No. 269.

Mr. Oscar Malmros to Mr. Davis.

No. 20.]

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch No. 20, and to state in answer that after thorough investigation I have come to the conclusion that American fishing vessels have not entered this port, prior to date of the late reciprocity treaty, for the purpose of leaving fish in bond, and afterward reshipping them, or for any other purpose but that of obtaining wood, water, or shelter, and of being repaired. I have, however, been informed that our fishing vessels were in the habit, prior to the date of that, treaty, of entering the port of Charlotte Town, Prince Edward Island, in order to purchase supplies and to leave fish in bond to be subsequently reshipped.

According to general report, our fishing vessels were also in the habit at that time of buying provisions, and even lead and salt, at different points in the Strait of Can so, but could not leave their fish in bond, there being no port of entry established in the strait before the date of the reciprocity treaty.

The local laws of the province, in force at the time referred to, in regard to bonded warehouses, do not prohibit the landing of fish in [Page 428]bond for reshipment. Whether the local laws, concerning in-shore fisheries prior to the date of the reciprocity treaty, contain any provisions pretending to interpret the convention of 1818, 1 am as yet unable to say, as the revised statutes of Nova Scotia do not enumerate obsolete or repealed laws, and as the session laws that I have so far been able to collect, going back to 1840, do not contain acts referring to the subject.

The best lawyers in the country have no knowledge of any local legislation on the subject, nor of any prosecutions against our fishing vessels, except for alleged fishing within the prohibited boundary.

I shall not remit my exertions to obtain fuller information, and to make a supplementary report at the earliest day practicable.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,