Imágenes de página

the territory of a country coterminous with it is not improbable that the complaints the Republic may at any time be made a which went up from Barnstable and Plysafe diversion from the dull routine of every mouth, Massachusetts, to Congress in 1806, day life. We know, as a matter of fact, at having to meet the competition of British that before the treaty has, in all its parts, Colonial fish, in American markets, may be gone into operation, another raid by Ameri- repeated. can citizens has been made on the fron- When they were excluded from the United tier of the North-West. If this last raid States, by high duties, the fishermen of was thoroughly contemptible, it involved the Nova Scotia were loud in their demands for Dominion in the expense of sending up a a strict enforcement of the prohibitions of hundred men to Fort Garry.

the Convention of 1818. In 1836, the Local The opening of the United States market Legislature passed an Act authorizing officers to Canadian fish reconciles to the treaty the of the Government to board American fishclass who have the greatest and most direct ing vessels found hovering within the prointerest in the fisheries: the fishermen of hibited limits, and to remain on board till the Canada. Their views of the arrangement vessels moved away.

That Province was are at once coloured and circumscribed by foremost in urging the exclusion of Ameritheir interests. They know that it is to cans from the Bay of Fundy and Bay their advantage to have free access for the Chaleur, and in denying them the right to products of their industry to the nearest, navigate the Strait of Canso. The Local and in some respects the best, market. Legislature claimed the right to prevent They have no sympathy with a feeling that foreign vessels passing through that strait, would bar the American market to them, where, it was complained, they cast bait to unless these fisheries could be converted lure fish, and by this means negatively coninto a make-weight in securing a general travened the treaty. reciprocity of trade, which American states- More than a quarter of a century ago, the men show no disposition to grant. The un- British Government would have thrown popularity of the fishery articles of the treaty open to the Americans all the Bays over with other classes is, in a measure, compen- six miles wide, if it had not been for the sated by their ready acceptance by the fisher- assurance of Lord Falkland, then Lieutenmen. The latter are most nearly interested ; ant-Governor of Nova Scotia, that the the former most numerous. Nova Scotia, measure would create deep-rooted dissatiswhose greatest material interest lies in her faction both in that Province and New fisheries, was brought into the confederation Brunswick. Nova Scotia deprecated any in a manner which her population deeply concession to their rivals ; and insisted on resented. She complained that she was their being held to a strict construction of dragged into an union about which her the treaty. And in 1845, excepting only people were not fairly consulted ; that the Bay of Fundy, she succeeded in bringundue restraint was put upon her will. The ing over the Imperial Government to her sullen gloom inspired by that event had / views. She sometimes employed as many not been wholly dissipated; and it would as four armed vessels for the protection of have been highly impolitic to act as if other the fisheries ; and she was loudest of all the parts of the Dominion had a greater interest colonies in demanding from England an inin the fisheries of the Province than her crease of naval armaments. While she conown fishermen. As between the fishermen tributed four, her sister Province, New of the two countries, the Canadian appear to Brunswick, in 1852, tardily furnished two ; be better satisfied than the American ; and ! and Canada, not exceeding in this respect the efforts of the little island of Prince Ed- unreasonably, but not the less pertinaciously, ward, did not furnish more than one vessel. held to be unfair ; for it is one thing to When to these was added a naval force of enter on the free list raw products which English steamers and sailing vessels, for the serve as food, or enter into manufactures, avowed purpose of preventing encroach- and altogether another thing to admit along ments on our fisheries, a storm arose in Con- side of them completed manufactures. Many gress. The more fiery of the Senators, in- nations, when there is no question of treaty cluding the most responsible among them, stipulations, make a difference between the the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign two classes. They find it advantageous to Relations, treated the collection of this obtain raw produce on the cheapest terms; naval force as an “insult and indignity to the whether in the shape of food or materials, whole American people." This fleet, they to be worked up into manufactures. Amerisaid, must have some ulterior object. War can politicians and manufacturers failed to was freely spoken of as a possible result. recognize the necessity of discriminating in But the American Executive took the matter this way between different articles of immore calmly, and instead of sending the port. The treaty having been legally termiwhole home squadron into our waters sent nated, the Cabinet of Washington, through only the frigate Mississippi.

Mr. Seward and Mr. Secretary McCulloch, This threatening aspect of affairs had declined to discuss proposals for any new been mainly brought about by the pertinac- arrangement from which manufactures should ity with which Nova Scotia had insisted on be excluded. And in any case, they refused the treaty being executed, in its full rigour. to enter on negotiations for a new reciprocity That the fishermen of this Province should treaty. They proposed reciprocal legislaaccept the treaty of Washington, as a boon, tion as a substitute ; and they insisted on

: shows how fully they appreciate the open- placing raw materials and manufactures on ing of the American market to the products the same footing. These terms Canada reof their industry. It is the more remarkable jected with an unanimity that was unbroken that this should occur among a people by any voice of dissent loud enough to be whose political passions have for four years heard amid the general din. To have adbeen inflamed almost to the highest pitch mitted American manufactures free would consistent with the preservation of order. either have involved a loss of revenue, with

If we have given away, on new terms, which it was impossible to dispense, or a those fisheries which, on a previous oc- discrimination in favour of the United casion, were accepted by American states- States and against all the rest of the world, men as an equivalent for a more general yet England included. So far, the objection necessarily limited reciprocity of commerce, urged by Canada was reasonable. But it it does not follow that under the altered cir- went beyond this, and embraced legislative cumstances, we have not done the best we reciprocity in any and every possible form. could. The treaty of 1854, never long Under like circumstances, when all the popular with the Americans, was finally resources of diplomacy had been exhausted, abrogated by Congress. The chief objec- England once tried the expedient of recitions urged against it were its restricted scope procal legislation with success. And, as in and its alleged one-sided character. It ad this case also, it was the United States that mitted our raw produce to American mar- had to be dealt with. The questions to be kets and excluded their manufactures from settled were questions of commerce and ours. The latter were chargeable with duty; navigation. There was, in the words of the first was free. This discrimination was, Canning, an evident conviction among the



diplomatists, on both sides, "that there ex- circumstances were then different.

No isted an unconquerable difference of princi- previous treaty had existed to become unple, and it was by that difference, rather popular, and be terminated with the assent than by an irreconcilableness of interest, of all parties in the Republic. that a satisfactory arrangement was rendered We have, then, to consider the Fishery hopeless." Under these circumstances, Eng- clauses on their merits ; and without prejuland passed an Act of Parliament which con- dice in favour of an alternative arrangetained proposals to be carried into effect on ment, which the stern facts oblige us to their being reciprocated by Congress, or look upon as impossible. The facility with the authority of other nations, as respected which excuses could be found for objecting the nations so reciprocating. In this way, to the British interpretation of the Treaty England, from 1823 to 1830, overcame a might be made a dangerous source of misdifficulty which had baffled negotiation and chief in the hands of politicians willing to survived the exhausted efforts of diplomacy subordinate all questions to their personal to remove.

The claim made by Americans of But whether Canada were right or wrong a right to fish in the large bays, which Mr. in refusing to try the experiment of recipro- Webster, when Secretary of State, admitted cal legislation, the fact remains that she did was not tenable on a strict construction of resolutely and persistently refuse.


the Treaty, had long, and especially since statesmen of Washington were not less per- 1842, been a fertile subject of dispute. It sistent in refusing to negotiate a new reci- was reserved to General Butler to encourage procity treaty. In 1871, as in 1867, they American fisherman to encroach on the inrefused to listen to propositions for galva- shore fisheries, within the three mile limit, nizing into new life the treaty of 1854, and to use force to repel attempts at capture. which they had strangled amidst loud excla- Before giving this advice he had been their mations of national delight. We might have District representative in Congress, and insisted on holding the fisheries as a latent had latterly been living for some months reserved power ; but in that case, the only among the fishermen on the coast of New certain result would have been continued | England, whose good will he was now disputes about encroachments, while it doubly anxious to secure in view of a proswould have rested with the authorities at pective election, in which the gubernatorial Washington to give, or refuse to give, the chair of the State would be the object of only equivalent for which we could have contest. It is possible that he may have consented to part with them. If they had, heard from those fishermen how some of for four years, refused our terms, we could their progenitors, in the last generation, renot point to any time in the future when sorted to acts of violence, akin to those he they would accept them. As a means of recommended ; and that they escaped all repurchasing the conditions of the old Re- punishment of the nine American vessels ciprocity Treaty, or anything like them, it captured in 1824, by Captain Hoare, of Her would have been a blind self delusion to Majesty's brig Dotterel, one was retaken by rely on the fisheries.

her crew, and two others were rescued by We do not forget that, in 1851, the Presi- the joint efforts of their crews and an armed dent declined to negotiate, and suggested party from Eastport, Maine.

When the a regulation of the commerce of the two British Government complained of these countries by reciprocal legislation ; and that proceedings, its communication remained unthis objection to the mode of proceeding answered a year and a half; and when was overcome three years later. But the | afterwards, waiving any demand for the

punishment of the persons concerned in the to accept. In 1845, the British Governoutrages, it asked an acknowledgment of ment, while adhering to this construction, the wrong done, even that satisfaction does conceded to them the privilege of fishing in not appear to have been given.

the Bay of Fundy ; but it was with the conIn the interval, between the exchange of dition that they should not go within three ratifications and the action of the Dominion miles of the entrance of any other bay on Parliament necessary to give full effect to the coasts of Nova Scotia or New Brunsthe Treaty of Washington, the opportunity wick. The United States, through its minwas availed of by the owners of the Ameri- | ister, Mr. Everett, accepted the concession, can fishing schooner, E. H. Horton, seized but denied that to be a favour which had in September, for a violation of the fishery been contended for as a right. It mattered laws, and lying in Guysborough harbour, not that the Americans had themselves apawaiting an investigation before the Court plied the term bay to a water of their own, of Admiralty, to act upon the rash advice of Delaware Bay, nearly as wide as Bay ChalGen. Butler. On the night of the 8th Oc- eur, and treated it as the exclusive property tober, in the absence of the guards, she was

of the nation. The British ship Grange, cut from her moorings and taken in tri- captured in Delaware Bay, by the French umph to Gloucester, Mass., where her arri- frigate Embuscade, in 1793, was demanded val, after this outrage, was cause of much for restoration by the Washington Governwild local excitement and rowdy rejoicing. ment, on the ground that the capture had But the act does not command much sym- taken place in the neutral waters of the pathy outside of the circle of interested United States. And France, at a time when fishermen and their immediate neighbours. she was in a sufficiently contentious mood, General Butler, in making so rash an ap- complied without a word of objection, by peal to men proverbial for their ignorance, the pen of Citizen Minister Genet, the most and liable by the accidents of the season to contentious of mortals. But this question find their venture unrewarded, must have of the right of fishing in the Bay of Chaleur known that he was sowing seed on a soil always remained, like an open fester, which that might possibly prove alarmingly fertile. stubbornly refused to yield to treatment. If he encouraged them to take forcible pos- And it is possible that we have not seen the session of the shore fisheries, they would last of it; for it would revive with the termieasily persuade themselves that any attempt nation of the Treaty of Washington. to exclude them from Bay Chaleur was alike A factitious importance was formerly atunreasonable and illegal. If the claim to tached to the fisheries from the belief that fish in that Bay rested on an application of they were the best nurseries for the naval the principles of international law, we think marine of the countries by whose people it likely that it would have been tenable. they were prosecuted. This notion was not But the question, which had previously confined to any one country : it prevailed

: given much trouble, depended for its solu-alike in France, in England, and the United tion on the interpretation of the Convention States. Bounties on fish were formerly, and by which the Americans renounced the are sometimes now, defended on this ground. right of taking fish within three miles of any A nation largely engaged in fisheries and bay as well as of any creek or harbour. The having but a limited commercial marine, English interpretation was that the three might seek among fishermen the materials mile line must be drawn from the headlands ; | with which to man its navy ; but it is diffi. an interpretation which the Americans, un- cult to believe that the fisheries now form able to prove ncorrect, were never willing the best, or even a good school of naval

seamanship. Now that the navies of the complaint had but slender ground of justifiworld are formed largely of steamships, often cation ; much of it pone at all. He set out armour plated, there is very little to be by alleging that it had been customary for learned in a fishing smack that would be of the British or Colonial authorities to warn use in the naval service. A fisherman will American fishermen not to trench on what learn to keep his feet in a rough sea, and will he called the technical rights of Great Britain; not be liable to be prostrated by sea sickness but that this practice had not been followed like a landsman; but he learns not much when the Parliament of the Dominion reelse that would be of use in the navy. The solved to grant no more licenses to Americans merchant marine, though an imperfect, is a to engage in our shore fisheries. This combetter school. How many British American plaint of want of notice is not a new one. It fishermen are annually drafted into the Eng- was made by Minister Everett, in 1842, lish navy? Very few at all; directly, scarcely when British rights were enforced in the Bay

? any. The habits of the fishermen are emi- of Fundy ; and it was made by Senator nently sedentary. The great majority of Mason, Chairman of the Committee on them return, year after year, when the sea- Foreign Relations, in 1852, when an extra son's venture is over, to the same spot. protective naval force of British vessels had England no longer encourages this sup- been sent to the fishing grounds. As the posed nursery for seamen by bounties : | Americans had, as far back as 1845, been Canada, of all these British Provinces, allowed the liberty of fishing in the Bay of did so, before Confederation, and her Fundy, this privilege, we may admit, should fishery never attained respectable dimen- not have been withdrawn without notice, if sions. France may gain something to her at all. There is nothing in the Canadian navy by the Newfoundland fisheries, because Fishery Act of 1867 to exempt this Bay they are largely followed by a home popula- from its purview. But the President made tion, who once a year visit their native coun- no complaint on this score ; and it is possitry. And though Daniel Webster may have ble that the fact of the prior concession had been in the right when he flattered the Am- escaped his notice, as it seems to have erican fishermen by giving them credit for escaped the notice of the Canadian Parliasuccess in naval encounters, it is

The chief reason for abolishing the doubtful whether, with the modern way of license system was that that it was not honconducting naval warfare, this will ever be estly carried out ; that for one licensed vestrue in future. As for Canada, she has not sel there were several poachers, and the yet become burthened with the cost of main- difficulty of distinguishing between the two taining a navy; and if some day, she should classes was very great. find it necessary to do so, and the fisheries Another objection made by President were as good a resource as has been alleged, Grant was that, though the treaty obligations she would be found to possess abundant of the United States were towards England, raw material for the purpose.

Canada exercised a delegated power to seize President Grant's opening message to and condemn American vessels hovering Congress, in 1870, gave rise to a suspicion within three miles of any creeks or harbours; that he had taken his tone, on the Fishery that she, an irresponsible power, exercised question, from General Butler, without going her authority harshly and with a view to proto the length of his supposed mentor ; and ducing political effect on the Government of showed a tendency to increase the number of Washington. difficult and irritating questions arising un- If the authority to seize American vessels der the Convention of 1818. His bill of l hovering in forbidden waters, were exercised

very | ment.

« AnteriorContinuar »