BULLETIN OF THE UNITED STATES FISH COMMISSION 1885.
Resolutions Asking For The Abrogation Of The Fishery Clause Of The Washington Treaty, Passed At A Convention Of New England Fishermen Which Met At Gloucester, December 27, 1884.
Whereas, the Government of the United States, by the treaty of 1818 with Great Britain, took from the fishermen of the United States the rights guaranteed them by the treaty of 1782 to fish in all the waters bordering on the coast of the British possessions in North America, excepting a small portion of the coast of Newfoundland and the Magdalen Islands, and the right to go upon the shores thereof for the purpose of curing fish; and the right to enter the ports of the British Provinces for the purpose of procuring supplies, and without either obtaining from the British Government any equivalent for the fishermen or making any compensation to them for the rights thus summarily taken from them; and
Whereas, this surrender of our rights has been a source of great annoyance and injury to our fishermen, and our vessels have been unjustly seized by armed cruisers for alleged violations of the stipulation of the treaty by which these rights were surrendered, and these vessels have been condemned in the colonial courts without legal authority, and that to an extent to make it unsafe for our vessels to pursue their legitimate voyages, therefore it is the duty of the Government of the United States at once to take such action as will protect the fishing interests and render it safe for the fishermen to pursue their lawful business; and
Whereas, the action of the Government of the United States, by tho treaty known as the reciprocity treaty of 1854, and the Washington treaty of 1871, modified the rights of our fishermen and materially af- fected their interests, and in both treaties to their great injury, we heartily approve the action of the Government in terminating those treaties, and we are decidedly opposed to the making of any treaty with Great Britain having like provisions in relation to our fisheries. The only effect of the provisions of those treaties has been to damage our own interests and to foster and encourage those of the British Provinces; and the Government of the United States, instead of adopting a policy such as is pursued by all nations toward the fisheries, has taken from our fishermen that enconragement which for many years was given them by bounties and otherwise, and has brought our fishermen into an unjust competition with the fisheries of the British Government, which Government gives its fisheries a support which our Government withholds from ours;
We most respectfully request that the Government of the United States will take prompt action to restore to our fishermen the rights taken from them by the treaty of 1818, or provide far them a full and just compensation therefor, and that the Government will return at
once to its early policy of aiding and encouraging our fisheries, which all governments have found necessary, to secure their successful prosecution, and recognize the importance of this national industry.
Note: The convention which passed these resolutions contained 160 delegates from nearly all the fishing ports along the New England coast. Benjamin H. Corliss was chairman. The committee on resolutions consisted of Slyvester Cunningham, of Gloucester; Oscar Comstock, of New York; O.B. Whitten, of Portland; T.B. Baker, of Harwich, and Luther Maddocks, of Boothbay. Letters of sympathy were read from Senators Hoar, Dawes, and Frye, and from Congressmen Collins, Morse, and Stone.