1. Sir Edward Thornton to Mr. Fish.

Sir: In compliance with an instruction which I have received from Earl Granville, I have the honor to state that her Majesty’s government deem it of importance to the good relations which they are ever anxious should subsist and be strengthened between the United States and Great Britain, that a friendly and complete understanding should be come to between the two governments as to the extent of the rights which belong to the citizens of the United States and Her Majesty’s subjects, respectively, with reference to the fisheries on the coasts of Her Majesty’s possessions in North America, and as to any other questions between them which affect the relations of the United States toward those possessions.

As the consideration of these matters would, however, involve investigations of a somewhat complicated nature, and as it is very desirable that they should be thoroughly examined, I am directed by Lord Granville to propose to the Government of the United States the appointment of a joint high commission, which shall be composed of members to be named by each government; shall hold its sessions at Washington; and shall treat of and discuss the mode of settling the different questions which have arisen out of the fisheries, as well as all those which affect the relations of the United States toward Her Majesty’s possessions in North America.

I am confident that this proposal will be met by your Government in the same cordial spirit of friendship which has induced Her Majesty’s government to tender it, and I cannot doubt that in that case the result will not fail to contribute to the maintenance of the good relations between the two countries which I am convinced the Government of the United States, as well as that of Her Majesty, equally have at heart.

I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,


Hon. Hamilton Fish, &c., &c., &c.