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RECIPROCITY.

The WITNESS. Before I leave the stand I would like to state that I want reciprocity.

Q. State why you want reciprocity, what effect you think it will have upon the country, and what you mean by it; whether reciprocity in everything, or only in fish. State in your own way.- -A. I should say on fish. I think the country ought to get cheap fish, and my idea, as I have already expressed, is that the consumer must pay for the duty eventually. I believe that fish are for the poorer classes. Why, during the last two or three years, during the business depression, we have had a good business, because the fish go to the poorer classes, and I think those poorer classes have to pay the duty.

SENDING FISH TO CANADA.

We have had a trade with Canada, sending our fish into Canada from Boston, but that trade has all gone, as you may say:

Q. Where were those fish caught?–A. They were caught in our own waters; they were principally domestic fish that we sent into Canada.

Q. What is the theory of that? Why is it that weimport Canadian fish and also send to them American fish? They are all the same kind; cod, mackerel, and so on.-A. We put them up in attractive shapes. We put them into boxes under attractive brands and in shapes that make them attractive to those people. They do not know how to do it down there. They are getting on to it lately. Down there in Nova Scotia they are now supplying Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, Brockville, and towns all through Canada. These people have come up here and got into our factories and discovered our methods, and have gone back there and are now supplying their own markets with fish put up somewhat after our methods. At the same time I understand that the people in Montreal are not satisfied.

RECIPROCITY.

Q. Go on with what you were stating about the whole reciprocity question as it appears to you.--A. It seems, as I stated, that the consumer would have to pay the duties on the fish. I believe that these people have a right to ask for protection under the circumstances, because they have to pay protection prices for things that enter into the construction of their vessels. If I were in their place I suppose I should feel the same way.

But I think this is a question with reference to which we are liable to get into trouble with a friendly power. It seems to me some other way ought to be sought for protection, which would still allow us to have reciprocity. Of course, as far as we are concerned in Boston, it must be of advantage to us, because we are more distributers of fish than we are producers; that is, we do not so much fit out vessels in Boston.

Q. The larger the source of supply you have, the better it is for your business?— A. Yes.

EARLY CATCH OF MACKEREL.

By Senator SAULSBURY: Q. You spoke of canning mackerel. What is the effect of the early catching of fish down the coast? How does it affect the fish trade generally?--A. I think that in ordinary seasons it would be better for them not to go south to catch mackerel. In the first place, early in the season they are poor; it is their spawning season. There is always a demand, however, for the poorest fish; and of course the country gets the poorest fish in that way, because of the fact that they want the cheapest thing they can get. If they did not fish south early in the season, then when the mackerel come on northward they would be of better quality and fatter.

By Senator EDMUNDS: Q. And more of them, I suppose?-A. I don't know that there would be more.

Q. Would there not be more if none were caught in the spring?-A. Yes. In that way you may say more of them, and the fish that would be caught and inspected would be a better class of fish, and of course the country would have the benefit of consuming better fish. If they could not get poor fish they would take these finer brands and pay the price for them, and that would create a better demand. The consumer would like a better class of fish more; he would be better pleased with the taste and quality, and he would buy more, and there would be more used, it seems

I think that would be an advantage.

a

to me.

By Senator SAULSBURY:

Q. You say the country wants cheap fish?—A. Yes.

Q. That is, of course, the poorer classes of the country?-A. Yes.

Q. How would the abandonment of the spring fisheries affect those people in reference to the supply of fish? Would they buy the dearer fish if they could not get the cheaper?-A. Of course. The past season has been unprecedented in regard to mackerel; there has been a great scarcity along our shores. Of course codfish are different. I think that in ordinary seasons we would get good fish and enough of them, especially if we had a chance of getting codfish from Nova Scotia, too, because the fish from there would help. I think the advantages would be more than the disadvantages. Of course, in one way you would get cheaper fish, perhaps, to have the southern fish, but I think in the long run it would be better for the country not

to take those fish.

By Senator EDMUNDS:

Q. Is there as much nutrition per pound of these poor fish as per pound of good fish? A. What makes a fish good is not size, but quality. A fish 11 inches long may be better than one 15 inches long, because the larger fish, when dressed, may all dry up.

By Senator SAULSBURY:

Q. Is the price of these spring fish as dear to the consumer as of the better fish which are put up later in the season?-A. The fish are generally very cheap. They often catch large quantities of them. There are thousands, I was going to say-yes, there must be thousands-of barrels that are thrown away because they can not get price enough for them really to pay for the trouble in getting them.

Q. Then I understand you to mean that the spring fish are sold at cheaper rates than the fish caught later in the season?-A. Yes, sir. Of course they might not be; it might be that there would be so few caught then that they would bring a higher price.

By Senator FRYE:

Q. Do you think that any fish that is bearing spawn is good to eat?-A. It don't seem so to me. The herring that come to our shores are all poor; we do not get any fine ones except those that come from Nova Scotia and that section.

TESTIMONY OF THOMAS A. RICH.

BOSTON, MASS., September 30, 1886.

THOMAS A. RICH Sworn and examined.

By Senator EDMUNDS:

Q. You reside in Boston?-A. Yes, sir.

Q. What is your occupation?-A. Fish business.

Q. What is your age?-A. Fifty-nine.

Q. How long have you been in the fish business here?-A. Since 1849.

Q. Do you deal in both salt and fresh fish?-A. No, sir; salt fish altogether.

Q. Do you deal in all varieties of salt fish?-A. About all.

Q. Where do the fish you deal in come from, chiefly? Where are they caught and cured?-A. They come from New England and Nova Scotia.

Q. About what proportion comes from Nova Scotian waters?-A. That I can not say.

By Senator FRYE:

Q. What do you mean by "Nova Scotian waters"-within the 3-mile shore line? A. Oh, no; I mean the northern waters. The statistics show, I believe, that 4 per cent of mackerel were taken in Nova Scotian waters.

EFFECT OF THE ABROGATION OF THE TREATY OF 1870.

By Senator EDMUNDS:

Q. Can you tell us what has been the effect of the abrogation of the treaty of 1870 on the price of salted fish in this market?-A. As a general thing I do not think it has had any effect at all.

Q. What becomes of the question of duty that has had to be paid since?-A. I think the duty is borne by the Nova Scotians entirely; I think there is no question

about it.

Q. What makes you think so?-A. For many reasons. The price is governed by supply and demand, largely by supply. There may be one or two kinds that are possibly affected by the duty, but I do not believe that any one kind is affected to the extent of the duty. Neither do I believe, as Mr. Wrightington has stated, that the consumer pays the duty. The consumer buys of the retailer, and the price of the retailer varies very little. There is one case that I have cited a number of times which illustrates it as well as any. Last season there was a customer of ours ini Baltimore who made the inquiry particularly with this object in view in regard to retailing. Among other articles she sold—I say “she” because she is a woman-were a great many of No. 2 shore mackerel, which she sold, I think, for 25 cents-320 mackerel in a barrel is $40 a barrel. Now, it makes no difference to her in her retail busi

a ness whether she pays $6 a barrel or $12, for $10 a barrel will cover all the profit she wants. It is just about the same with every other kind of fish that is retailed.

EFFECT OF WHOLESALE PRICES UPON RETAIL. When I was in Washington last spring, with the committee from Boston before the committee of the House, there was a gentleman present-I think he was a Western Senator-taiking about cheap fish. Said he: “I can not understand this cry about cheap fish. Here we have had free fish for years, and yet I find when I go to market in the West to buy fish for my family the cheapest thing is a herring for my servant girls, and that is 124 cents a pound; and I want to know where the cheapness comes in." That illustrates what I said before—that the wholesale price of fish has very little to do with the retail price. The retail fish business is peculiar; in fact, it is all retail to the consumer, for the reason that it is largely used only on certain days. That practice has come to us from Europe. With all Catholics over here Friday is fish day, and there is always some kind of fish on the table; and everyone who has gone to sea knows that it is the same on shipboard. For that reason, as a general thing, fish do not enter into daily consumption as many other kinds of food do. So that it comes to this: That the retail dealers have only two or three days in the week when they sell many fish. This tends to make the retail price of fish excessive; more so, I think, than any other kind of goods. And it is invariably so. I know one retail fish dealer on a street close by the Tremont House whose price for halibut is 25 cents, year in and year out, no matter whether he pays 3 or 30.

Q. He takes his average?-A. He takes his average. I have looked into that thing with some care, and I do not believe that the duty affects the consumer except, as I say, once in a while on some particular article it may affect the price to the consumer slightly, but not to the amount of the duty.

SALT FISH.

Q. Do you buy these salt fish that you deal in directly from the vessels that bring them in or do you buy from dealers in the provinces?—A. The imported fish come here principally to commission merchants; in fact, you might say all of them. The opposition to the duty on fish is made in Boston principally by commission men and dealers and their friends.

CORRECTION OF MR. WRIGHTINGTON'S TESTIMONY. Right here I would say that Mr. Wrightington made the remark that I am interested in vessels, supposing that what he said was true. But he did not know. I am not. During the time of free fish we had 15 or 18 vessels. Quite a number of them we owned. We sold them all, and to-day we have not a thousand dollars interest in any vessel.

RECIPROCITY. But my opposition to reciprocity is that it is ruinous to the fish business of New England. You gentlemen can be but little aware how delicate a question that is to the fishermen of the coast-not the larger fishermen. But I will say that there are thousands of families from Block Island to Eastport, living on the islands and inlets to the coast, that never see $200 in a year, and many of them never see $150. But, with a little garden spot and with the fish that they can catch and sell and consume, they will give their children a good school education, dress them decently and comfortably, and this reciprocity question is a serious one to them. Mr. Wrightington has said that they ought to be protected in some way. That is a very strong admission. I do not think any opposer of reciprocity could make any stronger argument against it than that. They must be protected in some other way, says Mr. Wrightington. This is a serious matter to these families living on a small competence, as I have described.

By Senator SAULSBURY:
Q. You say the country wants cheap fish?-A. Yes.
Q. That is, of course, the poorer classes of the country?-A. Yes.

Q. How would the abandonment of the spring fisheries affect those people in reference to the supply of fish? Would they buy the dearer fish if they could not get the cheaper?--A. Of course. The past season has been unprecedented in rezani to mackerel; there has been a great scarcity along our shores. Of course codfish are different. I think that in ordinary seasons we would get good fish and enough of them, especially if we had a chance of getting coltish from Nova Scotia, too, because the fish from there would help. I think the advantages vould be more than the disadvantages. Of course, in one way you would yet cheaper fish, perhaps, to have the southern tish, but I think in the long run it would be better for the country not to take those fish.

By Senator EDMUNDS: Q. Is there as much nutrition per pound of these poor fish as per pound of good fish?-A. What makes a fish good is not size, but quality. A fish il inches long may be better than one 15 inches long, because the larger fish, when dressed, may all

dry up:

By Senator SAULSBURY: Q. Is the price of these spring fish as dear to the consumer as of the better fish which are put up later in the season?-A. The fish are generally very cheap. They often catch large quantities of them. There are thousands, I was going to say-yes, there must be thousands-of barrels that are thrown away because they can not get price enough for them really to pay for the trouble in getting them.

Q. Then I understand you to mean that the spring fish are sold at cheaper rates than the fish caught later in the season?-A. Yes, sir. Of course they might not be; it might be that there would be so few caught then that they would bring a higher price.

By Senator FRYE: Q. Do you think that any fish that is bearing spawn is good to eat?-A. It don't seem so to me. The herring that come to our shores are all poor; we do not get any fine ones except those that come from Nova Scotia and that section.

TESTIMONY OF THOMAS A. RICH.

Boston, Mass., September 30, 1886. THOMAS A. Rich sworn and examined.

By Senator Edmi'NDS:
Q. You reside in Boston?-A. Yes, sir.
Q. What is your occupation? - A. Fish business.
Q. What is your age?--A. Fifty-nine.
Q. How long have you been in the fish business here?- A. Since 1849.
Q. Do you deal in both salt and fresh fish?-A. No, sir; salt fish altogether.
Q. Do you deal in all varieties of salt fish?-A. About all.

Q. Where do the fish you deal in come from, chiefly? Where are they caught and cured?- A. They come from New England and Nova Scotia.

Q. About what proportion comes from Nova Scotian waters?-A. That I can not say.

By Senator FRYE: Q. What do you mean by “Nova Scotian waters"--within the 3-mile shore line? A. Oh, no; I mean the northern waters. The statistics show, I believe, that 4 per cent of mackerel were taken in Nova Scotian waters.

EFFECT OF THE ABROGATION OF THE TREATY OF 1870. By Senator EDMUNDS: Q. Can you tell us what has been the effect of the abrogation of the treaty of 1870 on the price of salted fish in this market?--A. As a general thing I do not think it has had any effect at all.

Q. What becomes of the question of duty that has had to be paid since?- A. I think the duty is borne by the Nova Scotians entirely; I think there is no question about it.

Q. What makes you think so?— A. For many reasons. The price is governed by supply and demand, largely by supply. There may be one or two kinds that are possibly affected by the duty, but I do not believe that any one kind is affected to the extent of the duty. Neither do I believe, as Mr. Wrightington has stated, that the consumer pays the duty. The consumer buys of the retailer, and the price of the retailer varies very little. There is one case that I have cited a number of times which illustrates it as well as any. Last season there was a customer of ours in Baltimore who made the inquiry particularly with this object in view in regard to retailing. Among other articles she sold I say “she” because she is a woman-were a great many of No. 2 shore mackerel, which she sold, I think, for 25 cents320 mackerel in a barrel is $40 a barrel. Now, it makes no difference to her in her retail business whether she pays $6 a barrel or $12, for $10 a barrel will cover all the profit she wants. It is just about the same with every other kind of fish that is retailed.

EFFECT OF WHOLESALE PRICES UPON RETAIL.

in."

When I was in Washington last spring, with the committee from Boston before the committee of the House, there was a gentleman present I think he was a Western Senator--taiking about cheap fish. Said he: “I can not understand this cry about cheap fish. Here we have had free fish for years, and yet I find when I go to market in the West to buy fish for my family the cheapest thing is a herring for my servant girls, and that is 124 cents a pound; and I want to know where the cheapness comes

That illustrates what I said before—that the wholesale price of fish has very little to do with the retail price. The retail fish business is peculiar; in fact, it is all retail to the consumer, for the reason that it is largely used only on certain days. That practice has come to us from Europe. With all Catholics over here Friday is fish day, and there is always some kind of fish on the table; and everyone who has gone to sea knows that it is the same on shipboard. For that reason, as a general thing, fish do not enter into daily consumption as many other kinds of food do. So that it comes to this: That the retail dealers have only two or three days in the week when they sell many fish. This tends to make the retail price of fish excessive; more so, I think, than any other kind of goods. And it is invariably so. I know one retail fish dealer on a street close by the Tremont House whose price for halibut is 25 cents, year in and year out, no matter whether he pays 3 or 30.

Q. He takes his average?--A. He takes his average. I have looked into that thing with some care, and I do not believe that the duty affects the consumer except, as I say, once in a while on some particular article it may affect the price to the consumer slightly, but not to the amount of the duty.

SALT FISH.

Q. Do you buy these salt fish that you deal in directly from the vessels that bring them in or do you buy from dealers in the provinces?–A. The imported fish come here principally to commission merchants; in fact, you might say all of them. The opposition to the duty on fish is made in Boston principally by commission men and dealers and their friends.

CORRECTION OF MR. WRIGHTINGTON'S TESTIMONY.

.

Right here I would say that Mr. Wrightington made the remark that I am interested in vessels, supposing that what he said was true. But he did not know. I am not. During the time of free fish we had 15 or 18 vessels. Quite a number of them we owned. We sold them all, and to-day we have not a thousand dollars interest in any vessel.

RECIPROCITY. But my opposition to reciprocity is that it is ruinous to the fish business of New England. You gentlemen can be but little aware how delicate a question that is to the fishermen of the coast-not the larger fishermen. But I will say that there are thousands of families from Block Island to Eastport, living on the islands and inlets to the coast, that never see $200 in a year, and many of them never see $150. But, with a little garden spot and with the fish that they can catch and sell and consume, they will give their children a good school education, dress them decently and comfortably, and this reciprocity question is a serious one to them. Mr. Wrightington has said that they ought to be protected in some way. That is a very strong admission. I do not think any opposer of reciprocity could make any stronger argument against it than that. They must be protected in some other way, says Mr. Wrightington. This is a serious matter to these families living on a small competence, as I have described.

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