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to me that the consumer pays it, and then again it looks the other way. I don't want to express any opinion about it. On general principles I do not like to see high duties. The duties we have on fish were imposed at the beginning of the war, and they are too high.
Q. Your general idea is that duties should be low not only on fish but everything else? A. Yes; but I say particularly so on fish. I think the duty is altogether too high; I think $2 a barrel is too much.
Q. The Canadians desire our market, of course; that is, they desire to send in fish free. What do you think they have in Canada to give us as an equivalent; I mean for the benefit of the fishermen?-A. I think entire freedom of fisheries. Here are some figures that are authoritative. This is the weekly summary of the fish bureau, something we get every Friday. It shows the importations for the week, and, of course, the importations up to this date for the season. Here are the figures for the New England catch of mackerel to date, from the beginning of the season up to yesterday.
Q. The season beginning in March?—A. In April. The catch was 62,111 barrels; of that quantity 51,825 barrels were caught in British waters.
Q. State what you mean by "British waters."-A. I mean in the Bay of St. Lawrence.
Q. Not within the three-mile shore line?—A. Oh, no. I call it American waters from Block Island to the Bay of Fundy. The fish caught on our shore we call shore fish, though you might say, with the same propriety, "fish caught in American waters.” Of course the great bulk of these fish are caught almost in sight of Prince Edward Island.
Q. But not within the 3-mile shore line, following the sinuosities of the shore?A. They say a great many of them do go within the limits, but I never saw it done. Q. Do you think as good fish are caught within the limits?-A. About Prince Edward's Island I do not think as good fish are caught within the limit, following the coast line. This is my individual opinion, which I have formed after talking with people down there and with fishermen.
CANADIAN IDEA OF RECIPROCITY.
Q. I will ask you what their idea was as to what they had to give us in return for free fish? A. I think that if they give us free fish, fish as we have had them under the last two treaties, and also the privilege of landing fish and refitting, it would be an immense benefit to our fishermen.
Q. Simply landing and refitting?-A. Refitting and landing fish. I am speaking particularly of the mackerel fishermen landing their fish at ports like Georgetown or Charlottetown and letting them come on by steamer to Boston, and then taking their salt in barrels and going back again.
THE MOLLY ADAMS.
I had an instance that came to my knowledge last year. The captain of the Molly Adams is a famous mackerel fisherman. Last year they had the privilege from the Canadian Government of landing their fish and forwarding them, and that man sent to Boston I think some 1,500 barrels in that way, and then finally came home with his last fare. This year I think he has made but two trips, and he has had to lug his trips home, and I think he might have done just as well this year if he had that privilege that he had last year.
Q. The season has not been so good, has it?-A. There have been a good many mackerel caught down there; I think you will find when the vessels get back that the Prince Edwards Island catch will be double the quantity caught the year before.
Q. Then there is the privilege of transportation through Canada?-A. Yes; and of getting their supplies, their barrels, salt, and ice. When you come to the question of bait for fishermen frequenting ports in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, I am not so familiar with it. Quite a number of correspondents of mine in the British Provinces, notably in Nova Scotia, have been in the habit of supplying American fishermen. In
fact one man who has been in the habit of coming here every fall with his collection of fish that he has caught, and which I sell for him, said to me last fall, "Mr. Russell, what am I going to do? I have got a big ice house full of ice, and what am I going to do if your fishermen can't come in and get it?" I said, "You will manage to sell it some way; they will get in."
By Senator SAULSBURY:
Q. I want to inquire whether if an American ship had the privilege of landing her fish to be transported by railroad through Canada to the United States she could not make a better catch in a whole season than she can now, when she has to bring her fish home herself?-A. The chances are that she might quadruple her catch. A vessel can run in from the fishing grounds into Souris, the nearest harbor, within an hour and be alongside of a wharf, and in three hours more she can land the fare of mackerel she may have; perhaps it is 300 or 400 barrels. Three days afterwards those fish can be on the pier in Boston, and that vessel may not have been in harbor over three or four hours.
Q. What is the locality of the fishing ground you refer to?-A. Right off Prince Edwards Island, the northeast corner of it, and between there and Cape Breton. The fish are plenty there; they are now moving that way at this season of the year, and according to reports in the last week they have been very plentiful.
HOOK AND LINE AND SEINE.
Q. How are these fish caught?-A. By seines. Occasionally some of the vessels are fitted out this year with hooks and lines.
By Senator FRYE:
Q. What proportion of your business is with Canada?-A. I think it is about half.
TABULAR STATEMENT SHOWING WEEKLY SUMMARY OF RECEIPTS BY BOSTON DEALERS.
Q. Do you desire to make the report to which you have referred in your testimouy a part of your statement?-A. A gentleman came into my office to-day and said that some of the members of the committee here would like to have some of these reports.
Senator EDMUNDS. I think Mr. Jones gave us those.
The WITNESS. I heard Mr. Jones testify. I will leave these papers with the committee, anyway.
By Senator EDMUNDS:
Q. Was that table you have in your hand prepared by yourself?-A. No, sir; it was prepared by the secretary of the fish bureau; it is prepared every Friday, and this is what was sent to my office yesterday.
Q. That covers what period?-A. From the beginning of the fishing season up to yesterday.
The witness then submitted to the subcommittee, as part of his testimony, the following tabular statement:
The WITNESS. There is one other point: We receive from the Provinces from 500 to 1,000 barrels of codfish-a thousand may be rather high, though I don't know that it is every ten days from Newfoundland. They mostly go to New York. That is a variety of fish not made within the limits of the United States. There is scarcely any salt put on them. They are very dry and very hard, and are mostly used for ship's stores on long voyages, and for shipment to such places as Central America and Aspinwall.
By Senator FRYE:
Q. Is there any special name for them?-A. They are called Newfoundland hardcured fish, and they do not come in competition with anything that is made in this country. I have just ordered some from Halifax. Those fish will cost the man I ordered them from $4.50 a quintal. We are selling these domestic fish all the way from 23 to 31; 33 for Georges and 23 for pickled Bank.
By Senator EDMUNDS:
Q. Would it not be possible to cure fish in the same way on our coast?-A. It would be possible, but it will be one or two generations before that is done. It is only because customers have got in the way of liking these green fish that they are not cured on our coast. That is all there is to it.
Q. What is the duty on that kind of fish?-A. The same as on the other kind, half a cent a pound.
EXPORTATION OF FISH TO CANADA.
There is one other point I would like to touch upon; it may be that you have had some information in regard to it at Provincetown. I think I am safe in saying that every year up to 1882, perhaps, we have exported codfish from Boston and Provincetown, mainly from Provincetown, to Halifax, showing that there has been a higher range of prices for codfish in the Provinces than there has been in the United States. That is a fact which you can easily prove by statistics, because you can find the clearances of fish mainly from Provincetown.
Q. How would the imposition of our duties affect that?-A. They impose the same duty.
Q. Yes, but when we export there we have to pay it.-A. Yes, but there was no duty then; that was under free trade, of course.
Q. There have been no such exportations since the treaty?-A. No, sir; I think 1882 was the last.
By Senator FRYE:
Q. They imposed duty before the Washington treaty terminated, did they not?— A. There was a duty in the interim.
Q. That was in their original tariff act, was it not?-A. I think so. I think the duty they impose now is the same as ours.
By Senator EDMUNDS:
Q. Leaving the question of duty entirely out of view, how do you explain it, as a mere matter of business, that fish should be exported to the Provinces from Boston, precisely the same kind of fish that they catch and cure in the Provinces? Is it inerely because there happened to be, on account of their shipments and all that, a special order or want that they were not able to fill at that moment, or for what reason?-A. Probably the catch had not been so large as to enable them to supply all their demands.
Q. In short, their market was bare at that time?-A. Yes, they had not caught enough.
THE WEST INDIA MARKET.
The British Provinces supply all the West India markets, probably every one of them, with the exception of Haiti and San Domingo, and that trade is with the
Q. Nearly all the other markets are theirs?-A. We can send there with the same propriety that they can; it don't cost us any more; but they have had that business. Q. Do you mean that British fish go into Jamaica, for instance, at just as high a rate of duty and charge of every kind as American fish?-A. I do. Not any higher. Q. That is the way you understand it?-A. I know so. I have tried it in Jamaica, Barbadoes, Trinidad, and Demerara. Their duty is exactly the same on shipments whether from the Provinces or from the United States.
By Senator FRYE:
Q. In all of them there is a duty?-A. Yes, though it is very low in some places. By Senator EDMUNDS:
Q. So that we, with our provincial neighbors, stand on exactly the same footing?— A. Exactly the same footing; there is no difference.
TESTIMONY OF EDWIN R. DE LONG.
EDWIN R. DE LONG Sworn and examined.
BOSTON, MASS., October 2, 1886.
By Senator EDMUNDS:
Question. State your age, residence, and occupation.-Answer. I am nearly 52 years of age; reside in Boston; my business is commission business.
Q. In what?-A. In fish and general merchandise.
Q. Both salt and fresh fish?-A. Yes; largely, though, with salt fish; very little fresh fish.
Q. Are you engaged in the fishery trade as a vessel owner or anything of that sort?-A. No, sir; I am not.
Q. Who are your chief principals in your commission business?-A. At this present time the fish I deal in come largely from the Provinces
Q. Your principals, then, are Canadian dealers, vessel owners, and so on?-A. Yes.
Q. State anything that you desire to the committee.-A. We are in favor of having free fish, and I do not consider that it would be any injury to our fisheries here. A large part of the fish that are brought here from the Provinces are cured differently from our methods. Their codfish are what are called kench cured (dry cured), suitable for the West Indies trade. The fish cured in the United States are picklecured fish, and not suitable for export trade.
Q. That is to say, they are pickled in barrels or tubs aboard the vessel, and are brought here and taken out and dried?-A. They are kept in pickle until nearly the time of shipment, then taken out and given about three days' sun, which simply dries the surface. Those fish are then shipped. That one thing has done more to injure the salt-fish trade of New England than anything else that has ever happened to it, unless it is the fresh-fish trade.
Q. Is there any reason why our people can not dry them dry?-A. No reason whatever, only our fishermen pickle them, and give them about five pounds of salt instead of three. The bulk of them cured that way become sour and stinking before a great while.
Q. What is the object of pickling them in that way?-A. They want to sell as many pounds as they can.
Q. When the fish are caught by the provincial fishermen on the Banks they pickle them there in the same way, do they not?-A. No, sir; they are dry cured. The provincial people take those fish out of the hold of a vessel without putting them in pickle, but the Americans pickle them.
Q. When they are first caught on the Banks they are treated in the same way by both? A. I don't know of any other way they could treat them.
Q. But when they are carried ashore in the Provinces they are thoroughly dried?— A. Most of them. There are a few pickled fish there. A few years ago Gloucester
had all the fish. They wrote to my customers in the Provinces asking them to pickle cure there, and bring them to Gloucester instead of to Boston, and they would buy them; and there were a great many cargoes carried to Gloucester.
Q. So that the difference in the fish of the two countries is merely a difference in the treatment after they get ashore?—A. Largely; yes. The kench-cured fish, as they used to be treated fifty years ago in New England, were sweet and sound, and could be sent to the West Indies or anywhere; but by this new process they are not suitable to be exported. If they get quite dry, the first moist day that comes they will get wet; they take the moisture very quickly.
PACKING AND EXPORTING IN BOND.
Boston formerly did a very large export husiness in fish; we supplied the West Indies very largely. But by changes of the law and by allowing provincial fish to come here in competition with our pickle cured fish we have largely lost our trade. When Mr. Benjamin F. Butler was a member of Congress he got a bill passed forbidding the packing of foreign fish in bond here. The fish were brought in bulk in the vessel and carried to storehouses, and previous to that time they had been packed in bond, put into packages, and exported to the West Indies. Mr. Butler got a bill through Congress forbidding that. The effect of that has been to drive most of the West India trade down to the Provinces. We have not had the benefit of it here.
KENCH-CURED AND PICKLE-CURED FISH.
Q. But that, if I understand you correctly, really results from the circumstance that the fish are not properly treated when they get here?-A. Our American catch. Only a few years ago Provincetown or Cape Cod used to kench cure a large amount of her fish. But a man told me recently that there probably would not be this year 2,000 quintals of kench-cured fish. Gloucester has kench cured her fish for many years. Some are kench cured in Maine yet, though they are going into pickle curing, as they get the same price for 5 pounds of pickle cured as for 3 pounds of kench cured. Many people don't know the difference, and servant girls really prefer pickle cured, because they are always soft and ready to pick easily, while dry, hard fish would be hard to get ready to cook.
NATIONALITY OF THE FISHERMEN.
Q. State anything else that you desire.-A. In my dealings with the Provinces I have been made acquainted with the nationality of our crews to some extent. We have a great many orders sent us from the Provinces. These American vessels leave America with a sufficient number of men to go to the Provinces, and there they ship new men, and then after the catch they land that part of the crew before returning home. Those men that are landed down in the Provinces send orders here on the American fishing houses for their shares of the proceeds of the catch, as they fish on shares largely. So I know that a large number of men in our vessels, both masters and sailors, are simply provincial people.
Q. How can the masters be so?-A. They take out papers to become American citizens, but whether they ever complete their citizenship I do not know. Some claim to be natives of the United States when they are not. I have known a great many masters of vessels to make that claim when I knew that they came from the Provinces.
CURING AND EXPORTING FISH.
At the present time our fish are all pickle cured. There is a large export demand for fish to go to the West Indies, and we haven't got any.
Q. Why do they not take them out of pickle and dry them?-A. They would have to soak them all out again; there is so much salt in them that they can not dry them. After a fish is once pickled it is difficult to be dried properly. They claim that by soaking out the salt again it can be done, but I think they are never so good as the original kench-cured fish.
The WITNESS. Have our trade relations and the volume of trade anything to do with the subjects to be considered by your committee?
Senator EDMUNDS. Yes; everything that bears upon the general question.
The WITNESS. We ship during the year down there about $900,000 worth of goods. Q. Of all kinds?-A. Of all kinds-manufactured goods, flour, beef, pork, lard, butter, crockery ware, fishing tackle, and fishing gear. There is no place in the