No. 263.

Mr. Fish to Mr. Thornton.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 11th instant, in which you confirm my impression that Admiral Wellesley will have modified the directions to the officers under his command engaged in the protection of the Canadian fisheries, so that they [Page 422]shall be in conformity with the views of the admiralty, and in which you point out, under instructions from the lamented Earl of Clarendon, that the circular of the 16th ultimo, issued by the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States, respecting the Canadian in-shore fisheries, may lead to further misunderstanding, inasmuch as it limits the maritime jurisdiction of the Dominion of Canada to three marine miles, from the shores thereof.

In view of the claims heretofore presented by her Majesty’s government, and which, as it contends, are supported by the law of nations and the stipulations of the treaty of 1818, as to the extent of British maritime jurisdiction in the waters in which the fisheries are prosecuted on the eastern coast of North America, the President is pleased to recognize in the tenor of the dispatches and instructions which have been addressed by her Majesty’s government to the Canadian authorities and to Admiral Wellesley a generous spirit of amity, which is reciprocated by the United States. Animated by that spirit, he directs that her Majesty’s government be informed that the description of the limit of Canadian maritime jurisdiction contained in the circular in question, and which was adopted before this Government was made acquainted with the nature of the instructions which it was proposed by her Majesty’s government to issue, was used for the sake of brevity in expressing the interpretation which has been heretofore placed upon the first article of the treaty of 1818 by this Government, and not with the expectation of renewing a controversial discussion upon the subject, which, under present circumstances, he would sincerely deprecate.