No. 318.
Mr. Bayard to Mr. Phelps .

No. 625.]

Sir: I transmit herewith for your information copies of recent correspondence relative to the case of the Sarah H. Prior, one of the fishery cases.

I am, etc.,

T. F. Bayard.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 625.]

Mr. Prior to Mr. Bayard .

Dear Sir: I received the inclosed letter to-day and thought best to forward it to you for your perusal and advice. It is in regard to the seine belonging to the schooner Sarah H. Prior. The seine was lost off Malpeque and picked up by a British schooner and brought into Malpeque, where the Prior was lying. They refused to deliver it up after the captain of the Prior had offered to pay salvage on it. I sent you a sworn affidavit last November of the facts in the case. Please let me know when you think it best to enter a claim for damage. Hoping to hear from you at your earliest convenience,

I remain, etc.,

P. H. Prior.

P. S.—Please let me know what steps to take in regard to answering the inclosed letter.

P. H. P.
[Inclosure to inclosure 1 in No. 625.]

Messrs. P. H. Prior & Son,
Boston, Mass.:

Sirs: In October last Captain Wolf of the British schooner John M. Inglis delivered to me a wrecked seine which he had picked up at sea. It had the name “Sarah H. Prior” printed somewhere about it. As receiver of wrecks for this district I made the necessary advertisement here and at Ottawa, where the head department is, but before I could ascertain who the owner was winter had set in and nothing could be done.

[Page 478]

I had the some nicely salted and secured for the winter, It is now in as good condition as when it was brought here. I have now to ask if you are the real owners of this property, and if so, what disposition you wish me to make of it, whether you wish to pay the salvage, $25, and some other charges, and have the property shipped to-you by steamer or have it kept here until your vessel calls. Something must be done with it soon. I have had it overhauled this spring, and it appears in good condition, except of course the tearing. The purseline, etc., are with it, and it should be worth more than the charges against it.

Will you kindly advise, me by return mail what your wishes are in the matter, and oblige,

Yours, etc.

M. J. Foley,
Receiver of Wrecks.
[Inclosure 2 in No. 625.]

Mr. Bayard to Mr. Prior .

Sir: Your letter of the 13th instant ill relation to the claim preferred by you because of the alleged refusal of the commander of the Canadian cruiser Critic to permit the restoration to your fishing vessel, the Sarah H. Prior, of a valuable seine lost at sea and carried into Malpeque by a Canadian vessel, has been received.

As you were informed, by my letter of January 28 last, your original complaint of December 28, 1886, with the accompanying affidavit of the captain and crew of the Sarah H. Prior purporting to set forth the facts of the case, was laid before Her Britannic Majesty’s minister at this capital. My note and Sir Lionel West’s acknowledgment thereof are printed on pages 7 and 8 of the inclosed executive document.

I am now in receipt of Sir Lionel’s reply, covering an approved report of a committee of the Dominion privy council, of which a copy is inclosed for your information.

The question appears to have been one of compliance with the usual wreckage and salvage laws, and wholly disconnected from international right and duty.

The sworn statements of the master of the Sarah H. Prior as to the refusal of the commander of the Critic to permit the restoration of the seine are controverted.

It is alleged that, on the regular course of proceedings for the recovery of his property through the receiver of wrecks being pointed out to Captain McLaughlin, the latter “then said that as the seine was all torn to pieces, he would not bother himself about it”

It appears, from the letter addressed to you, May 2, by Mr. M. J. Foley, receiver of wrecks at Souris, Prince Edward Island, and which you send to me for my information, that the seine in question, after proper care during the winter, is still at your disposal on payment of the adjudged salvage, $25. This sum, it may be noted, is that which Captain McLaughlin offered in the first instance to pay to the master of the John Ingalls.

Inasmuch as the rights of salvage, are private rights, to be settled in judicial forums, and as no obstacle now exists, or appears to have at any time existed, to the recovery of your lost property by institution of a suit in the usual form, I am unable to discover any connection between the subject-matter of your complaint and any treaty of the United States with Great Britain, or ground for Government interposition.

Wreck-master Foley’s letter is herewith returned to you, a copy being retained on file with your letter.

I am, etc.,

T. F. Bayard.