Mr. Wm. A. Dart to Mr. Davis
Sir: While at Prince Edward Island a few days since, I was informed by Mr. J. C. Hall, and other extensive fishermen on that island, that they were daily expecting an order to the commandants of her Majesty’s vessels cruising along that island, forbidding American fishermen the privilege, heretofore long enjoyed by American vessels, of entering its ports to dry fish, purchase supplies, and to reship their fish for ports in the United States.
On my return yesterday I received from Mr. Hall a letter and a copy of “The Patriot’’ upon that subject, which I have the honor to inclose for the information of the Department.
The fishing interests of Prince Edward Island are mainly in American hands. Mr. Hall informs me that of the twelve or fourteen thousand barrels of mackerel annually shipped from there his firm ships eight thousand barrels.
The islanders are quite largely interested in furnishing shippers with supplies of barrels, salt, provisions, &c., who will be nearly ruined by a strict enforcement of the treaty of October 20, 1818.
One of the members of the Dominion government is freely quoted in the island as having said that the government intended, by a strict enforcement [Page 423]of colonial rights, to compel a reciprocity treaty with the United States.
I agree in opinion with the editor of “The Patriot” upon the probable effect of such a policy.
I have the honor to be. very respectfully, your obedient servant,