to Mr. Phelps
Washington , February 1, 1887.
Sir: I received on the 29 th ultimo a reply* from the British minister at this capital to my notes to him on the 19th and 20th of October last, relative to the cases of the American fishing vessels Pearl Nelson and Everett Steele.
The note of Sir Lionel West serves only to inclose the communication of the Marquis of Lansdowne to Mr. Stanhope. Whilst the letter of Lord Lansdowne proceeds upon the assumption of grounds never accepted by this Government as the basis of discussion of the rights of our fishermen, and fails to admit the obvious and essential right of American fishermen to resort for purposes not abusive of the ancient privileges guaranteed by the treaty of 1818, in the Canadian bays and harbors, yet I am glad to see that the tone of his discussion indicates the growth of a disposition to consider the case of the American fishermen in a more friendly light than heretofore in the discussions of the past season.
The letters will be communicated to Congress as supplementary to the information heretofore laid before them by the President.
I am, etc.,