No. 214.
Sir Edward Thornton to Mr. Evarts .

Sir: With reference to your note of the 20th of November last, I have the honor to transmit herewith copy of a dispatch, and of its inclosures, which I have received from the governor-general of Canada relative to the forcible removal of the American steamtug Crusader from Fairport, Dhio, to Sarnia, in Canada.

I have the honor, &c.,

[Inclosure 1.]

Governor-General Lorne to Sir Edward Thornton.

Sir: With reference to your dispatch No. 58, of the 21st November, addressed to General Sir Patrick McDougall, inclosing a copy of a note from the Secretary of State of the United States complaining of the forcible removal of the American steamtug Crusader from a United States port, when in charge of officers of justice, and carried be Port Sarnia, Ontario, I have the honor of transmitting to you herewith, for the information of the United States Government, a copy of an approved report of the privy council on the subject, to which is appended a copy of a report of the collector of customs at Sarnia, who was instructed to make full inquiries into the circumstances of the case.

I have the honor, &c.,

[Inclosure 2.]

Copy of a report of a committee of the honorable the privy council for Canada, approved by his excellency the governor-general on the 17th January, 1879.

On a report, dated January 9, 1879, from the honorable the minister of justice, having reference to the dispatch from Sir Edward Thornton, dated November 21, 1878, relating to the American steam tug Crusader, alleged to have been taken by force in a United States port from the officers of justice, in whose hands it was, and carried to Port Sarnia, in Ontario.

The minister reports that, in pursuance to a request made in that behalf, the collector of customs at Sarnia made inquiry into the circumstances of the case, and on the 7th instant reported the result of this inquiry to the commissioner of customs here. The minister recommends that a copy of the collector’s report be transmitted to Sir Edward Thornton for the information of the United States Government, and he thinks Sir Edward Thornton should be informed that this government presumes that, in view of the statements contained in that report, further action in the matter is unnecessary.

The committee concur in the foregoing minute, and recommend that a copy thereof be transmitted to Sir Edward Thornton.


Clerk Privy Council, Canada.
[Inclosure 3.]

Report of collector of customs at Sarnia.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 17th ultimo, inclosing a copy of a dispatch from the United States Secretary of State to Her Majesty’s minister at Washington, complaining of the forcible removal of the American steamtug Crusader from Fairport, Ohio, while in charge of a United States marshal, under libel for debt, and instructing me to investigate and report upon the case. I would, therefore, respectfully submit the following meager details, which, after considerable [Page 486] trouble, I was able to procure from the captain in charge of the Crusader at the time of the occurrence. He states substantially as follows, viz:

“We had run into Fairport for coal, and just as we were ready to leave a fellow came aboard claiming to be a United States deputy marshal, who took possession of the boat. I asked him to show his authority, which he refused to do, and, leaving a man in possession, he went away. I claimed that the latter party had no right on board my vessel, slipped my moorings, and left for Sarnia, calling at Windsor and Port Huron on my way up. On arrival at Sarnia I put the man on the dock.”

The above is all I could learn from the captain.

The next phase of the case seems to have been the appearance of the United States district attorney from Cleveland, who ran alongside the Crusader with a tug, intending to remove her to the American side. He, however, found that she was in the custody of a posse of Canadian sheriff’s officers, who were holding her under a process for debt incurred on “this side,” and, of course, refused to allow her to be taken away. Considerable altercation ensued, during which the United States attorney made an attempt to draw a revolver, whereupon he was disarmed by the bystanders and brought before the mayor of the town on a charge of carrying concealed weapons. He was, however, released, and, after settling the claims of the creditors, in whose behalf the sheriff was in possession of the boat, she was quietly delivered over, all parties (the owner included) consenting, and taken to Detroit. In point of fact, the whole matter has been amicably arranged, and the parties to the squabble are, apparently, the best of friends.

I have, &c.,

  • J. Johnson, Esq.,
    Commissioner of Customs, Ottawa.