No. 262.

Mr. Thornton to Mr. Fish.

Sir: I had the honor to receive yesterday your note of the 8th instant relative to an apparent discrepancy between the instructions issued by Vice-Admiral Wellesley, inclosed in my note of the 3d instant, and those given by the admiralty to him, which accompanied my note of the 26th ultimo. You are, however, quite right in not doubting that Admiral Wellesley, on the receipt of the later instructions addressed to him on the 5th ultimo, will have modified the directions to the officers under his command so that they may be in conformity with the views of the admiralty. In confirmation of this I have since received a letter from Vice-Admiral Wellesley, dated the 30th ultimo, informing me that he had received instructions to the effect that officers of her Majesty’s ships employed in the protection of the fisheries should not seize any vessel unless it were evident, and could be clearly proved, that the offense of fishing had been committed and the vessel itself captured within three miles of land.

I avail myself at the same time of the opportunity to point out to you, in compliance with an instruction which I have received from the Earl of Clarendon, that the circular of the 16th ultimo of your honorable colleague, the Secretary of the Treasury, respecting the Canadian in-shore fisheries, may lead to future misunderstanding, inasmuch as it limits the maritime jurisdiction of the Dominion of Canada to three marine miles from the shores thereof, without regard to international usage, which extends such jurisdiction over creeks and bays, or to the stipulations of the treaty of 1818, in which the United States renounce the right of fishing within three miles, not of the coast only, but of the bays, creeks, or harbors of her Britannic Majesty’s dominions in America.