No. 257.
Mr. Bayard to Mr. Willard.

Sir: Your telegram of the 3d, and your letter of the 7th instant, stating the seizure at Shelburne, Nova Scotia, by the local authorities of that port, of the schooner George W. Gushing, were duly received.

Before the receipt of either, news of this seizure had been received by this Department and instant instructions had been sent to the consul-general at Halifax to proceed to Shelburne and obtain full knowledge of all the facts and make full report to this Department of the cause of such seizure, and the nature of the complaint upon which such proceeding were founded.

In the absence of such authentic information it is impossible for this Department to take any action, or to give you advice.

As the contents of your telegram and letter disclose, you are well aware that questions are now pending between this Government and that of Great Britain in relation to the just definition of the rights of American fishing vessels in the territorial waters of British North America.

I shall relax no effort to arrive at a satisfactory solution of the difficulty, and in the mean time it is the duty and manifest interest of all American citizens entering Canadian jurisdiction to ascertain and obey the laws and regulations there in force.

For all unlawful deprivation of property or commercial rights this Government will expect to procure due redress and compensation for the innocent sufferers.

Very respectfully, yours,