-king a liberal cpncessibn to United States trade, might be deemed
favorable tor acburiter concession o n t h e part of the. Uriited States to
British trade, by the reduction of duties 'which operate so;.prejudicially
to the interests of British colonial fishe'rmen.
'^The unGlersigned is of course without instructions whiph enable him
to make any'definite reply to this suggestion. It is no, doubt true that
the British Golonlai fish,' a s ' far as duties a r e cpncerned,. enters the
United States market, if at all, to some disadvantage. The governrrient
of the United States, he Is persuaded. Would gladly make any reduction
i n these duties which Would not seriously injure the native fishermen;
but Lord Aberdeen is aware that the encouragement of this class of


S. Doc. 22:

the seafaring community has ever been considered, as well in the
United States as Great Britain, as resting on peculiar grounds of expediency. It is the great school not only of the commercial but of the
public marine, and the highest considerations of national policy require
it fbstered.
.'' The British colonial fishermen possess considerable advanta.ges over
•those ofthe United States. The remoter fisheries;, of Newfoundland
.and Labrador are considerably-more accessible to the colonial than to
the United States fisherriien.. The fishing grounds on the cpasts of New
Brunswick and jNova Scotia, abbunding in cod, mackerel'and herring,
lie at the doors ofthe fbrrrier; he is therefbre able to pursue his avocation in a smaller class'of vessels, and requires a smaller putfit; he is able
to use the net and the seine to great advantage in the small bays and
inlets along the cpast, from which the fishermen of the United States,
under any construction ofthe treaty, are excluded. All, or nearly all
the materials of ship-building, timber, iron, cordage and canvass, are
cheaper in the colonies than in the United States, as are salt, hooks and'
fines. There is also great advantage enjoyed in the former in reference
to the supply of bait and curing the fish. These, and other'causes,
have enabled the colonial fi.shermen to drive those ofthe United ^States
out of many foreign markets, and might do so at home but for the protection afforded-by the duties.
' ;
' " I t may bemadded that the highest duty on the kinds of fish that
would'be sent to the American market is less than a; half-penny per
pound, which cannotklo; more than cbunterbalance the. numerous •advantages possessed-by the colonial fisht^rinen. '- ^
" The undersigned supposes, though he has no particular informa-:
tion to that effect, t:hat equal or higher duties exist in the colonies on the
importation offish from the United States'.
" T h e undersigned requests the Earl of accept the assurance bf his high consideration."
. ', .
At the date of these letters, Mr. Everett seems to have believed that
'" the negotiation :was In, the inost favorable state for a full and satisfactory adjustment", of every question in dispute. This is evident
from his despatch of April 23d, 1845, to Mi*. Buchanan,* who had succeeded Mr.' Calhoun as Secretary of State, and from other sources
'which are equally authentic." The opening of the Bay of Fundy, considered in itself aloiie, "though nominally confirming the interpretation
of the treaty" which the-colonictl authorities had set up. Was," in fact,
" a practical abandonment of i t ; " and we have the highest assuranpe
that the Biitish government "cpntemplated. the further extension of
the same policy by the adoption of a general regulation that Anierican
fishermen should be allowed freely td enter. .«// bays of wiiich the
mouths were more' than- six niiles wide." This intentipn was comkmviicated to Lord Falkland by Lord Stanley in a despatch of May
19., 1845. The former, in his reply, dated June 17, requested that, as
the plan had reference to matters deeply afiecting the interests of Nova

* Executive Document 100, page ;152.

S.'Doc. 22.


Scotia, and Involved so many considerations to the elucidation of which
local knowledge and inforniation were essentially necessary, the negotiation might be suspended until he should have an opportunity of
addressing the coloiiiaksecretary again. In a second despatch, \yrJi,teii
on the 2d of July, Lord Falkland observed that in previous communications he had very fully explained the reasons Why he should deeply
lament any relaxation of the construction of the treaty which would
admit of the American fishing vessels carrying on their operations
within three miles of., a line drawn from headland to headland of the
various bays on the coast.of Nova Scotia, and that he did not then retract the opinions he had expressed on these occasions. He said,
farther, that, as much technical knowledge and verbal accuracy
were required in treating the subject, kie had directed the attorney
general of the colony to ^prepare a report, which he enclosed, and to
which .he desired. Lord Stanley's particular attention; andthe remarked, in conclusion, that -" he was conviriced such relaxation of the
treaty of 1818, as w a s apparently contemplated by Lord Aberdeen,
would,^ if carried Into effect, produce very ^deep-rooted dissatisfaction
l)oth in his own colony arid in New Bruiiswick, and cause much injury
to a very large and valuable class of her Majesty's subjects." A copy
of the repprt of the Flon. J. W.k Johnston, referred'to by Lord ;Falkland, follows." American readers will fail te.findthe " technical knowledge .and verbal accuracy" indicated by his lord'ship; while, if they
'will turn to the arguments of Mr. Everett, to wiiich it replies, they
.wkll^also find that the positions .of our minister are neither fairly met
nor essentially weakened. It ma,y be admitted that soriie. points are
stated wkth force and with fairness. But this - document adds nothing
ko the reputation of the attorney general,^whp is justly 'considered to
be an able man; for it is deficient in_lea.rning,'upon the,matters in controversy, deficieiit in"accuracy," in the staterrients of facts relative to
the course and character of our fishernien, and in its tone and. spirit
• hardly more to be admired than the .Gonimon accounts "of "American
aggressions''which appear in the.colonial newspapers.
* Under date of June 16, 1845, Mr. Johnston says: ;
' -.
^ " M Y L O R D : Agreeably to your excellency's desire, I have the honor
to report such suggestions as appear to arise from the despatch of the
Right, Hon. the Secretary of State fori the colonies, dated lOtli May
last, and the correspondence accpriipanying it, of the United States
. minister at London and her Majesty's governmerit, on the subject ofthe
fisheiies on the coasts of her Majesty's North American provinces. „ ..
" T h e concession of a right ,"to fish In the Bay of Fundy has been
followed by the a:nticipated consequerice, the demand for more extended surrenders, based upon what has been already gained; and it
is to be feared that the relaxations now contemplated, if carried into
e;ffect, will practically amount to: an unrestricted- license to American
fishermen. '
" . j.
- . ;
' .•
" Wheii their right, to fish within the larger bays, or at the mouths pf
the smaller inlets, shall be established, the ease with-which they may
run into the shores-—whether to fish, or for obtriining.bait, or for drawing oft* the shoals of fish, or for smuggling—and the facilit}^- of escape

S. Doc. 22.
before detection, notwithstandlhg every guard which it is within thp
means of the province to employ, will render very difficult the attempt
to prevent violatipiis of the remaining restrictions, while, in the case of
m^nres, the means of evasion and excuse, which experienc'e has shown
to be, under any circumstances, abundantly ready, will be much en" An. instance has just bccurred which illustrates this apprehension,
•and confirms the observatlonsto the same effect contained in the report
I had the honor to make to your excellency on; the 17th September
last, onthe same subject.
" A n Anierican fishermari, on the 5th of this month, was seized in
the B ay ,'-of Fundy, at amchor 'iiiside ofthe light-house at the entrance
of Digby Gut,' about a quarter of a mile from the shore, his nets lying .
on the deck, still wet, and with the scales of herrings attached to the
meshes, and having fresh herrings^on board his vessel. • The excuse
sworn to is, that rough weather had made^a.harbor necessary; that the
nets were wet from being recently^ washed; but that the fish were
caught while the vessel was. beyond three miles from the shore. "Hence, toO, will be extended and aggravated all the mischiefs to
our fisheries from the means used by the Americans in fishing, as by
jigging-^drawjrig seineS' across the mouths of the rivers-r-and other
expedients,;, from the practice of drawing the shoals from the shores, by
baiting; and, above ah., from their still more pernicious habit of throw. ing the gaibage upon the fisbing-grounds' and along the shores.
"Every facility afforded the American fisherman to hpld fi-equent,
easjr, arid cbnipai*atiyely^ safe intercourse with the shores, extends another evil, perhaps more serious in its results—-^the illicit traffic carried •
lOn under the cover of fishing—in •which not only the revenue is
defrauded, and the fair dealer discountenanced, but the coasts and remote harbors afe filled with noxious and useless articles, as :the poison^
ous rum and gin and manufaetufed teas, of which already too much is
introduced into the country, in exchange for the money and fish of the
settlers; and from this intercourse, when habituaband established from
year to year, the moral and political sentiments of our popuiation cannot but sustain irijury ^
" I n the alignment of the.x4Lmerica.h ministe'r his excellency appears
to assume that the question turns on the force of the word 'bay,'* and
the peculiar expression of the treaty in connexion with that word; ;but
although it was obviously the clear intention of its framers'to keep the
American fisherriien. at a distance of three .marine miles from the
''bays, creeks, and harhors,'*• there does not, therefore, arise any just
reason to exclude the word coasts, nsed in the same'connexion in the
treaty, from its legitimate force and iheaning; a;nd if it be an:admitted
rule of generaLlaw that the outline of a coast is to be defined, not by
its indentations, but by a line extending from its principal-headlands,
then waters, although riot known urider the designation, nor having the
general form of, a bay, may yet, be within the exclusion •designed by
the treaty.
• <
-"His exGellency the Anierican minister complains of the 'essential
injustice'* of the law of this pro vince under Which the fisheries are-atr

S. Doc. 22. '


tempted to be guarded, and is pleased to declare that it 'possesses norm
of the qualities/of the law, of civilized states hut iis forms."*
" H i s excellency. In using this language, possibly supposed that the
'colonial act had attempted to give a construction to the treaty of 1818,
tor had, Originated the, penally iand mode of . confiscation which he
deprecates. But had his excellency examined the. act of the province
he has so strongly stigmatized, he would have discovered that, as regards the limits within which foreign fish.ermen' ate .iTestricted from
fishing,-the colonial iegislature has used b u l the words of the treaty
itseifi and a comparison of the provincial act with an act bf the imperial Parliament, the 59 George. Ill, ch. 38,, would have shown him that,
as regards the description of the offence,khe^ confiscatibn. of the vessel
and cargo, and the mode of proceeding, the legislature of Nova .Scotia
has, in eSect, Only declared what Was already, .and stiilis, the law of
the renlm under imperial enactments, k
'•'Mr. Everett adverts to what he considers 'the extr^mdy ohjectionahh
character of the 'course pursued by the provincial authorities in presuming to
decide for themselves a question under disc^mion between the two governments.^
' ' B u t i t i s •submitted, that if the American goTernm'ent controverted
the eonstruction giveri to the treaty, the cpurse pursued on the part of
NovaScotiaJ which rnade confiscation dependeHt on a judicial trial and
decision, was,neither presumptuous nor inexpedient; nor could the necessity of security for £&0, or thp risk of costs, in ease of ,fail-ur,e^
offer any serious impediment to the defence in a matter •which, as Mr.
Everett declares, the goyernment of the United States deems of great,
'natiorial, importance. '
.^ /
" U p o n the othei:hand, if the American fishermen could only seek a
relaxation of the construction given to the treaty in England and Nova
•Scotia., as a matter oi favor,^ ' ijresumption^ would rather seem to lie' on
that side which insisted on enjoying, the privilegefee/orethe boon was
conferred. '
• ' .
' ' I n any view of the matter, as the American fisherman was never
meddled with until he had voluntarily passed the controverted limit; it
is difficult to comprehend why the American minister's proposition
would riot stand reversed with more propriety than it -exhibits in its
:present form; for his excellency's'regret might not unreasonably, it
would seem, have been expressed a t ' the extremely objectionable course
pursued hy American subjects in presuming to decide for themsehes a question
under discussion between the .ttvo governments,^- by fishing upom the disputed grounds, and thereby reducing the provinciai authorities to the
necessity of vindicating their claim or ;seeing ,it trampled on,, before
any sanction had: been'obtained, either of legal decision or diplomatic
k- ^
- -'YWhen Mr. Everett says that the necessity of .fostering the$
of their fishermen rests on the highest ground of national policy, 'he expresses the sentiment felt In Nova Scotia as .regai'ds.the provincial wel-,
fare in connexion with this^ subjeet. : The Americans are fortunate in
seeing the principle carried into practice; for the encouragement afforded their fishermen by the .'government of the- United States is not
small, and its strenuous, persevering,.and successful efforts to extend


S. Doc. 22.

their'fishing privileges on her Majesty's coasts but too practically evince
its desire and ability to promote this element of national and individual
prosperity. As far as I can learn, a liberal tonnage bounty is given on
their fishing craft, besides a bounty per barrel on the pickled fish—thus
guarding the fisherman against serious loss, in case of the failure of his
voyage ; and he is, I believe, further favored by privileges allowed on
the importation of salt and other articles, while a market is secured him
at home which insures.a profitable reward fbr the fruit of his labor by
a protecting duty of five shillings per quintal on, equal to fiftyper cent, of its value, andTrom one to two dollars, per barrel on pickled
-fish, according to the different kinds, equal to at least twenty per cent,
of their values.
• - ,
" T h e duty on American fish imported into the colonies is much less,
and the British colonial fisherman is unsustained by.bpunties; but the
chief .drawback to his success is the waint of certain and staple
markets, those on which he is principally dependent being very limited ,
, and. fluctuatitig. - *
' •
^ '
"In'the contrast, therefore-drawn by Mr. Everett, between the advantages of the colonial and American fisherman^ the extensive home- •
markets of the latter, independently of the encourageiiient he receives
from bounties and other sources,.much-^ more than compensates, I be- .
lieve, for any local conveniences enjoyed by the fbrmer.
" The colonists cannot understand the principle on which concession,
ill any form, should be 'granted to .the American peojile in a case
avowedly 'touching the highest grounds of national policy ,* even although
concessiori did not irivolve cpnsequences, as^ it unhappily does in the
present case,^ both iiiimediate and remote, most injurious to Polonlal interests. '
" T h e .strong and emphatic language of the treaty of 1818 is, that'
the: United States 'renounce forever any'liberty heretofore enjoyed or
'-claimed by the inhabitants thereof to take, dry, or cure fish on,-or
within three marine miles of, any of the coasts, baysj creeks, or harbors of his Britannic Majesty's dominions- in America not included
within the abovermentioned limits: provided, however, that the American fishermen shall be admitted to enter such bays and harbors for the ,
purpose of shelter ,and of repairing damages therein, of purchasing
wood and of obtaining water ^and-fo.r no other purpose whatever.-' Britthey shall be under such restrictions as may be necessary to-jirevent
their taking, drying, or curing; fish therein, or in, any other manner
whatever abusing the privileges hereby reserved to them.'
"If this national contractkoes.not exclude the Americans from fishing within the indentjitions^ of our coasts and frpm our hays a.nd harbors,
the people of Nova Scotia, while it remained in force, could not complain of the exercise of the right. .
., ^ . , .
" B u t Ave beheve the treaty.does exclude them, and we but ask a.
judicial inquiry and determination before'these valuable priyileges are
relinquished: the highest law opinions'in England, have justified our
beliet~-her Majesty's government, in theory, avows and mauitains it.
" T h e compact, too,-was in its nature reciprocal; and had the treaty,
in this particular,,been (as it: was not)' hard , upon the United ;States, x

. S. Doc. 22..


there may doubtless be found. In other parts of It, stipulations at least
equa,lly unfriendly to Biitish interests. "
" I repeat, my lord, we cannot understand why the Americans should
not be held to their bargain ;' nor can we perceive the principle of justice ^
or prudence which would relax its terms in favor of a foreign people
yyliose means and advantages already preponderate so .greatly, and that,,
tbo, without reciprocal .concessions, and at .the expense of her Majesty's
colpnial subjects, whose prosperity is,dpeply involved in the protection
and enlargement of this important element of their welfare. •
" I f the present concessions to the United States axe hoped to end
and quiet the controversy between their fishernien ^and this province,
tliere is too much reason to fear the expectation will end in disappointment. From' the- greater encouragement that will be giveri kor viol?.kion of the treaty, under the modified conditions suggested to be irn-.
posed on the American fishermen, and froni the multiplied facilities for
eyasion and falsehood, increased and not diminished occasions, of collision c?m only b e expected; and it may safely .be asserted, from a
knowledge ofthe subject and of the parlies, that, unless the British
government are content to maintain ihe.strictconstruction.of the treaty,
as a mere question. of past contract and .settled right, 'whatever that,
•construction may be, the encroachment, of the American fishermen will
not cease, nor'disputes end,., until they have , acquired unrestricted
. license over the whole shores of Nova Scotia. ,
• "It, is hoped, my lord, that if ari arrangement such as is coiitem-.
plated should unha.ppily be made; its terms may clearly express that
the American fishermen are to be excluded from fishing within three
miles ofthe entrance of the bays, creeks, and inlets, into which they are
wo^. to be permitted to .come..
• .
"Some doubt on .this poirit rests on the language of Lord.Stanley's
despatch, arid the making the criterion bf the restricted bays, creeks;
and inlets to be the width of the double of three riictrine mailes, would
strengtheri., the dqubt by raising a presumptlorithEit the :shores of these
bays, &CC., andkhe shores of the general coast,, were to be considered
in the^same light and treated on the same footing.
" T o avoid such a construction, no less than to abridge the threat-,
eried evil, the suggestion made to.your^ Mr. Stewartkhat at.
least this ^yidth'should be riiore-th .an the dpuble of three marine m i l e s say three or four rimes mpre—ought, F think, to be strongly enforced.
" I have the honor to be, your lordship's most obedient serva.nt,
. : ^
': " To .the Right Hon..His Excellency ~
"VISCOUNT FALKLAND, Lieut. Governor, ^c.,^'c:, (|t." •
^^ Meantime New Brunswick was as active to prevent the measures
urider consider ation of the British ministry as her sister-cplony of Nova
Scotia. The Hon. Charles Simonds, speaker of the': House of Assembly, aiid a gentleman of great wealth and of high, consideration in
colonial circles, was deputed by the. council of the first named possession of the crown to attend to its interests,'and to remonstrate against
fiirther •" concessions.''' On his arrival in England he met the.Hon..


a Doc. 22,

George R. Youngs a distinguished personage of Nova Scotia, who was
anxious to join him in behalf of his own colony. The Gaspe Fishing,
and Mining Company, selected an agent to act with ;them,:andthe three
gentlemen waited upon a member of the Board of Trade,, to whom
the}^ communicated their views of the case.
Interviews with several, other functionaries followed;; and, firially,.
theyanet Lord Stanley, the secretary for the eolonies, to whom Mr...
Simonds, as the only one who was . officially authorized to address this.:
lord ship, made " a , strong representation'' of the injurious .GonsequenceS;
certaiiily to result to lier Majesty's.American subjects, were the negotiations with Mr. Everett t o be concluded on ;the ;basis proposed.^ Thesecretary assured him, in reply, that."-riothing should be ;done to injurethe colonies;" and'Mr. Simonds., after his return tb New. Brunswick,-'
stated his. entire confiderice the effect of h i s " representations"-to;;
change the designs,, the ^ministry.
The liberal policy towards the United States,:known to have had the
positive saiietion of the first minister of the Grown,,(the late Sir Robert'
Peel,) which was designed to.remove all reasonable^complaints on ourpart, was abandoned. -It was defeated by the means here •stated, and
by memorials, to; the Queen, from rnerehants. and others in New.Bruns^
wick and Nova Scotia, cwhich we need;not specially mention. Tidings.-of success soon reached khe gratified colonists. On the 17th of Sepn^
tember, 18.45, Lord Stanley thus wrote to.Lpr^i Falkland:
"Her,Majesty's- government have attentively considered^ the representations contained in your despatches Nos. 324. and 331, of the 17tfe
of June and 2d of July, respecting the policy of granting permission!
to:the fisheries, of the United States to fish in the Bay of Chaleurs, and '
other large bays of a similar character on the coastsof New Brunswick
and Nova Scotia; and apprehending from your statements.that any such
general; conGessipn would.-be injurious:to the interests' of the BritishNorth American provinces, we have abandpned the iritention we:had
entertained on the subject, and shall, adhere 'to the strict letter of the
treaties'Which exist betweenvGreat Britain and the United States r.el^.
ative to the fisheries in North America, except in so far as they, may
relate tq the Bay of :F,undy, which:has been, thrown openkp • the North
AmerlGansundervGertain'restrictions. .•<• .
" I n announcing this.decisiion to ypu,. I must, atkhe same tinie,. direct
your attentiori; tO'the absolute necessity of a SGrupulbus Observance of
those treaties .on the piart of the colonial authorities, and to the dariger
wiiich cannot fail to arise from any overstrained assumption of tlie
p3wer of excluding the fishermen of ;the Uriited States from the waters
hi which they have> a right to fbUow their .pursuits;''
I t i s possible.that, had our government seconded the efforts of our
minister .at the Court of St. James, and had instructed, him, iri,:posilivG
and earnest terins, that the pretensions and claims of the colonists,.,
which -were': at last adopted by the Biitish: government, had not been^
and.never would be,, admitted as a just- and. proper commentary, on theeonvention of 1818, the despatch from which the preceding extract is
made would never have' been written; and that of consequence the
excitement and difficulties of 1852 would never haye: occurred. As it


S. Doc. 22.


wasi the children of t h e " t O r l e s " triumphed ^^^^ the children ofthe
" whigs" of the Revolution.
The events of 1846, and of the three succeeding years, will not .
detain us.but a moment. The seizure and total loss of several Americari. vessels, and the renewed efforts. of, the Nova Scotia House of
Assembly to-close the Strait of CansOj for reasons stated in three annual reports of committees of that body, are the most important, and
all which we need notice.
As we open upon the occurrences of 1851 We are met wkth a fourth
report on. the very Jmmane and favorite 'plan of closing'Cariso; which^
for reasons presently to appear, should be preserved in thesepa.ges.
" The committee appointed to consider the' question of the navigation'
by foreign vessels of the; Gut-of Cansb, beg leave to report as follows:
" T h e question subriiittedtoyour committee involves the consideration, fir^t, of the right of. the' legislature of this province to impose restrictions or; obstructipiis upon foreign vessels wishing the use of thepassage; and secondlyi the policy of imppsing any, and what, restrictions or obstructioris. ; Your j committee, in the cpnsideratipn of tlie first
point, are aided materially by the action of a committee of this house
inthe year 1842, who prepared a series of questions wiiich were sul>
mitted by Lord Falkland tp the .Golonial secretary, and by him to the
law-officers of the eroWn in England, upon the general subject of the
rights, of fishery as reserved to this GOuntry by the treaty with the
United States in the year 1818, and also respecting .the navigation of
the Gut of Canso. .As the Gonsideratioii of ypur committee has been
solely' dlreGtisd to the latter point, it is unnecessary to advert to the
issues rais'ed upon the other points. ' The invpstigation is, therefore,'
confined, to.'-the fourth; question submitted-—^that is to say^ Have yes.sels
of the' United States of America, fitted out for the-fishery, a right to
pass through the; Gut Or Strait-of; Canso, which they cannot do withput
cbming within the. presGribed limits, or to anchor there or to fish therej
and i s casting, bait to lure r fish in the track of, the vessel, fishing withiri
the meaning of the convention?
-' ^.
•*' This-question, with the others, was suggested by tho consideration'
of a:rempnstranGe from Mr.'Stevenson, then-United" States, minister i n
England; dated'27th. of, March, 1841, addressed to Lord Palinersto;n,
then and; now F'Oreigti Secretary, against, the seiziire of fishing vessel
belonging to citizens of the Uriited States for alleged breaches of' the.
terms of the. convention of 1818, a copy of which was forwiarded to;
Lord Falkiand, then , lleritertant-^governoF of this province, and submitted by- him to the'legislature of-1842, This note contains' the -following;
, observatioriS; in respeet^to-khe.riay igatlon of the Gut of Canso : ' It may
be proper, also, on this occasion to bring to the; notice of her Majesty's
government the assertion of the provincial legislature, that " the Gutor Strait of Cariso is a narrow strip of water, completely within and
dividing seyeralcounties .of the province," and tiiat the use-of it b y the
vessels and-citizens of the.United States is In violation of the treaty of
18-18. This strait separates No va Scotia from the island'of .Cape,
Breton, which was riot annexed to the province until the year 1820.
Prior to that, in 1818, Cape Breton Was enjoying a government of it's
own,, distinct from- Nova' Scotia, the/strait forming the fine of demarca^*


S. Doc, 22:

tion between them; and being then, as now, a thoroughfare for vessels
passing into and. out of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. ' The union of the
'two colonies cannot, therefore, be admitted as vesting in the province
the right to close a passage which has been freely and indisputably
used by the citizens of the United States since the year 1783.'. It is
impossible, moreover, to conceive how the use on the part ofthe United
States of the right of passage, common, itis believed, to all nations,
can in any manner conflict with the letter or spirit of the existing treaty
" T h e questions having been previously forwarded,by Lord Falkland
to Lord'Jphn Russell, Lord Falkland, on the Sth of May, 1841; addressed to Lord John Russel a very able despatch on the general subject of the fisheiies, in which previous provincial legisla:tion was satisfactorily vindicated from ch'a.rges made by Mr. Stevenson for the seizure,
improperly, of Ameiican fishing vessels;kind clearly showed that the
provinciariegislation was founded upon and sustained by previous imperial acts,upon the same subject; .and which despatch most completely
silenced any further complaints of a like nature. This despatch also
refers to the navigation.of the Gut oi Canso,.upon which Lord Falk- ,
land therein remarks, in answer to Mr. Stevenson, ' H e r Majesty's ex^
elusive property and dominion in the Strait of Cansp is deemed',maintainable upon the priocijiles of internatio.iial law already referred to,
and which it is considered will equally a,pply, whether the ' shore • on
each side form part of the same pi'ovince, or of different'provinces be-^
longiegtoher Majesty. This strait is very narrow, not exceeding, in
some parts, one.,mile' in breadth, as may be seen on.trie admiralty
chkrl;- and its naviga.tion is not: necessary fbr communication with the
space beyond, which may be reached by going round the island of
Cape Breton.'
" L o r d Falkland again says :^'I have now, I,-established, that
if the interpretation put upon the treaty by the inhabitants, of-Nova
Scotia is an incorrect one, they are sincere in their belief of the .justice
and iiiterpretatipri,.^aiid-most anxious to have itke.sted by capable
authorities; and further, that if the laws passed by the provincial legislature are really of the .oppressive nature they are asserted to be by
Mr. Stevenson, they were enacted inthe belief that the framers of theni
were doing nothing more than carrying out ihe views of the home
governnient as to the mode in which the colpnists shpuld protect their
pwn dearest interests. , I enclose a copy of the .proclamation contaiiiing
^ the act of the 6tli William* IV, of which Mr. Stevenson complains; and
any alteration in its provisions, should such be deemed necessary, may
be madC' early in the next session of the provincial Parliament.
'^ The opinion of the Queen's advocate and her Majesty's attorney
general on drawn up by Lord Falkland, and upon the questions
submitted b y t h e committee, kvas ericlo.sed by Lord Stanley to Lord
.Falkland, accompanied by a despatch dated the 28th of November,
1842.. The opinion of the law officers of the croWn, sustained as it
was by the Biitish governmerit, upon the point now under discussion,
is as follows: ' B y the convention oi 1818, it is agreed that'Ameiican
citizens should have the liberty of fishing in.the Gulf of St: Lawrerice,
and withiii certain defined limits, in:'coiinnon with Biitish subjects,; and

H. Doc..23;

' ;


such corivention does not contain . any words negativing the right to
navigate the passage ofthe Gut of Canso, and therefore it m a y b e
conceded that such right of navigation is not takeii away by that coiiventipn ; but we, have attentively considered the course of navigation
to the gulf by Cape Breton, and likewise the capacity and'situation of '
the passage of Caiisof and of the Biitish dominioiis on either side, and
w^e are of opiriion that, independently of treaty, no foreign country has
the right to use or na,vigate the passage of Canso, and attending to the
liberty of fishery to be,enjoyed by American citizens. We are also of
opinion that the convention did not, either expressly or by necessary
implication, concede any such righbof using or navigating the passage
in question.'.
. .
" T h e ' o p i n i o n pf the British ; government, resting upon that of the.
law officers pf the crown, is,, therefore, clearly .expres'sed to the head
of the gpvernment of this province, for his direetiioii.and guidance, arid
that of the legislature. The ^ case ig dpcided ,'after a • full examination
•of the arguments on-bpth sides. " Mr. Stevenson complains of the exercise of .the. right "asserted by the goverriment here, to-control the
^passcige of Canso.' Lord Falkland submitted his. views, as well as
tliose of the- committee,; in opposition to those.of Mr.:Stevenson; and
the decision Is' unequivocally against the American. claiiiiV It will be
observed that Mr. Stevenson rests his opposition to the right clainied
principally upon the fact that the island of Cape Breton was a distinct
colony at the time of t h e , convention of 1818 ; and lieiipe argues that
the province of Nova Scotia, not having then thekoZe right to the waters
-of the Gut of Canso, could not now claim to exercise an unlimited
eontrpl. Admitting that such'^dld not then e', it is clear that if a
common right iS'" enjoyed 'solely by.^ two.parties, their union would
give compilete., cbiitrol; and it friiiiy contended that Nova
Scotia and Cape Breton, being: noW under One goverriment, possess the
sariie powers united as .khey did befbre the union, as respects third
parties; arid that the effect ofthe union only operates to prevent antagonistic action reiatively between them. . The law officers ofthe crov^ii,^
however, take higher ground, and insist, first, that no foreign pbwer
:has any. such right, as that contended for by Mr."Stevensori, unless conveyed by treaty; and, secondly, that ho such right is conferred by the
treaty of 1818 to American citizens. Having :such/ high .authority in
fayor ofthe existing control of the navigatioii of the passage in question,
it might be considered as conclusively settled;^biit as this exclusive
right is contested pil the part of the American government, the opinion
of the late Chancellor Kent, an. American jurist of the highest standings
in favor of the exercise of that right, as given in a chapter of his celebrated Legal Commentaries uppn the Law of Nations, is of peculiar value and.iniportance. That distinguished'lawyer, in the work just
mentioned, treating at large upon this subject,"says:
'!•' It is difficult to draw any precise or dete-rrhinate conplusion amidst
the variety.,of opinions as to the distance to which.a State liiay lawfully
.extend its exclusiye dominion over the sea adjoining its territories, and
beyond those : portions of the sea which are" embraced by harbors,
gulfs, bays, and estuaiie..s;, arid, over which its jurisdiction unquestionably extend b. All that can bekeasonably asserted is, that the doniinion











H. Doc. 23.

ofthe sovereign of the shore over the contiguous sea extends as far as
is requisite for his safety and -for some lawililend. ' A more extended
dominion must rest entirely upon force and maritime supremacy.
According to the current of modern authority, the general territorial
jurisdiction extends into the sea as far as cannon-shot, will reach, andno farther, and this is generally calculated t o b e a marine league; and
the Congress of the United States have recognised-thiskimitation by
authorizing the district courts to take Gognizance of all captures made
within a marine league of the American shores.< . The executive authority of this country, in 1793, considered the Whole of Delaware bay,to
be within our territorial jurisdiction, and it rested its-claim upon those
authorities which admit that gulfs,, channels, arid arms ofthe sea belong
to the people with whpse land they are encompassed. ' It was intiiiiated
that the law of nations would justify the -United, States in attaching to
their coasts an extent into the sea beyond the reach of cannon-shot.
Considering the great extent of the line of the American coasts, we
have a right to claim for fiscal and defensive regulations a liberal extension of maritime jurisdiction;-and it would not be imreasonabie, as
I apprehend, to assume, for domestic purposes, connected •with pur
safety and welfare, the control of the Waters on our, though in' eluded ^wlthlnkiiips stretching from quite distant headlands, as, for
instance, from,. Cape Ann to Cape Cod, and from Nantucket toiMontauk point, and from, that point to the Ga,pes of the Delaware, and from
the south-cape of Florida to the, Mississippi. I t i s .certain that our
government would b e .disposed to view with sonie urieaslness and sensibility, in the pase pf war between pther maritiriie powers, the^ use .of
the waters of our cpast fax beyond the;rea,.ch of cannon-shot as cruising
ground for belligerent'purposes. In .17!93, .pur government thought ,
they were entitled, .in reason, to. as broad a margin of protected/navigation as any nation whatev'er, though a t khat time, i h c j did not positively insist beyorid the distance of a marine league from the sea shbres;
^aiid in 1806 our governmerit thought it. Would, not be unreasqnable,
considering the extent of,the United States, the shoa,lness; of their .coast,
and the natural; indicatibn furnished by the welMefined, path of the
Gulf stream,- to immunity from belligerent warfare for.the
space between that limit andthe American shore.'
" From the foregoing extract it will be.observed; that Chancellor Kent
agrees with the principles, put forth by the law officers; of khe crown,
and which justify the conclusion 'that no foreign power, independently
of treaty, has any. right to riaviga,te the passage of Cansp.' - Having
thus, .bythe highest legal authorities of England and the. United States,
been borne out in the assumption that iio fbreign power has any such
light, the next inquiry is, as to where the poAver. of contrplhng the-passage of Canso exists.. By the act of 1820, Cape Breton was annexed
tp Nova Scotia, and has since that period formed a part ofthis province, ^
which-for nearly; a century has enjoyed a representatiye form of govern^ ment, and which, in making laws,is only controlled- by the operation of
imperial statutes a:nd the veto of the crown. The right to make laws to
affect navigation, except the^registry. of ships, has been • enjoyed and
acted upon by this legislature. Varioris, laws^ haye also been enacted
making-regulations for setting nets, and in-other respects for regulating

H. Doc. 23.


the fisheries in our bays, and creeks. .Statutes have also been passed
here, and assented to in England, fbr collecting light duties in the Gut
of Canso, and .American and other foreign,- and also British and. colonial vessels, have been brought within the operation of those statutes.'
The right, therefore, to legislate in respect of the fisheries and in respect ofthe navigation of the .Gut of Canso, has not only been confirmed
in England, but has been acknowledged in America, in the payment of
light,dutiesa ' "
•.. " The/legislature' of Nova Scotia m a y , therefore, be fairly said\to
havekhe-rightto pass eiiactmeiits either to restrict or obstruct the
passageof foreign vessels through the Gutof,Canso.
" ;The second point, as to-the policy of imposing y^^r^Aer restriction
upon foreign vessels passing through the Gut Of Canso, is .yet to be
, " I n the consideration of that .questlpn, the treaty of 1818 affords the
best means of arriving at;a sound conclusion. . The.American government, by it, relinquish all right of fishery rwithin..'three marine miles
of the .coasts, bays, creeks, or .harbors' of this province ; and under
the construction ;put upon that clause; inkEngland, upon t h e same
principle of international faw as is acknoy^ledged and. insisted uppn
,by the American government, the American citizens,'under the-treaty,
have no right, for the purpose of fishery, to enter any,part of the Bay
of St. George lying between the headlands, fbrmed by Cape George
on the one side and Port Hoodisland on the other." American fishermen, therefore, when entering that .bay for fishing purposes, ,are clearly
violating the terms of the' treaty. It may be sa id that the Gut of C an so^
affords a more direct and easy'passage to places,in the Gulf of St.
Lawrence, where American fishermen wpuld be within the terms of
the ti;eaty; but that is no good reason why this legislature should permit them to'use that passage, when their doing^ soks attended with
almost disastrous consequences to our own fishermeri. . W e r e tliere
no other,mea.ns of getting upon the fishing grounds^ in the produce of
•which they are Entitled to participate,, the Americans might then assert
a right of way, from necessity, through the Gut ofCanso. When that
necessity does not exist, it w^ould he unwise any longer to'permit
American fishing vessels to pass thrbugh the Gutof ;Carisp, fpr the folIbWing, among many other reasons that could be given, if necessary : In
the, monthef October j the. net and seine fishery of mackerel in the'Bay of
St. George is most important to the people of that part of the countryj and
requires at the hands bf the legislature every legitimate protection. Up
to this period American fishermen, using the passage ofthe Gut of Canso,
go from, it,into St. Georgb's bay, and not pnly throw out bait tp lure
the fish from the shores where they are .usually caught by our own
fishermen, but actually fish in, all parts.of that bay, even .within bne
mile ofthe shores. It is also a notorious/act that the American fishing
vessels iri that ba,y annually destroy the nets pfthe fisher inen by sailing
through thpm, and every year, in that way do Injiiry to a .great extent—
and this upon ground which they have no ..right to tread. Remon, strances therefore been made to the American government a,gainst
such conduct; but the answer hasknvariably been, -to protect ourselves,
in that respect. Had the United ;Statp"s goverriment adopted suitable prevent'its citizens from trespassing as before me:ntioned,


H. Doc. 23.

it would not be necessary for this legislature to put any restrictions
upon their use of the passage in question; but as the onus, has been
throwii upon this legislature, it is clearly its duty to adopt the most
efficient and least expensive means of protection. If the privilege of
passage is exercised through the Gut of Canso and the bay in question,
it is next to impossible to prevent encroachments and trespasses uppn
our fishing grounds by American citizens, as- it would expensive'coast-guard by night and day t o effect that object, and then
only partial success would result.- It would be unreasonable to tax
the people of this Country to protect' a right which should not be invaded; by fbreigners, and which-can only be invaded dhd encroached
upon by our permitting fbreigners to use a passage to which they are
not entitled.- Without, therefore, any' desire unnecessarily to hamper
American citizens .in the enjoyment of that tq ,which they are justly
erititled, your co.mmittee consider it their imperative duty to recommend such measures for the adoption of the House, as will in the mpst
effectual way protect the -true interests of; this country. - The outlay
necessarily required to Watch properly the operations of foreign fishing
Vessels in the B a y of St. George, so as to..prevent encroachments,
amounts to.a.prohibitlou of its .being accomplished ;^ and it therefore
becomes indispensable-that such vessels be prohibited from, passage
through the Gut of Canso. ^The- strait will always be, to vessels of
all-classes, a place of refuge in a storm, and'American fishing vessels
willbe entitled to the use of if as a harbor for the ..several purposes
mentioned in the treaty. It can" be visited fpr alf those purposes without a. pg^gsage thrpugh being permitted; .and your ^committee therefore
recommend that an act be passed authorizing the governor, by and. with
the advice of his executive council, by prpclamation, either to impose,
a tax upon foreign fishing, vessels for. such amount as rriay be provided
in,the act, or to prohibitkh^ use of. such passage altogether."
. It is of consequence to remark, that, as :far as there is evidence before the public, the fisheries-were not once mentioned by Mr. McLane,
(who'succeeded Mr. Everett,) in his correspondence with the British
gpvernment, during his mission. Nothing,kii fact, seemsko have passed
between the two cabinets, relative to the subject for more than six
years, though England retraced no step after, ppening the Bay of Fundy. Our public documents do show, hpwever, that, between the^years
1847 and 1851, overtures were made to Our goyiernment for '.'a free
interchange of all; natural productions" of the United States and
of -the British Ameiican colonies with each other, either, by treaty
stipiilations or b y legislation. In the first-mentioned year, Canada'
passed an act embracing this object, w^hich Was- to become operative
wheriever the Uriited States should adopt a-similar measure. A billto
meet t h e act .of Canada was introduced into. Congress, and pressed
by its friends, for three successive sessions,.but failed to become a law*
That the people of Canada'were "disappointed," is^a fapt officially
conimunicatPdko Mr. Webster,.Secretary of State, by Sir Henry Bulwer,; the British minister.' It is not iiripossible that the existence of
this feeling.wiil-sufEpiently explain why the Canadian government be-came a party to thp-following agreement, which was signed at Toronto,
on the;2Ist of June, at a meeting- of .colonial delegates, by the

H. Doc. 23.


.president of :the executive council of Canada and the Hon. Joseph
;Howe,* secretary of Nova Scotia:
" M r . Howe having called the attention of his excellency and the
.council to the importance and value of the gulf fisheries, upon Which
foreigners largely trespass, in violation;of treaty ^ stipulations, and Mr.
Chandler having submitted a report pf a select committee'of the House
, of Assembly of New Brunswick, having reference to the same subject,
the government of Canada determines to co-operate with Nova Scotia
in the efficient protection of the fisheries, by proyiding^either a steamer
or two or.morP sallino: vessels to ciuise in'the Gulf of St. Lawrerice
.and along the coasts of Labrador.
. . .
" I t is understood that Nova Scotia will continue to-employ at least
two vessels m the sanie service, a.nd that Mr. Chandler wilhurge upon
the governnient of New Brunswick the impprtance of making provision
for at least one vessel to be employed for the-protection of the fisheries
in the Bay of Fundy."
•\ . Canadian fisherrrien are by no means numerous; and the zeal thus
.ma:nifested to aid Nova Scotia "in preventing the " violation of treaty
stipulations"- could hardly, have: been awakened by the ^ misdeeds of
"foreigners" on the fishing grOurids of the; "gulf." . The motive,is'to
be soiight elsewhere. Just three days after the date ofthe above agreement, the British-ministert addressed a note to Mr. Webster, in which
the previous propositions on the subject of reciprocal trade between
the Uriited States and the Britisii colonies are discussed'at sPiiie length,
and the overture for aii arrangement is renewed. He enclosed an official communication from Lord Elgin, the governor general, and other
papers, which g a v e details ofthe plan as then entertained. , This plan
embraced nP concessions witii regard to f the fisheries in estuaries and
i n t h e mouths,of rivers," and suggested no change's on the coast or
banks of Newfoundland; but, on condition that the United States would
admit " all fish, either cured or fresh, imported from the British North
American-possessions in vessels of any nation or description, free of
duty, and upon terms, in all respects, of equalit}^ withfi^shimported by
citizens of khe United'States," her Majesty's government were prepared
" to throw open to the fishermen of the Uiiited States the fisheries in
the'waters of the British Nbrth .American,colonies, with permission to
those fishermen to land on the coasts of those colonies for the purpbse
of drying their nets and curing their 'fish, provided that, in so doirig,
they do not interfere with the owners of private property or with the
.operatioris of British
* This gentleman is"of loyalist descent.^ John Howe, his .fiither, was a citizen of Boston,
and-published there the^ " Massachusetts Gazette .and' Boston News Letter," a paper which,
in-the revolutionary controversy, .took the side of the. crown. At the evacuation of that town
bythe rbj^'al ariny, he accompanied itto Halifax, where he resumed hus.iness, became king's
printer, and died at a good old age m 1835. His son, mentioned" in the text, was educated a
printer, arid conducted a newspaper for several years. As the acknowledged leader of the
"liberals" of Nova Scotia, he possessed great influence;'but. as a member of Lord-Falkland's
coalition cabinet, lost popularity with his party. His letters to Lord^John Russell, in 1846,
evince great, ability, but contain demands on the home 'governinent which are irreconcilable
-with colonial dependence;, Tliese-papers show that .the Hon. Secretary is soirie what familiar
-with the writings of the " rebels^' of his father's time, a,nd that what was treason then, and. with
.f/icm, is entirely right Tzozi?, and'wi^th the descendants of their opponents.
- f Documents accomp'anying President's message, December, 1851, part I, pp. 89, 90.


H. Doc. 23.

Her Majesty's minister desired Mr. Webster to Inform him whether
our government was-disposed to enter upon negotiations and-conclude
a convention,'on the terms suggested, or whether, preferring legislation, an urgent' recommendation would be made to Congress, at the
earliest opporturiity., The President declined to negotiate; but in hl§
annual message,'Decemb'er, 1851, he said: "Your attention Is again
invited to the question of reciprocal trade between the United States
and Canada "and other British possessions near pur froritier. Overtures
for.a convention upon this subject have been received from her Britarinic Majesty's niinister plenipotentiary, but it seems to b e in many respects preferable that the matter should be regulatedi by reciprpeal legislation. Documents are laid before you, showing the terms which the
British government is willing to offer,:and the measures which it may
adopt, iJ\some arrangement upon this subject shall not be made.^^
. ^ '
Months passed a w a y ; " Congress did.nothing,, said nothing, thought
nothing on the .subject,".* .and the'parties to the, Toronto agreement
became impatient.' In March, 1852, the committee on the fisheries of
Nova Scotia, in, a repprt to the House of Asspmbly,.unanimously recommended a sufficient sum to be placed at the disposal of the .executive ofthe-colony, to eniplpy four, fast-sailing "vessels during the fishing
"season, with, authority to seize all foreign,vessels found emplpyed within
the prescribed limits; and they recommended, also, the adoption-of enlist the aid of the hPme gpvernment, and, secure the •
co^.operatlon of naval steam-vessels'^. This plan was sribstantially executed ;Ky the Assembly., The gpvernment of Canada prpiriptly, followed, and a vessel to crulsein the Gulf of St. Lawrence Was ready
for sea early iri Afay. New Brunswick was tardy, but the authorities'
• of that colony were reminded of their duty by the newspaper press,"
and finally fitted, out two vessels. Piinpe Edward Island frirnished
bne vessel, and^ Newfoundland, though not included, in the arrangements at Toronto, joined..the movement; In June, the colonists received assuranceskrom Sir John Packington, the secretary for the colonies, that "ampng.the many pressing subjects which have engaged the
attention of .her Majesty's riiiriisters siiice their assumption of pffice,
few have beenjnoi^e important, in their estimation, than the. questions
relating, to the protection solicited for the fisheries on the coasts of British North America ;"; and that " h e r Majesty's ministers are desirous to
remove all grounds of, complaint on the part of t h e colonies, in consequence pf the .encroachments ofthe fishing vessels of the United States
upon those waters, from which they are excluded by the terms of thb
. convention .of 1818; and they therefore intend . to despatch, as soon as
; possible,, a small na,val.force'of steamers, or other small'vessels, to\.enforce the obseryance of that convention."
. ^v
The controversy-Avas now rapidly a.pproacliiiig a crisis. As was /
subsequently said by a distinguished statesman,t "this whole matter is to be.explained as a stroke ofvpolicy. It riiay be a dangerous "
step to be taken by the British government, and the colonies may be
:* Speech of Hon..W: H. Seward in the Senate of the United S.tates, August 14, 1852.
+ Hon. John D.avis,'of Massachusetts—^^speech in tke Senate Uriited States, August, 185^.

H . Doc. 2 3 .



playing a game which will not advance materially the interests they
have in view." '
' - ^
On the 5th of July, Mr. Crampton, the successor of Sir-Henry Bulwer, announced to t h e President, in, a note addressed to the Secretary
of State, that he had'"beeri directed by her. Majp sty's government to
bring to the knowledge ofthe government of the United States a measure which has beeri adbpted by her Majesty's government to prevent a
repetition of the complaints which have soi frequently been made of
t h e encroachments of vessels belonging to citizens of the United S.tates
and of France, upon the fishing-grounds reserved to- Great Britain by
the converition of 1818.
'; "Urgent representations having dressed td he.ivMajesty's government by the governors of the. British North American provinces, in
regard to these encroachments, whereby t h e colonial fisheries most
seriously prejudiced, directions iiave been given by the kords of her
Majesty's admiralty for stationing off New Brunswick,- Nova Scotia,
-Prince Edward Island, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, such; a force
of small sailing Vessels and steamers as shall be deemed sufficient to
prevent the infraction of the treaty. It is the command of the .Queen,
that the officers .employed.upon this service should be especially enjofiied, to'avoid all interference, with khe "vessels of friendly powers, except where they are in the act of/violating the treaty, and on all occasions
to avoid,-giving ground of'complaint by the adoption of harsh or unnecessary proceedings, when circumstances compel their arrest or seizure."
Mr. Webster, in a.paper dated at the Departmeiit of State, on the
following-day, and published in the Bo^stori Courier of the 19th pf July,
after.citing various documents which refer to the policy of the administration of Lord John Russell,' that of his successor, the Earl of
Derby, touching the colonial fisheries, quotes froni another document,
that " T h e vessels-of-war mentioned in the above circular despatches
'are expected t o b e upon the coaists of Biitish North America during the ,
present .month, (July) when, no. doubt, seizures will begin to be made
of American fishing yessels, which in the autumn pursue their business
i n indents of the coast, froni which it is eontended. they are excluded
by the convention of 1818.
. .
/ "Meantime, and within the last ten days, an Ame.rican fishing yessel
called the 'Coral,' bplongirig to Machias, in Maine,'has been seized in
the Bay ^of Fundy, near Grand Menaif, by the officer commanding her
Majesty's cutter 'Netley,' already arrived in. that bay, for an alleged
infraction of the fishing convention; arid the fishing vessel has been
carried to the port of St. John, New Bruriswick, where proceedings
have beeri taken in the adm'fralty court, with a view to her condemnation and absolute forfeiture. '
V "Besides the small riaval force to be sent out by the imperial government, the colonies are bestirring themselves also for the protection
of their fisheries. Canada has fitted out an armed vessel, to. be^ stationed inthe gulf;; and this vessel has proceeded to the fishing-grounds,
' having on boa;rd not only a riaval commaiider and crew, with power to
seize vessels Within fimits, but also a stipendiary magistrate and civil
police, to make prisoners.of all whp are found transgressing the laws of
Canada, in order to their being committed to jail, in that colony, for trial.


H. Doc. 23.

" The colony of Newfoundland has fitted out an arnied vessel-for the
purpose of resisting the encfoachmentsof French fishing vessels on the
cpast of La.brador; but when ready to sail from lier port, the governor
of thak colony, acting under imperial instructions, refused to giye the
commander ofthis colonial .vessel thp necessary authority for'making
prize of French vessels fbund tre.spassirig., This is an extraordinary
circumstance, especially when taken in connexion with the fact that the
fike' authority to seize American fishing vessels, under similar .circumstances, has never been refused .to the. cruisers of,, any ofthe North
American colonies.
" T h e colony of Nova Scotia has now four aimed cruisers,^ well
manned, on its coasts, ready to'pouncP upon any American vessels who
may, accidentally.or otherwise, be found fishing within the limits defined
by the crown officers of England.
" N e w Brunswick has agreed with Canada and Nova Scotia to place
a cutter in the Bay of Fundy to look after American fishermen • there;
.and at Prinpe Edward Island,,her Majesty's steam-frigate''Devastation' has. been placed, under the instructions of the goverrior of that
colony." y - .. '
., ; .
• . •' , •
i •' ^
Mr": Webster then recites the first article of the converi tio of 1818,
' and. concludes in the following terms : '
" I t would appear that/by a strict and rigid construction ofthis
article, fishitig ves'sels ofthe United States are precluded from entering
into the bays .or harbors" of the British provinces, except for the purposes of shelter,, rep airing damages, and-obtaining wood and water.
A bay, as is usually, understood, is, an arm or, recess ofthe sea, entering from the ocean between capes or headlands; and the term is
applied equally to small and large tracts of water thus situated. J t i^
common to speak of Hudson's,Bay,, or the.Ba,y^ of Biscay, although
they are very large tracts of Water.
•• ^ ' ^
" The British authorities insist that England has a right to draw a
line from head land to headland, arid to capture all Anierican fishermen
.who may follow their pursuits inside of that line. It was undoubtedly an oversight in the coriventipn of 1818 tp.make so large 'a concession to England,- since the United States-had usually considered
that those vast inlets pr recesses of'the ocPan ought to be
American fishermen,.as.freely as the.sea itself, to within three marine
miles of the shore.
' ' -..
. " I n 1841, the legislature of Noya Scptia prepared a, case for the
consideratidn of the advocate general and -attorney general of England, upon the true construction of this, article of the convention.
The opinion, delivered by these officers of the crown was, ' T h a t
b y t h e terms of the convention, American citizens yvere'excluded from
any right of fishirig within three miles from the coast of Biitish America',
and that the. prescribed distance of three miles is to be measured from the
headlands or extreme yoints of land nextthe sea, oi the'coast or of the entrance of bays or indents of the coast, and consequently that no right
exists on flie part of American citizens to enter the bays of Nova, Scotia,
there to take fish, cdthough the fishing, being within, the bay, may^be at a
greater distance than three miles from the shore of the bay; as w e are of
opinion that tlie term ' headland^ is used in the treaty ta express thepart^ of

H. Doc. 23,


the lamd ive have before mentioned, including^ the interior of the bays and
the indents of the coast.'^. ^
" I t is this construction of the,intent and meaning of the convention
of 1818 for which the colonies have conteiide.d since 1841, and which,
they have desired should be enforced. . This the English gdvernment
has now, it would appear, consented to do, and the inimediate effect
will be the loss of the valuable fall fishing to American fishermen; a
completeinterruptipn of the extensive fishing business of New England, attended by constant collisions of the ^most unpleasant and exciting character, which may ..end in the destruction of human life, in
the involvement of the. government in questions of a. very serious
nature, threatening the peace of the two countries. Not agreeing that
the constructipii thus put upon, the treaty, is conformable to the inteiitioiis of-the contracting, parties, this information'is, however, made
publicko the end that those concerned in the American fisheries may
perceive how the case at present stands, and. be upon their guard.
^The whole subject- will engage the immediate attention of the governmerit.
^ .
: . "
/ ' "Secretary of State.'*'* •
This pa.per attracted immediate, and universal attention. On the
23 d of July-Mr. Mason, chairman ofthe Committee on Foreign Re la-*
tions,.offered a resolution in'the Senate of the United States, requesting
the President to cdmmunicate to that body, " if notkricompatible with
the public interest, all correspondence on file in the executive depart-^
ment, with the government of England or the diplomatic representative, since the convention between the United States and Great Britain
of October-20, .1818, touching the fisheries on the' coast of^British
possessioiis in Noith America, and the rights of citizens of the United
States , engaged in such fisherips secured by the said conventibn;
and that: the President be/also requested to irifbrm the Senate whether
any of > the naval forces of the United .States have been ordered to the
seas' adjacent to the British possessions pf North' America, to protect
the rights pf American fishermen, under the convention, since the
receipt of the .intelligence that a large arid unusual British naval force
has, been, ordered there to enforce certain alleged^ rights of Great
Britain under said convention."
This Resolution was agreed to •unanimously. , The debate which
preceded its passage was .highly animated. Mr.. Mason is reported to
have said, that " he had his duty, considering the present aspect
of affairs, so far as they are communicated to us by the public journals,
to submit this, resolutiori, arid ask that it be considered immediately.
W e are informed, (he said,) unofficially,iutyet in.a manner clearly indicating that it is correct, that the British government has recently asserted
rig-hts under the convention of 1818 in relation to the fisheries of the
> North, which, whether they .exist or not, they suffered from 1818 to
1841; and when the questioii was moved as' to the respective rights of
^British subjects and American citizeris under the treaty of 1818, they still
suff'ered toremairi in'statu quo/ The British government knew well that
very large and important interests are embarked by Gitizens ofthe United

H. Doc. 23.


States by these fisheries.. They knew that the harbors, coasts, and
, seas of their possessions in North America swarm, at stated seasons of
the year—and this, as he was informed, was one of these reasons—with
these fishing vessels. ^ Yet suddenly, without notice qf any kind, we
are informed from .the public journals, and semi-officially by a.sort of
proclaiiiation from the Secretary of State, that a/very large British
naval force has been orderedinto thesP seas for the purpPse of enforcirig,
a t the mouth of the cannon, the construction which Grpat Britain has
determined to place on that eonverition." ' - .
Mr. Masori said: !"I had supposed,:in this civilized age arid'between
two such countries as Great Britain and the United States, that were
it the pur pose of England to revive her construe tidn of the convention
and require that it shpuld be enforced, Prdinary national courtesy
would have required that notice should have been given of that determination on the part of Great Britairi. Brit, sir, when no such notice
is given—when, on the contrary,'the first inform ati on ^vhlch reaches'us
is that Great Britain has ordered irito these seas a large naval force for
the purpose of enforcing this alleged Tight,! know.not in what light it
may strike spnators; fbr it strikes me as a fair higher offence than a
breach of national courtesy^—as'one of iiisult and indignity to the whole
American people. This, morning, in the first, pappr I took up, frpm
the North, I. see extracted frOm one of the Biitish colonial newspapers,
" printed at St.; Johri, New, Brunswick, a formal statement of the actual
naval forces ordered by Great. Britain into, those^ seas. It consists of
the. Cumberland, a seveiity-gun ship, ^commanded by. Sir G. F.' Seyr
niour, who, I ^believe, is a Biitish admiral, commanding on the West
Indian statipn; and. then follows an. enumeration of sfeam-yessels,
sloops-pf-war, and schoopers, a;nd. the entire number,, nineteen, ordered
to rendezvous there, and with ,the utmost' despatch. ^ For what purpose?
. .
" To enforce at Once, and without notice tq this government, so far as
T-'-^am intbrmed; and yet we have some information'through the quasi
prpclamatipn of the Secretary of State,.at the rnouth of the cannon, of
the construction which the Biitish government places on that convention.
I do not know .what view has been taken by the President of this extraordinary movement; but I think I do know what the American pepple
Would demand of the Exiecutive,-under such circumstances. If there
be official or satifactory infbrmation to the Executive that this extraoi>
dinary nayal armament has. been ordered by Great Britain into the
North-American seas, for the purpose of executing instaritly the conr
struction which Great Britain places. on the convention, I say the
American people will demand of their Executive.that all the force of
the home squadron shall be ordered there instantly, to protect Ameiican
fishernien. Sir, we have beenkold by the -poet who Inost deeply read
the humaii heart, that







* From the nettle danger ' f
yVg pluck the flower safely.'.







A n d l f l maybe told there is danger of collision, I would answer at once,
there is nO danger; but if were, it becomes the-Executlye immediately^ to resent that, which can only be looked on as an indignity .and

H. Doc. 23.


insult to the nation. I have no fears,. Mr. President, that war Is to
follow the apparent collisibn which has taken place between the two
governments. ,1 confess I feel deeply the iri dignity that has, been put
upon the American people in the ordering:of the British squadron into
tiiose seas without notice ; and if I r^ad the feelings of our people : aright,
they will demand that a like force shall be instantly sent there in order
that the rights of our people m a y b e protected.
"Sir, I do not profess the power to coiistrue t h e purposes on khe part
ofthe Btitish government. I was very much Impressed by a despatch
which I saw in one of t h e l a t e papers, but which unfortunately I have
nPt at hand. Within .the last few days ^ a despatch- has been received
frorn the foreign office of Grpat B.ritain to the cblonial office, advising
it of* this movement, and advising that it was one. requiring celerity and
despatch, arid requiring that measures should betaken by the colonial
office to procure concert between the British naval forces, and the
colonial authorities." The reason assigned was, that this-measure was
taken on the "part of Great Britain as preliminary to certain negotiatioris. Now, what does this -mean? I know not • what these negotiations are; but if it. means anything, it means that we are to : negotiate
under duresse.
' .
: :
" A y e , sir, ^at this day this great people, covering a continent numbering thirty millions, are to negotiate with a;foreign fleet on our coast. I
know not what the Pres.ident has done, but I claim to know what the
American people expect of him. I know that if he has done his duty,
the reply to this resolution pf inquiry will be^-I have ordered the
whole naval force Of the country into those seas, to protect the rights
of Americari fishermen against British cruisers! I hope' it will be the
pleasure of the Senate to consider the resolution immediately."
Several senators: followed Mr. Mason, ;and spoke in similar terms.
" Mr. Ilamlin agreed to every word utfered by the chairman of theConimittee on Foreign Relations, and-he was grateful to, the senator fbr
having intrddueed the resolution. What the object of the British armament serit to the fishing shores was, he cOuld not say; but that it likd
some ulterior object, was certain. It had been whispered that it was
•connected with certaiii riegbtiations with respect to a reciprooity trade
withkhe'colonies, kIf this Were so, it ^yas nothing more nor less than
to compel the Uriited States to legislate under duresse, and to this he,
for One, was unwilhng to submit.
- - :
. "Mr. Cass gave his fulhconcurirPnce to all that had fallen, from Mr.
Mason, and lie heartily approved bf the resol'utioni' He kvas gratified
at hea:iiiig that seriator's remarks. Which were equally statesmanlike
and patriotic. He had riever befbre heard of such proceeding as that
npw adopted°by Erigldnd. No mattef What the object of the force was,
there was one thing certain—the American pepple would not submit to
surrender their rights. This treaty was now over thirty years old, arid
it recognised clearly the right of Amer leans, to fish within three miles of
.any shore. This had been cpnceded for thirty years. , If there waS'
any doubt about it, it could be settled by negotiatioris.
" Mr. Pratt said this appeared to him more likely to result in war than
did the late difficulty. The English gpvernment has decided°upori a
%eaty construction, Eriglarid dori't-want to negotiate, for she has sent



Hv'Doc. 2 3 , '

a large force t o execute her construction of the treaty. . Ariiericans are
,to be expelled from rights which they have enjoy'ed for thirty years,
under what their government has at all times and now declares to be
the; proper construction of the treaty. , Ought not a force to be sent
there to protect them; in those rights-which this treaty has declared to
,be theirs? Certainly there ought.
. k
"Mr. Davis said, by the iiewspapers it would appear that the Secretary of State and the British minister, who had gone tp Boston,, were
'.'now consulting ori this matter, and hekhought, fromkhis fact, that there
was little apprehension but that the matter would be settled amicably.
He had no difficulty at arriying at the object of' the- movement. .^. The
senator from Maine, he; thought, had-touched the key to the whole.
H e wo.uld not hesitate to act on a bill proposing a;proper arid suiteible
principle of reciprocity.
, "Mr,. Seward would vote with pleasure for the resolutiori. I t w a s
limited to two objections:-to obtain inforniation as to diplomatic corTespondeiice oii the subject, andkvhether any naval force had been sent
.to the seas where the difficulty had arisen. ^ The importance of these
fisheries was conceded by all, and no one State was more interested inthe m than another. It was Well known that any attempt to drive our
.fishermen from these/fisheries would involve the whole country in a
blaze of war, in which case his State would be deeply interested. •
"Mr. Rusk said that if the object of that iiaval force by Great Britain
was to bring about a reciprocity of trade, no matter how favorably he
:ought to look on such a proposition otherwise,'he would never give it his
assent under the duresse of .British cannon. He thought the domineering spirit of England ought to be met promptly."
On the 25th of July, and twd days.after the resolution passed the
Senate, the Secretary of State :was publicly received at,his family home,
In the course of his reply to ari address
.by the Hon. Seth Sprague, he is reported - to have, spoken in reference
" t o recent occurrences,- threatening, disturbances to'this country, on
account of the fisheries," in these words:
" I t would not become me to say much On that subject, until I speak
officially, and under direction of the head ofthe government.
then 1 shall s^eah.
I n t h e meantime, be assured that that interest
will not be neglected by this administration, under any circumstances.
The fishermen shall be protected in all their rights bf property, and in
all their .rights of occupation. To use a Marblehead,phrase, they shall
be protected 'hook and line, and bob arid sinker.' And why should
'..they not? They are a vast number who are employed in that-branch
of naval enterprise.' Many ofthe people of pur own town a r e engaged
in that vocation. There.^are among you some. Who, perhaps, have been
on the Grand Bank for forty .successive years. There they have hung
on to the ropes, in storm and wreck, 'The most important,consequences are involved in this matter. Our fisheries have been the very nurseries of our navy. If our flag-ships have met and conquered the enemy on the sea, the fisheiies are at the boitom of it.- ~The fisheries were
..the seeds from which these gloripus triumph.s w^ere born and sprung. "
" N o w , gentlemen,' I may yenture to say one or two things more on
this highly important subject. . In the first place, this sudden interrupt

,.• H..Doc.:-23.. .



tion of,the pursuits of our citizens, which had been carried^ on more
' than thirty years, without interruption or molestation, can hardly be
justified byjaiiy principle or consideration whatever.
It is,now more
than thirty years^ that they have pursued the fisheries in the same waters
.and on the same"coast, in which, and'along Which,.notice has now come
that they shall be no longer allowed these privileges. .,. Now, such a cannot be justified without previous notice having been given. A
mei'e indulgence of long continuance, even if the privilege were
indulgence, cannot be withdrawn at this; season-of, the year, when our
people, according tp the custom, have engaged in the business, without
notice^-withoutkust and seasonable notice. •
[ " 1 canriot but think the late despatches from khe colonial office had
npt.attracted, to a sufficient degree, the-'attentibn of the principal minister ofthe crown; for I see matter in them quite inconsistent with the
arrangement, made in 1845 by the Earl of Aberdeen and.'Edward Everett. ; Atkliat time, the Earl of Derby, the present first minister, was
cPlonial secretary.
It could not ^well h a v e takpn place without his
knowledge, and, in fact, without his concurrence and sanction. I cannot but think, therefore, that its being overlooked is an inadvertence.
" T h e treaty pf IS 18 was made with the crown-df England. .If a '
fishing ves,sel is'captured by one of her vessels of war, and carried to a
British port for adj u die a tidn, the crown of England, is v answerable ; and
then we know whom we have to deal 'with. ' B u t it is not to be expected that the .United States will submit their rights to be adjudicated upon
in the petty tribunals ofthe provinces; or that we shall alloyi^. our yessels
to be seized on by constables j or other petty officers, and condemned by
the municipal;courts of Quebec and, INewfbundland, New Brunswick or
Canada. . No, no, n o ! ; , (Great cheering.)
" Further khan this, gentlemen, I do not think It expedient to remark
upon this topic at present; But you may be assured, it is^a subject
upon which rio one sleeps at Washington^'; I regret that the state of
my health caused my absence from -Washington when the news came
ofthis sudden change in the interpretation ofthe treaties."
\ ^
The President answered the resolution bf the Senate-on the 5th of
August,'and, in transmitting the documents*' requested'by that body, he
. observed that the steam-frigate .Mississippi, Commodore M. C. Perry,
had beeii despatched to the cpasts of the British possessions- '''for the
purpose of protectirig the rights of American fishermen^ under the convention of 1818." These documents Were speedily published. . Many
df them are of great yaluei' Soon after their publication, debates upon
the subject of the. fisheiies were renewed. Our limits allow us td ri.otice
the speech of Mr. Seward alone,' delivered on the 14th of August.
He is supposed to have expressed the views pf the government. Or to
have made authbrized,explanations, upon severalimportant points.which
he discussed. To cprr.ect whatever misapprehensipn existed relative to '
the British naval force on the-fishing grounds, he said:
" L e t us now see what force it iskhat has:been sent into the field of
the dispute. There Is the Buzzard, a steamer of six guns, and tlie Ber-'
muda,^a three guris, sent to the straits of; Belleisle and on

* Executive Document No. 100.

* .


H. Doc. 23.

the coast of Newfoundland, where we have an unquestioned right of fishing, and where there is no contrpversy. Then there is the Devastation,
a steamer of six guns;;the ArroW andthe Telegraph,^ pf-one gun each;
and the Netley, of twp guns, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence : makirig in
the whole seven vessels, with a total pf 31 guns,'sent by the imperial
governmenf into these waters. If you add to this force the flag-ship pf
Vice Admiral Seymour, (the Cumberland,) with seventy guris, there
are, altogether, one hundred and orie guns. Thi^ is the riaval fbrce
which has been sent into the northeastern seas. ,
" ' N o w , I desire the.Senate to take notice wliaf forcd w a s there before
this great'nayal for(!e was sent. , Last year, there was the flag-ship; the
Cumberland, commanded by the same Sir Charles Sey'mpur, with seventy guns; a frigate of twenty-six, guns; two sloops of sixteen guns;
and One steamer, of. six guns: making in the whole sixty-four .-guns,
without the Cumberland; and, including the Cumberland, one hundred
and thirty-four °guns. - ,
•' •
"Themthis mighty naval demonstration which has sO excited thp
Senate and roused its indignation, and brought down its censure upon
the administration, corisists in a reduction of the naval force which Great
Britain had in. these waters a year ago from one hundred and- thirtyfour to one hundred and one guns. - What the British governmerit has
done hks been to,withdraw some;large steamers, because they were not
so useful In accomplishing tlie objects, designed, or because they would
be mpre useful elsewhere, and to substitute in their place .a large number of inferior yessels-^either'more efficient there, pr less 'useful else-.
'. '' \ ^_/'' <
He added :, " The Senate will understarid me. I do .not. say that
this is the whole force which is in those waters. There is an increase,^
I think, on the whole, which is furnished by small vessels pf the different provinces---.Canada having sent two pr three. Nova Scotia three
or four, and Prince Edward Island, I think, one. But the question I
amlupon, and the real question now is, what the imperial government
has done; and sd I say the British gpvernmenthas reduced the number
of guns employed."*

* The Halifax Chronicle, in July, publishedthe following:
• '
'• '
"'For the information of all, coricemed, we subjoin a list of the cruisers bur calculating
neighbors are likely to fall in with on the coast—all of which will, we, apprehend,, do. their
duty, vvithou.t fear or favor:
^ . . . . . . 74..
. . . . , . . . . . . . . . . : i . . . . . . . Captain Seyniour.
Sappho ...k
^..1 '..J^..
. 1 2 . . . . . . . . s l o o p . . . . . . ' . - . . - . - . . . . . . . C o m . Cochrane.
Devastation t-^
..... steam sloop
. : . . . . ' . . Corh. Campbell.
— -,
6 . : . . . . . . . steam sloop.-.-'.:-.. .-..Com — —
. 4 . . ..steam sloop.... Lieutehent——•
.Netley..........-."..^.....--.- . . . 3 .
^ . . - k e t c h . - - . . . . . - - ...Com. Kynaston. - . Bermuda...
..:.. . —-:-3
...scKooner .-•---- - . - - . ^.. liieutenent Jolly.
Arrow. — .. . . . . . . . brigantine . . -. .... -.———'•—
. H a l i f a x . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ^ ---.' . . .-.2...-.brigantine . . . . . . . . . ....Master Laybold.
Belle . . . . . . . . '.....'........ --— - . 2 . . . . .v.-brigantine . . . - . . . . . .-..Master Crowell.
- - - - — - -. 2 . . . . . . . . schooner . - ^ - -ir . . .Master Dodd. '
. . 2 . . . .•
schooner ..'. 1 ->, - . . - . . . .Master Daly. '
"In addition to this formidable force, his Excellency Sir G.. .F. Seymour requires, we leam,
two more vessels, besides the Arrow and Telegraph, (two beautiful craft, of whose merits .we
* Flag, Sir G. F. Seymour.

f 300 horse power.

1220 horse power.

•H. Doc. 2 3 . _ •

• 447

' In reply to: strictures ripon the course df the Secretary,of State,
Mr; Seward remarked : " The President, it seems, took; pains to obtain information informally, and he caused it to be published, in a
notice issued by the Secretary of State, and dated at the Department
of State July 6, 1852, and which'been called here the ' proclamation' of the Secretary.
. / ;
\ " The Senate will see that.the Secretary of State forth such unofficial infdriiiatioii .(and all the information was unofficial) as had
been Pbtained, and stated the popular inference then prevalent,,saying
ihat the iinpeiial government 'appeared ' nowko be willing to adopt
the constiuction of the convention insisted on by the cplonies. Inferring, frorii circumstarices, the hazards and dangers, which would arise,'
he set forth the case precisely as it seemed to stand.. He adverted to
the question understpod as likely to be put in issue, and, admitting that
technically the converition of 1818. would bear the rigorous construction insisted on by the colonies,, he declared the dissent oi the. government of the United States froin i t ; and theri cPmniunlcated the case
t o the persons engaged' in this hard and hazardous, trade, that they
might b e ' o n their guard.''
. . .
" '
. \
'. " I ' a m surprised that any doubts should be raised as to the proclamation being the act of the governmeiit. .1 dp not'understand how a
senator dr a citizen caii officially know that the Secretary of State is
at Marshfield, or elsewhere^ wheri the seal and date of t h e departnient affirm that he is at the capital. . I^ would like to know where or
when this government or this administratibn has disavowed this proclamation.
f .
" I n issuing this notice, the Secretary of-State did just what the Secretary of State had been in the habit of doing in such cases from the
foundation of the government,' yiz : he issued a notice to the citizens
pf the United States to put tliem' onkheiri gu.ard in a case of\apparent
danger, resulting from threatening embarrassment of our relations
with a foreign power. , The first notice of the kind which I have found
im history is a notice issued by Thonias Jefferson, Secretary of State
urider George Washington, to the merchants of the. United States, iiifbrming them of the British Orders iu Council, and of the decrees of
the French Directory, and pf the apprehended seizure; and cpnfiscatiori of Amprican vessels .under ;them; and assuring the American
inerchaLnts that, for whatever they might unlawfully lose, the government pf the United.States-would take care that they would be indemnified, I brought that to the notice ofthe Senate heretofore, and upon
the ground, among; others, that they have tw ice. sarictioned a bill providing for thepa.yment of losses by French spoliations. • ; k , .





"7"" ~






-. ••

: :






have previously, spoken,) to be fitted, provisioned, officered, and manned by, the, British govei-nmentr The Buzzard, hourly expected from Portsmouth, brings out meii to .man these
hired vessels.' To these must be addedli^b froni New Brunswick, one from Canada, and one
from Pince Edward Island, making a total of nineteen^ armed vessels, :from the 'tall Admir a l ' t o the tiny tender, engaged In this iinportant service!^ His Excellency the. Vice, Admiral deserves the thanks of the people of British North America for the, zeal -with which he
has taken up this momentous matter,;and also for the proniptitude of his co-operation with the
provinciai government. . Janus eomes to Newfoundland, direct from Gibraltar; she is an.experimehtal steauier,. constructed by.Sir ChailesNa^^^
"some said« to be a splendid
failure. Cumberlandkail^s immediately for St. John aoid,the..Newfoundland coast.,"

H. Doc. 23.


" T h e notice published by Mr.- Webster was of the sarne character
and effect. Since that time, the Mississippi, a steain war frigate of
the United States, has been ordered to those waters to cruise there
for the protection of American fishermen in the enjoyment of their ji^^^
rights. Thus ends the whole story of these trarisactions about the fisheries. ..The difficulties ori the fishing grounds have 'this extent—^no
m o r e : ' they are the wonder of a day, and no riidre."
,Again: in explanation of the charge of a senator, that Mr.-. Webster
had cdnceded too much in his official notice of,July 6,,,he said: "Now,
here is Mr. Webster's laiiguage. After quoting the treaty, he says:
,"' It would, appear that', by a strict and rigid construction of this article,
fishing yessels of the.United .'States are precluded-fi'om entering' into
the bays,' &c.
, .
'/ ,,
"And in the same connexion he'adds:
' ' ' I t "was undoubtedly an oversight in the convention of 1818 to mahe so
large a concession to.Fngland.\
" T h a t is to. say, it was an oversight to .use language in .that'convention which, by, a strict and rigid construction, might be made to yield
the freedom of the great bays.; '
. "
. ^ ^'
" I t is, then; a questioii of mere verbal criticism. The Secretary does
not admit that the rigorous construction is the just and. true, one,; and
so he does not admit that there is any 'cpnces.sion' iri the sense of
the term which the hoiiorable senator adopts. Now, other honorable
.senators, if T recollect aright—and particularly that very accurate
arid exceedingly, strong-minded senator, the gentleman . from Massachusetts, (Mr. Davis)—-conceded that the treaty tvould Z>mr this rigprous
construction.;, insisting, nevertheless, just as the Secretary of State did,
that it was'a forced.,arid unjust pne."
To refute the many rumors relative to ari'adjustment of the difficulties, as Well .asko repel the-imputation-of tr'eatirig under duress, he ^
declared that " n o negotiation has been.had between the President of
the Uiiited States and the Eriglish government.. '.No negotiation is, now
in progress betw^een the two governments. , No negotiation has been iur
stituted between the twp goyernmeiits for any, purpose whatever. No
overture of negotiation has been riiade bythe British .•government since
the last year, and no overture has been made by the American to the:
British government. So, then, it appears\that nothing has been nego^
tiafed a w a y at the cannon's iriouth, because there has been no negotiation at all, either at the cannon's mouth br elsewhere. There has not
been any negotiation under duress, because there has-been no pretence
of a design by the imperial goverriment td enforce its rigorous construction of the conyention of 1818, or to depart from the p.osition of
neutrality, if I may so callit, always heretofore maintained."
."/ , >
O n t h e subject of reciprocity,: he considered that " the indications' are
ab.undant that i t i s the wish of,the Senate t.hat the Executive should
not treat upon this subject, and I thiiik wisely. I agree on that point'
with my honorable.and distinguished friend from-Massachusetts, '(Mn
Davis.) W h a t the colonies require is some modification of commercial
regulations which may affect the revenue. That is a subjeet proper to
be acted upon by Congress,, ..not by the President,^ if it be acted
upon at alk ' It must not be done by treaty. We seem to have courted

S Doc. 22.


the responsibility, a,rid it rests upon us. Let us nO longer excite purselves and agitate the country with unavailing debates ; but let us address ourselves to the relief of the fishermen, and to the improvement
of our commerce.
• '' Now, sir, there is only one way that Cdngress can act, and that is
by reciprocal legislation with the British Paiiiament or the British colonies of some sort. I commit myself tone particular scheme or project
of reciprocal legislation, and certainly to none-injurious to an agricultu'ra:l pr a manufiictuiing interest." ,
.. '
As to the course to be'pursued, he said, in concluding his speech,
" I , fbr one, will give my poor opinion upon this subject, and it is this :
' that so long hereafter as any force shall be maintained in those northeastern waters, an equal naval force must be maintained there by ou.r. selves. When Great Britain shall diminish or withdraw her armed
force. We ought to diminish or withdraw our own; and in the mean
• time a commission ought to be raised,-, or some appropriate committee of this body—the Committee on Foreign Relations, tjie Com. mittee^on Finance, or the Committee on Commerce-^should be charged
to ascertain whether there cannot be some measures adopted by reciprocal legislation to adjust these ^difficulties, and enlarge the rights of Our
fishermen,. eoiisisteritly with all the existing interests ofthe United
It is understood that the Committee on Commerce, at the moment of
the misunderstanding in "July, had nearly matured, a bill which embraced, substantially, the propositions submitted by Sir Henry Bulwer,
in June, 1851. To assume that, such is the fact, and that the bill
would have passed Congress, kiut for the precipitancy of the parties to
the Toronto agreement, recalls the significant remark of Mr. Davis,
once already quoted, that the cdlonists were " playing a game which
may not advance materially the interests they have in view."
Our record, thus far, contains a rapid notice of events connected with
the controversy to-the close of August, 1852k It comprises, as will
be perceived, nO account of any action on the part of the two governments to adjust the difficulties between khem, either by negotiation or
by legislation.
' .
But there is good authority for sayiiig that the British admiral, (Seymour) was instructed by the admiralty, iri the course of August, to allow our fishermen to pursue their avocation in the Bay of Fundy, on
the terms of the arrangement of 1845; to allow us to fish at the Magdalene islands, as in fbrmer years; td forbear to capture our vessels
when more than three miles from the shore, as measured without reference to, the "headlands," arid by the old construction of the convention ; and generally to execute his orders with forbearance and moderation. That the British ministry have been disposed, from first to last,
to acljust the controversy on honorable terms, can hardly be doubted.
In 1852, as in 1845, the clamors, remonstrances, and, I will add, the
misrepreseritatipns ofthe colonists,. changed their intentions. As at
every former time, the politicians^ of Noya Scotia led off'kn opposition
ko a settlement'.'' Early in September, a public meeting was' called at
-Halifax, which, according to the published repo.rt of its. proceedings,
was attended by persons of all classes and interests, " t o petition her


' S. -Doc.-'22.

Majesty in regard to the rumored surrender of the rights of fishery secured to British sribjects by the convention of 1818." One gentleman
of consideration and influence appears to have "protested against the
utility of the meeting," but to have been "promptly checked by his
worship t h e m:aybr," who presided. Several merchants w e r e present, but performed a secondary part. The political leaders had everything their own way. One member pf the "provincial parhament"
nominated the chairman; anPther introduced a series of resolutions;
while a third, who"declared that " a strorig expjression df the opiniori of
the meeting should' go to the'foot of the throne," closed; his remarks
with sribmittiitg a memorial to her Majesty, which " h e had prepared.'""A fourth honorable' M. P. P. is understood to have said, that "if her
Majesty's gdvernment give up the fisheries, they must be prepared to
give up the colony also;" and the Hon. Joseph Howe, provincial secretary, is represented to have advocated, with liis usual power, the
adoption of the measur^^ presented by his associate politicians. Comknent upon these measures is not'^necessary. The tone of the resolutions, of the address to the governor of the colony, and of the memorial to the Queen, is offensive. These documents,^ from beginning to
end, show a spirit df deep hostlHtyto the United States, and a determination to'be satisfied with no terms of accoiiinioda.tion which would^
be entertained by our government; and, like everything else in Nova
"Scotia on the, subject of the fisheiies, contairi much that is erroneous in
statement of matters of fact, and that is unsound in questions oi poliiical science.^k '
, * These documents'are as follows:



1. Resolved^ That the citizens of Halifax feel deeply grateful to ]\er Majesty's government
for the determination to "remove all ground of complaint on the part ofthe colonies in conse. quence of the encroachments bf the lishing .vessels of the United States upon the .reseiTed
iishing grounds of- Biitish Anierica,' expressed in the despatch of the right honorable the
Secretary of State for the colonies, dated the 22d "of May.
2. Besolved, That the citizens of Halifax have regarded with interest and satisfaction the
judicious measures adopted by Vice Admiral Sir George Seymour, to carry out that determination with firmness and discretion.
'3. i?csofeeri, That, securely relying upon the justice and maternal care of their Sovereign,
th'e citizens of Halifax are reluctant to believe that, because a few threatening speeches, have
been made in Congress, and a single ship-of-Avar has visited their coasts, the Queen's government will relax their vigilant supervision over British interests, or weakly yield up lights
secured by treaty stipulations^
4. Resolved, That history teaches that the commercial prosperity and naval power of'every
-maritime State have risen, by slow degrees, from Ihe prosecution ofthe fisheries, in whicli
seamen were trained and hardy defenders nurtured.
5. Resolved, That redding this lesson aptly, the great commercial and'political rivals of England—the United States and France-^have, for many years, fostered their fisheries by hberal
bountie.9, and fre.ely spent their treasure that .they might recruit ,their navy and^exteud their
mercantile marine.
6. Resolved, That by the aid of these, bounties France and the Un.ited States maintain, on
the banks and coasts of North America, 30,000 'seamen, respectively, which either power, in\
case hos-cili6ies impend, can call h^me to defend its national flag, and, if need were, launch
against the power of this empire.
7. Resolved, That without the aid of bounties the fisheries of British America have been prosecuted, a,nd her marine'interests, have expanded, until her shores are-peo.pled with a hardy
class of men, who corisume, almost exclusively, the manufactures of England in peace,"and
who, iu times of danger, would leap into the stirouds of their national ships to defend the flag
they reverence.

:S. Doc. 22.


There is npw. but:little, to axld to complete a record pf the more ini. portant events connected with the history of this controversy.
..The/Queen of .-England, inkier speech, at the opening of Paiiiament,
8. Resolved, That the cession of the Aroostook territory; and thekree navigation of the St.,
John, the right .of registry in colonial' ports, and the free admission.of the productions of the
.JXJnited States into: British America at; revenue duties oiily, have been followed by no cor. : responding relaxation of :the commercial system of the United States which would justify a
kui^her^sacliiftc-e of colonial interests.^
- . .
, . >
.9. .Resolved,.Th?it/w]i\lG more than one. half of the seacoast of the republic bounds slave
^ .States, whose latipring popula:tiori,cannbt be trusted upoii the sea, the coasts of British America
include a frontage Upon 'the oeean greater than the whole Atlantic seaboard of the United
/States. ' Th'e'ri'chest iishe'iie^in the werld surround these coasts. Coal, which the Americans
must bring with them, should they provoke hostilities, abounds at the most convenient points.
Two millions of adventurous and industrious people already inhabit these provinces, and the
citizens of Halifax would indeed deplore the deliberate sacrifice of their interests, by any <
weak concession to a powei-'which ever seconds the eftbrts of aistute diplomacy by_ appeals to
. -the, angry passions—^tlie, full. force of which has been twice on British Anierica within the
ineino.ry of this "generatibh,^and,* in a just cause, with the aid of the mother countiy, could be
broken again. " ' / " "
,..To-Ms Excellency Colonel, ^iK .J. GA-srAux) LEMARCHANT, Knight, and'Knight'Comma^nder
of the Orders" of St. Ferdinand and of ;Charles the Third of Spain, Lieutenant Governor
and Commander-in-chief, in aiid ever her Majiesty's province of Nova Scotia and its depeiidencies, Chanceilor ofthe sarne, &c. ' • ' • • ' ' • •
..MAY IT PLEASE YOUR EXCELLENCY : • We, her Majesty's, dutiful and loyal, subjects, the m'ayor
..aiid 'aldermen of file city, "and representatives of the city and county of Halifax, respectfully
request that your'excellency.Aviirbe'pleased to transmit, by this night's mail, to the right honorable the Secretary of State for the' Colonies, to be laid at the-foot of the throne^ a dutiful
aiidioyal petitibh,'mianimOusly adopted this ;da,y by a very large and influential meeting of bur'
fellow-citizens, held in the Province Hall.
^ •
• -'AVealso pray thdt' the resolutions, ;a copy of which is annexed, and which were passed with i
equa:l unanimity, may be also fbrwarded to the right honorable the Colonial Secretary.
This petition, and these resolutions, have been adopted in consequence of the alarming intdllige'ucie.having beeri;receivM that negotiations are pending between the British government .*
aild the Americanknihister in' London, for surreuderihg to the citizens of the United States
the right of fishing on the coasts arid within the bays of the British North American colonies,
from which 'they are now excluded by 'the convention of 1818. We entreat your excellency,
as the Quee'n'f ieprestoativein this provihcb, to 'convey to her Majesty's government a strong;
'• riemon'strance against'any sueh eonces'dion of the fishing rights as appears to be contemplated..
. The immediate departure of this mail will not permit our detailing.all the disastrous results:
. to be apprehended''froiri the -concessions now re quired by the American government, but wemust beg'that you will ^assure her Majesty's miriisters thait the iriformatiori just received has.
"-becasioried the mo^tiri'terise arixiety throughout
community, .it being evident, that ourlights, once conceded'can riever be regairiiid.'k
, .
"^' By the term's of the eoriveritiori of'lcilS the United States expressly renounced any right of
fishirig withiri three marine, iniles frorri the coasts arid shores of these coloriies, or of entering
their bays, creeks, and harbors, except for shelter, or for wood and water:
'•-••.kf:this res'tiicti^ri be 'feirioyed,it. riiust be obvious to your excellency that it will be impossible to prevent the Airieiicaris frorii using our fishing grounds as freely as our own fishermen.
..They will be enter our bays and harbors, where-, at all times, unless armed ves^^"sels are preseni iMWe'ry Warbhr, they Will, not. oiily fish in conirnon with our.own fishermen, but
; they will b"iiiig"'vvitH theni' contraband goods to exchange with the inhabitants for fish, to the
great'injury "of colonial traders- arid loss to the public revenue. The fish obtained by this^il; licit traffic will then be tcLken to the United States, where they will be entered as the produce
' "of the Airieiietf'fislieries, while those exported from the colonies in a legal manner are subject to oppressiye duties.
• \,
, •
AVe need'not remind your excellency that the equivalent said to have been proposed—that
of allowing our ves.sels to fish in the waters of the Uriited States—is utterly valueless, and un-;
\yorthy of a moineiit's •coiisideratiori. •
, We would fail! hope that the reports which have appeared iri the public press respecting;
the pending negotiations bet ween t h e two-governments are without any good foundation.

S. Doc. 22.


November, 1852, remarked that " the present and well-grounded complaints, on the part of my North American colonies, of the infraction by
the citizens of the United States of the fishery coiiventidn of 1818, inWe cannot imagine that her Majesty's government, after having taken prompt and decided
..measures to enforce the true construction of the treaty, will ever consent to such modification
of its terms as will render our highly valued rights a mere privilege to be enjoyed in common
-with foreigners.
. . .
We therefore pray your excellency to exert all your influence to induce herrMajesty's ministers to stay a,ny further negotiations on-this vitally important question until the rights and
interests of the inhabitants of this province are more fully inquired into and vindicated.
(HALIFAX, September 2, 1852.


To the Queen''s Most Excellent Majesty:


• ".

The humble memorial of the. under signed, merchants and inhabitants of Halifax'and other
parts of Nova Scotia, convened at a public meeting held at Halifax on Thursday, the 2d :of
September, 1852, showeth:
By the mail recently arrived from England, your merriorialists have learned with deep concern- that it is in contemplation of your Majesty's ministers to surrender to the United States
of America privileges of fishing on the coasts of your Majesty's North" American colonies, to
which, at preserit, your Majesty's subjects are alone-entitled.
Time is not .afforded to enter at large'on this subject, nor is it necessaiy. Repeatedly have the
vital importance of these fisheiies; and the necessity of preser-ving unimpaired the restricdons
against encroaciiment by which they are guarded, been urged on the imperial government. It
was believed the time had long passed when a question couldbe raised on .either of these
points. To stimulate imperial aid in protectirig and inaintaining •ackno\yledged rights was all,
it was imagined, that was required of the colonies, and they fondly trusted this consummation
had been attained, when, in the present season, your Majesty's war steamers came commissioned on this service.
Little, may it please your Majesty, w^as it anticipated these were- to be the precursors of a
transfer alike injurious and humiliating to your loyal colonial subjects, or for. this aid that so
large a price would be demanded.
May it please your Majesty,'when the United States, by the treaty of 1818, solemnly renounced •
forever the right to fish within three marine^ niiles of the coasts, bays, creeks, or harbors of
certain portions of your North Ameiican territory, the sripularion was ,_neither extraordinaiy
nor extravagant. It is matter of common histery, that sea-girt naitions claim peculiar rights
within a league of their shores; and equally plain that, according te the maxims of intei'nationallaw, this claim is defined by lines dra^^ii.not only between the formations of bays, but
from the headlands of indentations of the coast. '
But had it been otherwise, the stipulation was part of a general treaty, in which concession
on one side may be presumed'to have .been compensated by concession on the. other,,and loss
in one parricular by gain in another; andthe engagement was made iri language too explicit,^
and iri terms too well understood, to admit the possibility of inisapprehension.
Shall nations, may it please your Majesty; be absolved from t'he obligation of their contracts,
and complaints, be respected when made by a people, whicii, between individuals, would be
treated as puerile?
If conciliation, irrespective of right, be the principle on which is to be withdrawn the restriction against the entry of Americans into the bays and indentations of the coast to fi^h,
limiting them alone to the distance of three miles from the shore, the concession of the privilege to fish within this latter .distance must equally be granted—as, indeed, has been already
urged in the Ameiican Congress : the restriction in both cases rests on the same authority;
.andthe concession in each would'be.'demanded by the same principle. It may not be the
province of your Majesty's colonial subjects to suggest how far such a principle is consistent
with national honor and independence : they have a right to pray that it be not carried out at
their expense.
- •
-, •,
When the welfare of the empire is;supposed to demand extensive alterations in the laws of
trade and navigation, the peculiar interests of the colonies are not perriiittedto disturb the general system by the continuance of conflicting regulations, however necessary, from long usage
and the competitibn of foreigners more powerful and more fostered by their own government.
In the present-case, the possession to surrender is no offspring of arrificial arrangements,
falling with a complicated policy of which it formed a part.
No, may it please your Majesty, your loyal subjects in Nova Scotia raise their voice against
the injury of au mheritance conferred upon your North American subjects by nature, con- "

S. Doc. 22.


duced me to despatch, for the protection of their Interests, a class of
vessels better adapted to the ^service than those which had been previously employed. This step has led to discussion with the government of the United States.; and while the rights of my sribjects have
been firmly maintained, the friendly spirit in which the question has
been treated induces me to hppe that the ultimate-result may be a mu- •
tually beneficial extension and improvement of our commercial intercourse with the great republic."
The President of the United States, in his message to Congress, in
the following month, refers to the subject with less brevity. He said:
" I n t h e course of the last summer, considerable anxiety was caused,
for a short time, by an official intimation from the government of Great
Britain that orders had been given for the protection of the fisheries
upon the coasts ofthe British provinces in North America against the
alleged encroachments of the fishing'vessels of the United States and
France. • The shortness .of "this notice and the season of the year,
seemed to make it a matter of urgent importance. It was at first
apprehended that an increased naval fbrce had been ordered to the
fishing grounds to carry Into effect the British interpretation of those
provisions in the corivention of 1818 in - reference to the true intent of
which the twp governments differ. It was soon discovered that such
was not the design of Great Britain ; and ^ satisfactory explanations pf
the real objects/of the measure have been given, both here and in
The unadjusted difference, however, between the two governments,
as- to the interpretation of the first article of the convention of 1818, is
still a matter of importance. American fishing vessels, within nine or
nected with their soil by the laws and usages of nature, confirmed to them by solemn compact,
and which, practically enjoyed by them peculiarly, and as your other Majesty's subjects cannot
enjoy them, can be surrendered only at their extrerrie injury and great loss;
Surely, may it please your Ma,iesty, your loyal colonial subjects have a right to ask fiir some
better reason for this sacrifice of their peculiar right and interest than the demand of a foreign
power—the aggrandizenient of a foreign people. '
It is reported that the American government, with characteristic diplomatic skill, have offered to concede a similar privilege on their own coast in return for what theyv seek on the
coasts of British North America.
The proffered boon .is valueless to the coloriists—they want it not, and would derive noNbenefit from it, The offer may deceive the uninformed, br it may affbrd an excuseto palliate the
sacrifice of your colonial- subjects' rights. It niay have been made by our sagacious neighbors
with this object; but to those who will suffer by the pretext, it is but the addition of insult to
wrong. If rights so entirely colonial and so clear as this are to be-sacrificed ,to American influence, the colonists should know it. Let them not, may it please your Majesty, be treated
as children or imbeciles by nominally granting them a privilege which they know, and theAmericans know, to be worthless as an equivalent for one which both equally know to be .of
incalculable value; for let it uot be urged upon your Majesty that what the Americans seek
is of no value. Their earnestness is certain evidence to the contrary. ^
It is, may it please your Majesty, of value, of great value, iri itself; o? perhaps greater value
still, as the best, the only safeguard against violation of the restriction which prohibits the
approach of the American fishernien within three iniles of the shore.
Your memoiialists^deprecate all negotiation—^all compromise on the subject. The Americans will not, probably they cannot, grant an equivalent for the privileges they seek, and the
only security for the colonies is the entire abandonment ofthe present negotiations.
Your memorialists most earnestly entreat your Majesty that the existing fishery restrictions
will be preserved in their letter, and thatt^our Majesty's power may be put forth to prevent
their violation.
, ; ,
And your petitioners, as iri duty bound, will ever pray, &c.

S. Doc:.-22.^ ^
ten years, have been excluded from waters td which they had freeaccess for twenty-five years after the negotiation o f t h e treaty.' In
1845, this exclusion was relaxed so far as concerns the Bay of Fundy,
but the just arid liberaLintention of the home gOverriniPnt, in' compliance with what we think the true construction of the convention, to
open all the other outer bays tb orir fishermen, was abandoried, in consequence ofthe opposition of the colonies. Notwithstandlrig this, the
Dnited States have, since the Bay of Furidy was reoperied to' our fish-,
ermen in 1845, pursued the most liberal course towards the colonial
fishing interests. . By the revenue law of 1846, the duties .on coloriial.
fish entering our^ ports were very gi'eatly reducedy and, by t h e warehousing, act, i t i s allowed to be entered in bond without payment of
duty. In this way, .colonialfi^shhas acquired the monopoly ofthe export trade in our market, and is entering,; to some extent,into the home
consumption. These facts were among those which increased the sensibihty of oiir fishing interest at the movement in questipn.
" These circumstances, and ihe incidents above alluded to, have led
me to think the moment favorable for a. reconsideration of the entire
subject of the fisheries on the coasts of the Biitish provinces, with a
vievv to place them upon a more liberal footing of reciprocal privilege
A willingness to meet us in some arrangement of this kind is understood
to exist on the part of Great Britain, with a desire on ^ her part to include in one comprehensive settlement as well this subject as the commercial intercourse betweeri the United States and the^British provinces.
I have thought that, whatever arrangements m a y b e made on these
two subjects,'itis expedient that they should be embraced iii separate
conventions. The illness and death ofthe late Secretary of State prevented the commencement ofthe contemplated riegotiation. Pains have
been taken to collect the information required.for the details of such an
arrangement. The subject is attended with cpnsiderable difficulty.
If it is found practicable to come to an agreement mutuaUy acceptable
to the two parties,' conventions may be concluded in the course of the
preserit winter. ' The control bf Congress over all the prbvisions of such
an arrangement, affecting the revenue, will of course b e reserved." ,
Our latest accounts from two.of the Biitish cdloriies show^^ that opppsitionis still manifested to an adjristment pf the dispute oh terms which
woufd be satisfactory to t h e United States. - .
The resolutions whicli follow,' and which Were adopted at a public
rrieeting at. St. John, New Brrinswick, .December, 1852, iridic ate, ^probably, the temper of the commercial class of that city:
. '.
. " Resolved, That this meeting consider the coast fisheries ofthe North
s.Airieiican colonies the natural right and property of the inhabitantsthereof, and that they should not be ahenated, conceded, nor affected
without their consent,, in any negotiation, with the United States government, or any other foreign power, without their coriserit, Ina:smuch as
the value ofthe fisheries to the Biitish provinces, with an increased and
increasing population, cannot be estimated aright at the present time.' •'Resolved, That this .meeting view with deep arixiety and concern
the announcement in. her Majesty's speech to the imperial Parhament,
that negotiations are now-pending between her .Majesty's goverriment
and that of the United States, relative to the fisheries of the North

S: ..Doc: 22.

' 455/

American provinces j and also the recommendation of the President of"
thp United States,.ill his official message to Congress, to negotiate a
treaty for a participation by the citizens' of the Unit:ed States' in the.
said fisheries, irrespective of any question of reciprocal intercourse ber
tween the United States and the North American eolonieSi
" Resolved, That a committee be now appointed to pre.pare-an humble address, praying that her Majesty will be graciously pleased to refuse to entertain any proposition from the United States government for,
any modification oi* altera,tIon of the treaty-of 1818, unless such a propo.sition embraces the .full, and entire question of reciprocal intercourse in
commerce and iiavigatioauppn.te, that Will, be just and reaspnable,
inasmuch as the value of a participation in our fisheries bythe citizens,
of the United- States v^ould greatly exceed any concessions, that the
United States government can Offer to the inhabitants ofthe British, colbnies, and-that,, before any treaty affpcting the fisheries is agreed upon,
her Majesty will be graciously-pleased to affbrd her Majesty's, loyal and
faithful subjects, in. the provinces, an opportunity of becoming acquainted with .the terms proposed imsaid treaty, and of laying their case,
a t t h e foot of the throne."^
The lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia, in his speech to the Assem-.
bly of that colony, January, 1853, observes:
" I shall direct to be laid before you certain papers, connected with
the important subject pf an efficient protection ofthe fisheries, including
correspondence between the executive and his excellency the navalcommanderkn-chlef bn this station, with,, respect to the best mode
in which this service should be carried, put. To the zeal and experience of that distiiiguished officer, and to -the active and. cordial co-operation: of the officers ofthe squadroii employed under his command, we
are much indebted, fbr the vigilance with which our national rights have
been guarded, without, at the same time, any diminution ofthe friendly
relations which ou-o-ht to subsist between those whose commori orlo-iri
and mutual interests offer so ma:ny pledges for the preservation of peace.."You will be pleasedto learn that the government of the United States
has at length consented to negotiate on the subject of their commercial
relations with the British, empire. I shall rejoice if these negotiations
result in the opening of more. extended markets for the productions of
British America, and the adjustment of questions on which the legisla^
tures of all the ^provinces have hitherto evinced a lively interest."
The Assembly, in their reply to his excellency, deprecate *'any con-,
cession of territorial advantages to the citizens of the United States.,,
without these are purchased-by the mostfull and ample equivalents."
.. '
Having 1103V completed a rapid historical view of the controversy
betweeri the two governments as tothe intent and mpaiiing of the fir s.t
article of the'convention of 1818, I propose to examine the principal
papers which are refied on to maintain the British side of the case.
In answer to.Lord Falkland's first query, the crown.lawyers say-:
^' In obedience to your lordship's commands, w e have taken these papers


S. Doc. 22.

into consideration, and have the honor to report, that we are of opinion
that the treaty of 1783 was annulled by the war of 1812; and we axe
also of opinion that the rights of fishery of the citizens of the United
States must now be considered as defined and rggulated bythe convention of 1818; arid with respect to the general question,k?/50, what
right ?^ we can only refer to the terms of the convention, as explained
and elucidated by the observations which will bccur in answering the
other specific queries." .
And so, as the words stand; the treaty of 1783 having been " a n nulled" by the event spoken of, bur independence as-a nation was revoked-also. This is something the American pedple had not thought
of. These geritlemeii mean, possibly, that, our rights of fishing only
were, abrogated b y t h e rupture in 1812, and we may consider their
opinion on this ground.
Fortunately, the late President John Quincy Adams has pronounced
a judgment upon this very point. On the convention of 1818 he remarked: "-"The United States have ^renounced forever that part of the
fishing liberties whicli they had enjoyed, or claimed, in certain parts of
the exclusive jurisdiction of' British provinces,^ and within three marine
miles oi the shores. T h e first article of this convention affbrds a signal
testimonial of the correctness of the principle assumed by the American plenipotentiaries at Ghent; for as by accepting the express'renunciation by the United States of a small portion of the privilege in question, and by confirming and enlarging all the remainder.of the privilege
forever, the British government have implicitly acknowledged that the
liberties of the tliird article of the treaty of 1783 have not been abrogated by the war."
. '
It is true, as a general rule, that the obligations of treaties are dissolved by hostilities. . B u t , says Chancellor Kent, " where'' treaties con-template a- permanent arrangement of national rights., or which, by their
terms, are meant to.provide for the .event of an,intervening war, it
would be against every principle of just interpretation to hold them
extinguished by the event of war. They revive at peace, unless waived^
or new and repugnant stipulations be made/'* The treaty bf 1783 is ^precisely within this rule., I t " contemplated a permanent arrangement
of national rights." It "revived at the peace;" for our commissioners
at Ghent, iristead^ of "waiving" the former stipulations, or admitting
" n e w and repugnant" ones, declined any discussions whatever o n t h e
subject. In their communication to the Sedretary of State, of December 25, 1814, they say:
" O u r instructions had forbidden us to suffer our right to the fisheries
to be brought in discussion,' and had not authorized us to make any distinction in the several provisions of the third article of the treaty of
1783, or between that article and any other of the same treaty.
" W e had no equivalent to offer for a new recognition of our right to
any part of the fisheries, and we had no power to grant, any equivalent
which might be asked for it by the British government.- We contended
that the whole treaty of 1783 inust be considered as one entire permanent compact, not liable, like ordinary treaties, to'be abrogated by a
subsequent War between the parties to it; as an instrument recognising
the rights and liberties enjoyed by the people of the United States' as

S. Doc. 22.


an independent nation, and containing the terms and conditions on
which the two parties of one empire had mutually agreed henceforth
to constitute two distinct and separate nations. In consenting, by that
treaty, that a part of the North American continent should remain subject to the British jurisdiction, the people of the United States had reserved to themselves the liberty, which they had ever before enjoyed,
of fishing upon that part offthe. coast, and of drying and curing fish
upon the ^shores; and thiskeservation had been agreed to by the other
contracting party.
" We .saw not why tliisllberty—then no new grant, but a mere recpgnltloii of a ^rior right always ^ enjoyed—should be forfeited by a' wa.r
more than any .other of the rights of our national independence; or
why we should need a riew stipulation for its enjoyment mPre than we
needed a new. article to declare that the King of Great Britain treated
•with us as. free, sovereign, and independent Sta.tes. We stated this
piiriciple in general terms to the British, plenipotentiaries' in the note
which we sent to them with our projet of the treaty, and we alleged it
as the ground upon which no new stipulation,was deemed by our governinent necessary to secure to thepeopleof the United States all the
rights and liberties stipulated in .their favor by the treaty of 1783. No
^ reply to that part of our note was given by the British plenipotentiaries."*
To Lord Falkland's second and third queries the Queen's advocate
and her Majesty's attorney general reply:
- .
" Except within certaiii defiried limits, to which the query put to,, us
does not apply, we are of opinion .that, by the terms of the treaty,
American citizens are excluded from the right of fishing within three
miles of the coast of British America; and that the prescribed distance
* It has been suggested to me by gentlemen of high consideration in our national councils,,
that'Mr. Adams, by consenting to the convention of 1818, abandoned the principle which is
here so ably asserted. If it can be shown that he risally did consent to that convention, the
suggestion is not without force,^since it is manifest,.. that on the ground taken by our cbmmis' sioners at Ghent, no new stipulations were> necessary. But I have never believed that Mr.
Adams, as Secretary of State, approved of. the terms of the convention; and; my conjecture
has been, that he persisted in the views which he entertained in 1814, and was overruled by
other members of Mr. Monroe's cabinet. Desirous, if possible, to ascertain the precise fact
tipon so important a poirit, I addressed a note of inquiry to the Hon. Charles Francis Adams,
liis only surviving son and executor. This, gentleman consulted his father's diary, and kindly
furnished me with the following minutes of a conversation with the British minister at Washington, (M:r. Bagot,) o\x the 15th of May, 1818. This extract will remove all doubri as it ,
seems t o m e , as,to the consistency of Mr. Adams, and shows that he suhmittcd, rather than
consented, to a negotiation which he had not the, power to prevent, as well- as to terms which
he disliked, and which had been partiafly pr entirely determined upon by our government
before his i:eturn from England, or^before he became a member of the cabinet.
"As to the proposal which>was to have beeri made to the Biitish government," he recorded,
"and which had hitherto been delayed, its postponement ha'd been owing to difficulties which
had been discovered since it was promised. It was founded on the principle of assuming a
range of coast withui given latitudes for our fishermen to frequent, and. abandoning the right
to fish for the rest. But the fish, themselves, resorted at different times to different parts of
the. coast, and a place which inight be selected as very eligible now, might be in the co.urse of
four or five years entirely deserted. For my oicn part, I had always, been averse to any proposal
of accommodation. I thought our^ibhole right, as stipulated by the treaty 0/1783, so clear,'
that I was for maintaining the lohole; and if force should he applied to prevent our fishermen from
frequenting the coast, I would have protested 'against it, and reserved the light of recovering THE
HERE, A D A PROPOSAL HAD BEEN PROMISED. Pcrhaps WO should ultimately off'er to give up
the right of drying and curing on the shore, and reserve the whole right of iishing."

4m ^


S; Doe. 22.^:

of three miles is to be°measured from the headlands or extreme points.=
of land next the sea of khe coast, or of the entrance of the bays, and
not from the interior of such bays or iiilets of the coast; and, consequently, that no right exists, onthe part of American citizens, to enter;
the bays of Nova Scotia, there to take fish,. although the fishing; being
within the bay,, may be at a greater distance than three miles from the.,
shore of the bay, as we are of opinion that the term headland is used'
in the treaty to express the part of the land we have, before mentionedj.
excluding the interior of the bays and the inlets of the cpast."
I t i s somewhat remarkable that the term '•'headland" does not once^
occur inthe convention. Of course, so important a-mistake as this, leaves-'
these learned gentlemen in an unfortunate position. The single word
"headland," on which they fourid their argument, is not once " usedj" I repeat, in the instrument which they are required to interpret. I afr
firm, further, that the Idea of excluding our vessels froiii the "bays of
Nova Scotia" was not.entertained, nor so.much as mentioned, during
the negotiations which preceded the conventioii. The consultationsbetween Mr. Adams and Lord Bathurst commenced onthe basis of re- •
quiring of us the renunciation of the shore or boat fisheiies, and of no
others. At the first interview his- lordship used this distinct and emphatic language:
" A s , on the one hand. Great Britain could not permit the vessels of
the United States to fish within the creeks and: close upon the shores of
the British territories, so, on the other hand, it was by no means her
intention to interrupt them in fishing, anywhere in the open sea, or without
the territorial jurisdiction, « marine league from the shore/'* Again, audi
on a subsequent occasion, he said, i t i s not " o f fair competition that his,
Majesty's government has reason to complain,, but. of thp preoccupa-'
tion of Biitish harbors and creeks." The conferences, the corre*'
pondence, proceeded and termiriated on this supposition—^^that w e .
relinquished the inner grounds, ,as they are called, and retained the outer^
or vessel fisheries. We were no longer to interfere with the colonists in
the "harbors and creeks;" but, bdyorid the common three-mile mari-,
time jurisdiction,.were to retain every right to catch fish that we had.
previously enjoyed. Did space allow, I could show from both .sides of
the correspondenee that this original thought of Lord Bathurst was"
kept continually in view, and that the bays meiitioried. by the • crown
lawyers were riot even once referred to. Is it, then, to, be believed for
a single moment—^recalling, as we fairly may cio, the course pursued;
by Mr. Adams arid Mr. Gallatin at Ghent, in 1814, and the remarks of
Lord Bathurst the following year—that, ait/er three years of negotia-^
tion, a treaty should have been formed which took from us very much
more than the British government requirpd us to surrender at the outset? • The thing seems utterly impossible.* ' ^
* The extract from John Quincy Adams's diary which I have inserted as a note, in' consid- .,
ering the crown'^lawyers' reply to Lord Falkland's first query, shows, conclusively, that as late
as May 15,1818, and after the negotiations of more than two years, our government had not
even proposed to. surrender any portion of tha fishing-grounds .which we occupied under the
treaty of 1783. Mr. Adams records, at the date mentioned: '^Perhaps ice should ultimately
offer to give up the right of drying and curing on the. shore, and reserve the ichole right of,

S. Doc. 22.


Our Statesmen have beeri accused,:on the'other side^of the Atlantic,.
of a limited knowledge pf InternatiPrial law, but .never pf sacrificing
- Pur interests: in truth, the. standing: charge.against them is, that they
overreach, and. drive too hard, bargains. But, on the supposition that
the right of fishing has been abandoned in the bays of Biitish America,
those who negotiated, and those who confirmed, the convention of 1818,
allowed themselves to be most scandalously duped, and never subsequently discovered the fraud.
. k
Contemporaneous exposition is • always authoritative to some extent;.
>aiid in this ca:se, I consider it is as decislve-as are the pssays of"Hamilton,
Madisoii, and Jay, in iri terpreting the constitution. ^
. The crowitlawyers, who had no part In cqiicluding the treaty before
us, canriot be allowed to interpret it for our gpvernment, when wp have
the declarations .pf the minister who ppened the conferences, and the
minister's who signed the treaty Itself. From this position we are nottp. be driven. What, 'then, is the; testimony of Messrs. Gallatin and.
Rush? Ori the very day on which they, affixed their signatures to the ^
convention, (October 20i 1818,) they wrpte to the Secretaiy of State,
' (who was no other than.John Quincy Adariis) that " W e succeeded in
securing, besides the rights of taking and curing fish within the limits designated by our instructions, as a sine quel nouy'S^ie liberty of fishing on the
coasts of the Magdalen islands, aiid of the. western coast of NeAvfouiidland, and the privilege of enteringfor shelter, wood, and water, inall the
British harbors of. North America, Both were sugge.sted as important
to our fisheries. In the coriimunicatloiis on that subject, w^hicri were
transmitted to us with our instructipns. To the exception o f t h e exclusive rights of theJHudspn's Bay Company, we did not object, as it
was virtually implied in the treaty of 1783", and we had never, any
iriore than the British subjects, enjoyed any right there; the charter of.
that company having been granted in the .year 1670. The exception
. appfies^only to.the co.asts and harbors, and does not affect the right of
fishing iri Hudson's bay beyond three, miles from, the shores—a right
which could i^ot exclusively belong- to, or be granted by, any nation.
,, " I t will also be perceived that; We insist pii the clause by whicli the
United States fenpunce their right to the fisheries, relinquished by the
convention, that clause having been omitted k n the first British counter.
- projet. We irisisted on it with the view—1st. Of preventing, an impli-.
cation that the fisheiies secured to lis were a uew grant, and of placing.
the permanence ofthe rights secured, and of those renounced, precisely,
on'the ^s ame footing. 2d.. Ofits being expixssly stated, that, our renuncia-'
tion extended only to the distance of three miles from the coast. This last
point was the more important, as, with, the exception of the fisheries in open
boats xvithin certain harbors, it/appeared from the communications above mentioned that the fishing ground on the whole coast of Novei Scotia is more
than three miles from the shore; whilst, pn the contrary, it is almost universally close to the shore on the coasts of Labrador.. It is in that
point of view thcit the privilege of entering the ports for shelter is usejul, and
it is hoped that, with that.provision, a consi'derable portion .of the actual on that coast (of Nova .Scotia.) ivill, notwithstanding the renuncia-. tion^ be preserved."*^
• ,r- •: - /
But if, as the crown lawyers contend, we cannot fish in a single bay


S. Doc. 22.

of Nova Scotia, what did the American ministers mean, in the statements which I have marked? Did they attempt to deceive an Adams,
on questions connected with the fisheries; or w^ere they ignorant of
their duty? Neither; for Mr. Adams himself emphatically and positively affirms their construction of the convention. Under circumstances* highly interesting to his fame with this generation and with
posterity, he declared that this convention " secures essentially and substantially all the rights acquired by the treaty pf 1783; it secures the whole
coast fi.shery of eveiy 'part of the British dominion, excepting within three
7na,rine miles of the shores.^^ What answer can be made-to this?'
Still again: If the crown laAvyers are in the right, how does it happen that we were in the uninterrupted possessioii of the very bays in
dispute for a quarter of a century? The fact is nbt doubted ; indeed,
the attempt to dispossess us is the cause of the controversy. Mr. Everett affbrded Lord Aberdeen an opportunity—nay. Invited him—^to
explain this circumstance; but his lordship decfined to reply. During
these twenty-five years,' ships of the royal navy annually appeared on
the fishing grounds under special orders to prevent aggressions; yet
not one of them, prior to the capture of the Washington in 1843, ever
seized an American vessel for merely fishing within these bays!
It may be answered, however, that we were occupants without title
and by permission. But, says Blackstone, possession of l a n d s , " by
length of time and negligence of him w^ho hath the right, by degrees
ripens into a perfect and indefeasible title." As upon the land, so
upon the sea. A nation,.says Vattel, " i f it has once acknowledged
the common right of. other nations to come and fish there, can no
longer exclude them from it. It has left that fishery in its primitive
freedom, at least in respect to those" who have been in possession
. > ;
; ^ '
If these remarks and authorities are pertinent, what term is necessary
to give us a right to the cdmmoii use' ofthe bays orBiitish Aihericaby
uninterrupted occupancy and possession ? Lord Stanley, In a despatch
to Lord Falkland, as we have seen, considered that we had " practically acquiesced" in the opinion of the crown lawyers, because we
did not protest against,it in less than two years; and it might seem
that the "practical acquiescence" ofthe Biitish government fbr a period
of tWenty-five years previously was sufficient to. place us withiii the
rule pf the writers above quoted, Especially since, after all, the true,
questipn in discussion is simply whether we shall continue in the common use of waters to which we have riever ceased to resort from the
peace bf 1783 ; to which our fathers resorted as British subjects before
the dismemberment ofthe empire; and to whicli we, as their descend• Controversy with Jonathan Russell.'
tDr. Paley, in his Moral and Political Philosophy, states the principle far more broadly.
In chapter eleven, which is devojted to the "general rights of mankind," he says:
" I f there be fisheries which are inexhaustible—as, for aught Ikiiow, the cod-fishery jipon
the Banks of Newfoundland and the .herring fishery in the British seas are—then all those conventions by whicli one or two nations claim to themselves, and guaranty to each other, the exclusive enjoyment of these: .fisheries, are so many encroachments upon the general rights of
mankuid."—Boston edition, 1821, p. 84.

S. Doc. 22.


ants, have a claim for services rendered to the British crown in the
original conquest from France.
• If asked how the term " b a y s " is to be disposed of in the treaty, I
• answer that it applies to such amis of the sea as on some coasts are
called coves and creeks, and was meant to designate all sheets of water
which are not six miles wide, and no others. • That our ministers, acted
upon information obtained from persons engaged in the fisheries is cer^ tain, for the negotiation was suspended to obtain it; and w^e may reasonably conclude that their informants spoke of these coves or creeks
by the popular name of bays. Any person.with a mariner's chart in
his hand can obsprve that on the colonial' coasts there is a multitude
of ."bays," some of which are more, and many less, than six miles
wide at their mouths, or outer headlands. In fact,-! know of no coast
where they are so numerous. To mentiori all, would occupy more room
than can be spared in this report.. Mace's, Sf. Mary's, Barrington,
Liverpool, Malaguash, Mahone, Margaret's, Blind, Tenant's, Pennant's,
Chisselcook, Musquldoboit, Newton Quoddy, Shoal, Tom Lee's, Nicom: quirque, Nicomtan, and Dover, are a part (though the most considerable) /between the St..Croix and Cape Canso alone. That it may be
fully understood in what sense the word " b a y " is used in speaking of
.indentations of the coast at the east, I give an example in the of
the Passamaquoddy, which in itself is only a branch-ba,y-of Fundy.
In this small branch-bay, then, in. coriimpn language, are Cipp's, South,
East, Rumsey's, Cobscook, Strait, Friar's, Casco, and West Quoddy;
.and the Passamaquoddy, after being thus minutely divided, takes the ^
name of St. Andrew's bay, northerly and westerly of Eastport. The
term' " b a y s " is therefore a. word of sufficient significance in the treaty,
• -without embracing bodies of water which are as large as many European seas, and which are to be,held in America as seas. I claim that
our vessels can enter them of right, and fish in them, a,nd can enter
and fish in their branches, where the shore on either hand is niore than
three miles distant. We renounced the-right to fish in the bodies of
sea-water which are less than six miles -wide at their entrance or
mouths, and in no others. That this is the true meaning of the con' ventiori is apparent from the proviso of the renunciatory clause, which
allows our fishermen to enter " such bays or harbors for the purpose of
• shelter, and of repairing dama.ges therein, of purchasing wood, and of
• obtaining water," &c. - Now, as every practical man know^s that neither
of these purposes is or can be accomplished In large open bays, it is
certain that while we renounced the right to fish in the small bays, we
retained the right to enter them in cases-of distress and emergericy*
The bays.relinquished are of a description which allow of anchorage
and shekerin stormy weather; that actually afford safety during the
days and weeks which disabled vessels may occupy in repairs; that
have accessible forests, and spririgs 'or streams of fresh water. T h e
idea embraced is, that our vessels, in the cases specified, ^may run into
any and every indent of the coast; for the term."purchasing wood"
supposes a colonial owner, with a habitation on the^ shore, of whom fuel
can be bought^and paid fbr; and thus includes places which aie inhabited. Persons who are acquainted with the bold and rocky shores of
^the large bays of^ British America—those of Chaleurs and Fundy,.for

•462 .

-K Doc. 22.

example—with the dense fogs AV hich prevail there, with the frequerit
and teiTjfic gales, and with the fearful. whirls and great rise and
fall of the tide, understand full Well what was intended to be reserved
in the treaty, and the importance of the reservations. But.such persons never heard, and,-I will venture to say, never will: hear; of fishing
vessels, or of any class of vessels, effecting either of the , purposes
mentioried in the proviso, while sailing broad In^ the great seas which,
in common language, are called bays. Yet these seas,;in the opiniori of
' t h e crown lawyers, are only open to our vessels in cases of distress,
and when not one object fbr whicli they say we .may lawfully enter
them can, in fact, be executed. An attempt to show that the Queen's
advocate, and her Majesty's attorney general, do not thus absurdly interpret the convention,:involves the admission .that our vessels, .once
acrpss the line drawn three miles, outside of-the headlands, may seek
the small branch-bays within these seas; and so demonstrates the
accuracy of the construction which I have given; for then it follows
' that the right to fish in the branch-bays only, is renounced, inasmuch
as '^such bays,'' after all, axe-the bays which afford the shelter, the accommodation for repairs, and the wood and wjater, contemjplated by
the convention.
" I t is an established rule in the exposition of statutes," says Chancellor Kent, "that the intention of the lawgiver is to be deduced from
a view of the whole and of every part oi a statute, taken and compared together. The real intention, when accurately ascertained, will
always prevail over the hteral sense of the ternis." And he says
further, that ''Wheri the Words are not explicit,, the intention is to be
collected from the occasion and riecessity of the law, from the mischief
felt, and the remedy in view; and the intention is to be taken or presumed, according to what is consonant to reason and good~ discretion;"
If such is the fact with regard to, how much more.important is the principal in the interpretation of treaties, which affect
the harmony and peace of riations? I submit, then, that we haive the
"intention" of Messrs. Rush and Gallatin, in their renunciation of the
rightto fish in certain bays; that the pretension of .England, that the
war of 1812 had abrogated our-entire rights, as provided inthe treaty
of 1783, was the "occasion and necessity" for new stipulatipns on the
subject; that the opening conference between Lord Bathurst and Mr.
Adams, in 1815, shows, beydnd all doubt, that fishing, by our countrymen, vvithiii tlie creeks and close upon the shores of the British .territories, was the "mischief felt;" and that t h e exclusion of American
vessels from t h e common three-mile jurisdiction was " the. remedy inview,'-in the renunciatory clause of the convention. -Nor can it be
urged that the relinquishment on our pcirt of the boat^ or shore, hsheries
was too inconsiderable an object to be so strongly insisted on byothe
British government. I understand the value of these- fisheries far toO
.well to allow any force to such a suggestion. The colonists, secure in
these, have vast treasures at their very; doors. Oftentimes they have
but to cast, tehd, and draw seines and nets, to take hundreds of barrels
of mackerel and herring in a single day;^ and years have occurred
w h e n no less than forty thous.and barrels of the fbrmer fish h a v e been
caught in a season, on a portion of the coast only twelve miles long.

^S. Doc. 22.


•As regards the* sAore fish ery, "for the,kinds usually dried, that in the
region of Barrington is.of itself a mine of wealth. Colonial fishermen,
•here and elsewhere along the;coast, may be at:home after every day's
toil, and look out upon their American competitors in, the offing, rejoicing in advantages of pursuing their avocation in open boats, and the
consequent advantages of social life, and of fishing and of attendiiig to
their little farms:between "slacks of the tide," in ''blowy weather,"
.and when the fish ^'strike off"'
The Queen's advocate and her Majesty's attorney general answer
-Lord Falkland's fourth query as follows:
" B y the treaty of 1818 it is agreed that American citizens should
have the libertyof, fishing: in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, within certain
defined limits, in commoii with British subjects; and such treaty does
not contain any words negativing the right to navigate the passage of
the Gut of Cansp, and therefore it m a y b e conceded that such right
of nayigation is not taken away by that convention; but we have now
attentively considered the' course of navigation .to the gulf, by Cape
Breton, and likewise the capacity; arid situation of the passage of
Canso, and ofthe British dominions on either side, and we are of opinion tha.t,kiidependently,,of trea.ty, no. fbreign country has the rightto
use or navigate the passage of Canso; and attending- to the terms ofthe,
convention relating to the liberty of fishery to be enjoyed by the Americans, we are also of opinion that that convention did not, either expressly or by implication, concede any such right of using or navigating
the passage in question. W e are. alsb of opinion that casting bait to
lure fish in the track of any American vessels navigating- the passage,:
would eonstitute.afishingwithiritheiiegativeterms ofthe convention."
-This reply and :the report* of the committee of the House of Assembly
of Nova Scotia will, be considered together.' The.committee laud the
late Chancellor Kent, cite from his Commentaries, and aver that he
"agrees with the principles put forth by the law officers ofthe crown j
. and which justify theconclusion that no foreign power, independent of
- treaty, has any right to navigate the passage of Canso." It is not so.
The passaget which, they quote from Kent relates lo '^an immunity
from belligerent warfare;" to ships enemy"hovering on our
coasts;" to the degree of "uneasiness and sensibility" we might feel,
"in the case of war between other maritime powers,"-Were they to
- "use the waters of our coast" for the purpose of cruising and of cap- ^
turing vessels. He gives no exact rule even in this respect. He gives.^
no exact rule in time of peace. He says that "the claim of dominion to
close or narrow seas is still the theme of discussion, and controversy/^ H e
then states the doctrine of several writers on international law, and
remarks that "all that .can reasonably be asserted is, that the dommion
ofthe sovereign of the.shore over the contiguous sea extends as fax as
. Is requisite.fbr his safety and fbr some lawful end. A more extended
. dominipn "must rest entirely upon fbrce and maritime supremacy:"
Now, it may be asked whether the "safety" of Nova Scotia demands
the closing of Canso; and whether the refusal of its use is for " some
^ Inserted in the historical notice ofthe controversy-in this report, under date of IS^iL
t Kent's Commentaries, edition of 1832, vol. 1, pages 29 aud 30.


S. Doc, 22.

lawful end." I am defending the rights of men In peace. I am
asking for a free sea when our fishermen are bound to and from the
distant scenes of their toil. I assume that they neither loiter nor
traffic; that they violate no municipal law; and that in no other way
do they harm or molest her Majesty's subjects. Perhaps the eminent
jurist, who is quoted so triumphantly against them, wiU sustain my defence. .We shall see. '.'Every vessel in time of peace," says the
same Chancellor Kent, "has a right to consult its own safety and convenience, and to piursuekts own course, and business, without being
disturbed, and without having violated the rights of others." . Agaiii,
he says: " As the end bf the law of nations is the happiness and'perfection of the general society of mankind, it enjoins upon every nation
the punctual observance pf benevolencC' and good will, as well a!s of
justice, towards its neighbors. This is equally the policy and the duty
of nations." Still again: "No nation has a right, in time of peace, to
interfere with, or interrupt, any commerce which is lawful by the law
of natidns, and' carried, on between other independent powers, or between different members of the: same state." Nor is this all. " Every
nation is bound, in time of peace, to grant a passage, for lawftd purposes,
over their lands, rivers, and. seas., to .the people of other states, wheneverAt
c a n i e permitted without inconvenience/'*^ Let us apply these principles
to the case befbre us. In passriig through ^Canso, our fishermen consult
their "safety and convenience." They promote the " h a p p i n e s s " of
mankind,ofor they are producers of human food. Their "purpose is
lawful," for the crown lawyers themselves admit that the right of fishing
in the Gulf of St. Lawrence is secured to them.
A reporr on Canso has become a regular legislative duty in the
Assembly of Nova Scotia.. The little colonial world will sooii be gratified with another labored effort to show that our cduntrymen have "rip
right to pass through one of her Majesty's possessions." I commpnd
to the committee of 1853 the passages which I have quoted, and which
_ relate to the duties of nations in time of peace. . I have the presumption, too, to suggest to the Queen's advocate, and her Majesty's attorney
general, that, though Selden was among the lights of his age, and
thoM^vhis-Mare Clausum was 'once high authority, yet that since the
. progress of civilizatidn ha;s modified soirie, and changed other, rules pf
international law, it. is time that the old and barbarous doctrine of
exclusion from the navigation of internal-straits between the main larid
and islands, as applied to vessels under sail, and making a direct
voyage, ceased to distress the mariners of one Christian country when
within the jurisdiction of. another. Two centuries ago,t when Selden,
' and his great-antagonist, Grotius, wrote their celebrated treatises, it
Was the practice, under the public law, to confiscate the debts due to
the subjects of an enemy at the commencement of hostihties; to regard
an enemy as an outlaw and as a criminal, who had no right to life, even
when-unarmed and defenceless; to use. poisoned weapons, employ
assassins, violate females, and sell prisoners into slavery; and to confiscate, .as contraband, provisions when inkransitu to^ feed starving non* These se-reral quotations are from Keiit, edition of 183.2, pages'28, 29, 31, 32, 33, and 34. '
t Selden died in 1654;-Grotius in 1645.

«; Doe. 22.


combatants and famishing women and children. < If the abstract right
exist to close Canso in time of peace against vessels under sail, it
belongs to .the same class of inhuman rules of the interhatlonal code.
" T h e English," says Montesquieu, "have made the protection of
foreign merchants one of the articles of their national liberty." I comr
mend the sentiment to the consideration of the English crown lawyers.
But let us take a practical view of the question before us. The
.peninsula of Nova Scotia is bounded on the northeast by the strait, or
"gut," of which we are speaking, and is separated by it from the large
island of Cape Breton. To save the long, difficult, and at some times
,of the year the dangerous voyage round this island, our vessels are in
the constant practice of passing through Canso. The strait is lighted;
-and our flag contributes liberally to support all the light-houses on the
coast. The '^'light-money" exacted is, indeed, so enormous—the
benefit afforded considered—-that our ship-owners complain of the exactions continually.* It is apparent at a glance that the sailing of a
vessel over the sea between Nova Scotia and Cape Breton can, of
itself, harm no one. This sea, be it understood, is very narrow, not
exceedhig, in some parts, one mile in breadth.
Having thus stated the case, w e will illustrate the doctrine maintained by the crown lawyers, by one exactly parallel in all its points.
The; "McLane arrangement" in 1830, disposed of many of the difficulties which, from the peace of 1783, had embarrassed our intercourse
with the colonies, and under its terms colonial vessels have freely used
'*:The United. States consut at Pictou, Nova Scotia, thus wrote to Mr. Forsyth, Secretary
of State, in 1839 : "The tax of six and two-thirds cents per ton register of shipping, collected
by the province of Nova Scotia at the Strait of Canso, is levied on British as well as foreign
ships; but it becomes a heavy charge on American vessels making four or five trips.a.year to
this port, in the coal trade; and as there is no impost on shippmg in Ameiican ports for the
support of lights on the coast of the United States, such a tax on Ameiican vessels in the
ports of the Biitish colonies involves a discrepance in the terms of intercourse between the
two countries, although it professes to be based on strict reciprocity."
The.Gloucester Telegraph, a paper which is authority on all matters connected.with the
fisheries, contained the following article, August, 1852:
" LIGHT DUTY AT THE BAY.—One of the most grievous things which our fishermen have to
submit to at the Bay of St. Lawrence, is the payment of a light-duty. Our vessels have for
years been obliged to pay this duty at the Gut of Canso, which is a tax upon the town of
Gloucester alone of $1,000 a year. This year every vessel whicli visits the harbor of Princie
Edward Island is obliged to pay another tax, which is called anchorage duty. As almost
all of our vessels visit the island, this new duty about doubles thetax upon them. 'And again,
if any of our vessels are driven by stress of weather into Miramichi, and some of the other
ports on the main land, the anchorage duty, light-duty, port charges, &c., &c., are put upoii
them tp the amount of $20 more. Now, is this right ? The' Nova, Scotia vessels which visit
our harbors are subjected to port charges, amounting, for a vessel under one hundred tons, toonly $4 50. Why should our vessels, for merely passing through their waters,'be subjected
to so. heavy a tax, whUe their vessels who visit us for the purpose of trading have the benefit
of our light-houses, and only pay a trifling sum for poit charges?
" I t is said that the light-duty paid by our vessels is for the support of their light-houses.
But what are those light-houses? •There are two poor lights at the Gut of Canso, but none
on the coasts, visited by the fishermen, except, we believe, at Gaspe. There is no light on the
whole northern coast of Prince Edward Island, which is most visited by our fishermen during the stormy months of September and October, when the lights are most needed. Our
fishing-vessels alone pay fight-duty suflicient to have the coast well lighted.
" The oflicers who collect these duties admit that they are mijust; but still they say their
government must impose them. And how are they collected ? The officers at the island
otfer to take most an}^,hing when the captain hesitates about paying the specie; they will
take molasses, pork, and even oil clothes! This is a nice way to smuggle in the goods.'*- -



s. Doc. 22.

the straits, passages, and harbors of our entire'coast. Thousands; of
these vessels, visit our ports annually; and the "in-shore" voyage is
. invaluable to them during the stormy and boisterous months of the
year. Every merchant engaged in navigation is aware that, as a class,
"the small vessels built in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are far inferior to our own. To say nothing of the want of skill and sobriety in
some oi the masters, and nothing of the weak and misshapen hulls of
many of the colonial craft. It may be remarked that a proportion of such
as are employed in the transportation of wood and gypsum are fitted
with the cast-oft'sails and cordage of timber-ships. To "dodge along
shore" is the only safe course fbr these vessels to pursue, as none can
deny. To allow them to do so, is but an act of common humanity.
To deny them the "boon," would be to involve many in certain, destruction.
And .now, suppose that the legislature of Maine should remonstrate
.to our government on the subject, and insist that the people of that
State suffer great wrong, because colonial vessels, when bound to Portland, Boston, and other northern ports, instead of keeping broad off at
sea, "hug the shore" and pass through Edgemaroggin and Mopsepeek
Reaches, over Bass-harbor bar, through Fox Island thoroughfare, and
between Monhegan and the mainland. Suppose, too, that the legislatures of New York and Connecticut should join the frontier State
and demand the exclusion of British vessels from Long Island Sound?
Suppose, further, that finally the Attorney General ofthe United States
should submit an opinion to the .President, in which he should say that
no stipulations giving the right to navigate these straits and this sound
^exist, either in the treaty of 1783, in Jay's treaty in 17 94, in,the treaty
of peace in 1814, in the treaty of commerce in 1815, in the convention
of 1818, in the McLane arrangement in, 1830, or in the last, the treaty
:0f Washington i n k 8 4 2 ; who would fail to see the inhumanity—nay,
the outright wickedness—of the whole proceeding? Yet, were all this
to be done, they would do no more than has actually been done by the
pohtical leaders, of Nova Scotia and the crown lawyers of Engiand.
As a. matter of right, the British colonists can be treated precisely as
they require the government of England to treat us. If-—as they aver,
• and quote international law to prove—the Strait of Canso is not open
• to our vessels under sail and passing to and from the Gulf of St.
Lawi-ence, then, and for the same reasons-—geographical and political-—
the "reaches," sounds, straits, and "thoroughfares" along thp coast of
the United States, are not open to them. Can this position be denied?
In reply to Lord Falkland's fifth query, the law officers of the crown
say: " VVith reference to the claim of a right to land on the Magdalene
islands, and to fish from the shores thereof, it must be observed that,
by the treaty, the liberty of drying and curing fish (purposes which
could only be accomplished by landing) in any of the unsettled bays,
.&c.,'of t h e southern part of Newfoundland, and ofthe coast of Labrador, is specifically provided for; but such privilege is distin