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we had only one or two, or perhaps three, in 1881, and one in 1882; those are all the vessels we had there to take mackerel in those years. It is very apparent, therefore, that only in such exceptional years as this, 1886, for instance, the gulf fishery is of any value to us. Last year there were some 405,000 barrels of mackerel taken, and only some 26,000 taken in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, only about 6,000 of which were taken inside of the 3 miles. In regard to the taking within 3 miles, I will state that some few years ago I suggested to the Treasury Department the propriety of issuing a circular to the collectors of ports calling upon them to procure from the captains of vessels statements as to where their fish were procured and how many were taken within and how many without the 3 miles. Those statements should be on the files of the Department now. If so, they are correct, and will show very clearly just the amount of mackerel taken within and without the limit.
VALUE OF FISH AS COMPARED WITH COST OF TAKING.
In listening to the evidence to-day I did not hear any of the fitters or captains of vessels state anything as to the relative value of the fish as compared with the expense of producing them. There is but little doubt-and compilations have been made by various fishermen here in Gloucester-taking into consideration the wear and tear, insurance, a fair rate of wages for the crews, and other expenses, and selling the fish at a fair valuation, that the product of the fish, taken as a whole, will amount to any more than the expenditures. Fish, like any other raw material, are valueless in the ocean until caught. There is another point in connection with this subject which it may be well to consider as bearing upon treaties, and that is this: Take a factory, for instance, or a farm, or almost any other kind of business, and we will find that with a certain amount of material we will have certain results. But we are not sure of results in the fishing business. There is no certainty attached to it. It is a precarious business. And as regards Canada being able to deliver anything to us, the fish are not there permanently; they are inside the 3-mile limit to-day and to-morrow they are 20 or 40 miles off. Then, again, it costs Canada nothing to produce the fish. They are not property in hand. The Canadians can not agree to deliver any amount; and being such an uncertain quantity, it seems to me that it would be impossible to measure the value of their inshore fisheries, and impossible that they could give any sort of statistics by which we could be assured of any adequate and certain return for anything we might pay for privileges. When I was before the Halifax commission I found that the general impression on the part of the English managers was that by the increase of duties we would certainly increase the price of the mackerel. The assertion was broadly made that if we added $10 to the duties on mackerel we should actually add that amount to the price to the
AVERAGE PRICE OF MACKEREL UNDER DIFFERENT TREATIES.
As that matter has come before the committee, I would say that I have a table, that I compiled myself from the best authenticated sources, of the prices of mackerel. For twelve years, from 1842 to and including 1853, the duties were $2 in gold per barrel, and mackerel, Nos. 1, 2, and 3, averaged $10.42, $7.56, and $5.06, respectively. Under the reciprocity treaty for thirteen years the gold value was $13.57 for No. 1, $9.76 for No. 2, and $6.37 for No. 3. The average prices for the period between the termination of reciprocity and the treaty of Washington were $14.16 for No. 1, $8.31 for No. 2, and $6. 24 for No. 3. The prices for the period from the treaty of Washington to the present time have averaged per barrel $14.98 for No. 1, $8.37 for No. 2, and $5.85 for No. 3.
That will show that the duties that have been imposed under our tariff laws have not had the effect to raise the prices at all. Supply and demand has been the governing cause, as is distinctly shown this year.
LEGISLATION SHOULD BE IN THE INTEREST OF THE PRODUCER. I wish to make this point very strongly: that Gloucester represents the producing interest. The fish that are sold from the vessels in Gloucester net the fishermen from a half cent, perhaps, up to 2 or 24 cents a pound. Any future legislation affecting the prices between producer and consumer ought to apply to the wholesale merchant, the retailer, and the transportation company, rather than to the producirg fishermen, who earns less than $300 a year, for it would be a hardship to put him in connection with the details of a trade ihat might affect him unfavorably, perhaps, in certain seasons, and give a wrong impression as to the cause of the high price the distant consumer may have to pay for his fish.
UNCERTAINTY OF THE FISHING BUSINESS UNDER CONGRESSIONAL LEGISLATION. When we have a treaty of reciprocity with Canada we simply give them a guaranty for twenty years—I think that is the time proposed in the alleged treaty that has appeared in the newspapers—that they can pursue their business and know what time they have before them, and what they are going to do. But take the case in the United States. We have no guaranty here, only from Congress to Congress of any certainty of the perpetuity of our fishing business; our vessel owners, who have their money invested in vessels, have no guaranty whatever from the United States Government of the perpetuity of their business. Our foreign trade has almost gone from us.
The men who compose the crews largely of the vessels engaged in that trade are not the men who emigrate to this country and stay here; they may almost be said to constitute a population with no nationality, giving their allegiance to the best price paid for their service.
OUR NAVY TO BE RECRUITED FROM OUR FISHERMEN.
The United States to-day, as a consequence, has no proper material from which to create a navy except that now engaged in the fishing business. The value of the fisheries as a basis for a navy is sustained by all history of maritime nations, and would receive the indorsement of every experienced officer in our own Navy.
LACK OF CONFIDENCE IN THE FISHING BUSINESS.
If Gloucester, Newburyport, Beverly, Salem, or any of these towns along the coast where I have been, could only have a guaranty from the United States Government that their business could be pursued without interference, and that they could have the market of the United States without being subjected to onerous competition, they would feel that it would afford them a reasonable profit, and it would tend largely to inspire confidence in them and increase the business. Confidence is the great thing that is needed to-day. I know the anxiety of our people. I know how they have felt here for years, and of course I can speak understandingly of this matter. I do not know what can be done, unless Congress should pass a law, if possible to do so—I do not know, but hope it can be done--that for the future the United States will regard all these fisheries as belonging exclusively to ourselves, and they are not to be made the subject of treaty negotiations with any nation. We have our organizations and associations for the protection of things on shore, but at the same time the Government is not expending a single cent for the benefit of these seafaring men. Our coasting trade has never been subject to the competition of foreigners. The fisheries should be placed upon the same basis, and from them both would be constituted a marine force equal to every emergency of peace or war.
BOUNTIES TO FISHERMEN.
There is no class of men so well trained for the sea as these fishermen, and there is no other nation any consequence in the world that has not for years paid and is now paying its fishermen a bounty in some form. Canada is paying, out of the interest on the $5,500,000 paid her by our Government, and will continue to pay, a bounty to her fishermen of $5 or $10 each. She pays out annually to her fishermen in bounties something like $200,000 or $300,000. She has some 60,000 men who are available to England as sailors in case of war, and upon those men England can draw to recruit her navy. As has been stated to-day, these young men who come here from the Provinces you find young, able, and willing to work. It would cost at least $2,000 to raise any one of those young men here, but by their coming we gain splendid seamen without cost, and England loses them.
By Senator EDMUNDS: Q. If they do not get naturalized after coming here we do not secure their services in case of war with England. --A. Of course we know that no man can command an American vessel unless he is naturalized.
SERVICES OF THE FISHERMEN IN CASE OF WAR.
Q. You are speaking of the value of this fishing education in case of war. If they are not naturalized American citizens of course they could not fight against their own country, no matter how long they had been catching fish for us.-A. That is true; but they do get naturalized; that is almost a necessity; the best men among them are those who naturally aspire to command vessels, and it is a necessity for them to become naturalized in order to have their ambition satisfied in that regard.
RIGHTS OF FISHERMEN UNDER THE TREATIES.
I suppose the committee are versed in the nature of the papers issued by the United States to our vessels. I have with me here, for the consideration of the committee, what is called a shipping paper, that simply shows the manner in which the men ship on board our vessels. I have also a permit to touch and trade. As we are now acting under the treaty of 1818, it is very apparent that we bave our rights there on that coast, under that treaty, to go in for wood, water, and shelter. Now, I claim that Canada has no right to abridge any of our rights under that treaty by passing any law, customs or otherwise, nor has she any right to impose penalties for alleged violations of such laws, when our vessels are doing nothing more than they have the right to do under the guarantees of that treaty.
Q. Do you not think the British have a fair right to make proper and reasonable regulations in respect of vessels of this character, in order to distinguish them from trading vessels that might be engaged in smuggling, for instance?-A. I consider that they would have a right to make all proper and necessary inspections through their local officers, but I do not think they have a right to impose any such regulation upon our vessels as will oblige them to report their arrival immediately to a custom-house which may be five or ten miles away, subject to a fine of $400 if they fail to do so. That question was discussed in the argument between Mr. Evarts and Lord Salisbury in the Fortune Bay case. Lord Salisbury was at that time at the head of the English Government, and he resisted Mr. Evarts's claim. Afterwards, however, when Mr. Gladstone came into power, the demand was acceded to, and $75,000 indemnity was paid. In the course of his argument in that case Mr. Evarts maintained vigorously that no local law of the Dominion or of Newfoundland could in any way impair the rights of our vessels hy imposing any disabilities upon them when acting in conformity with the terms of the treaty.
Q. Does not the treaty provide that they may make reasonable regulations?-A. Such regulations as shall prevent them from abusing the privilege.
Q. Then the question becomes, What is reasonable under the circumstances?-A. Yes.
By Senator SAULSBURY: Q. Who is to judge of that?-A. The United States and Great Britain, who are the supreme powers and who agreed to that treaty--not the Dominion. They have, however, put their own construction upon it. In former years, under the permit to touch and trade, any fishing vessel could go into a Canadian port, and if she had failed to get a full trip, or had any other reason for so doing, she might partially load with oats, potatoes, or other products of those provinces, and there was no question whatever in regard to it. We acquired no commercial rights whatever by the treaty of Washington (simply the right to take fish within 3 miles of the shore). The laws of Canada were the same then as now; we had the treaty right to fish within her jurisdiction; we now, under the treaty of 1818, go in for wood, water, and shelter.
If it is necessary now to report at the custom-house to show the character of our business when we go for shelter, why not then when we went to fish or to buy bait? The treaty of 1818 had been in existence sixty-eight years, and our vessels have exercised their treaty rights under it without customs interference until now. There is a reason for this sudden action. Under the treaty of Washington we received no commercial privileges whatever. They had just as much right to impose these regulations making it necessary for our vessels to report, or to refuse to recognize the authority of the United States as exhibited in permits to touch and trade, as they have now. But this is used at present for a purpose-to force us into a reciprocity treaty. There is no question whatever about it. Their parliamentary debates show it. The United States has provided that a vessel with a fishing license has a right to have a permit to touch and trade, and with such a permit she has a right to go into a foreign port, to a Dominion port, and there and then exercise the same rights that she would have under a register.
Q. She becomes for that purpose a trading vessel?-A. If the captain of a vessel sees fit to change the character of his voyage by the operation of that paper he can, and when he returns to the United States he will have to pay entrance fees and tonnage dues as he would have to do under a register. If he does not use his permit to touch and trade it has no effect whatever. At the same time vessels which have such permits have a perfect right to go in and buy. The Dominion of Canada, however, has said that she would not recognize this authority of the United States, and it has been set at defiance, and our Government has made no remonstrance. I have made every endeavor I could as an individual to get some definition of the rights of our people in this respect, but have never yet been able to do it from the present Administration.
The act of Canada in refusing American vessels having proper authority from the United States to traile in foreign ports (viz, a permit to touch and trade) is absolute nonintercourse and should be regarded as such by our Government.
THE HERRING FISHERY.
The herring fishery is pursued almost entirely as a mercantile transaction. Our vessels go there and buy the herring, or hire men to catch them. If that fishing should fail the inhabitants would have to starve. In the course of my visits to the Dominion I have learned that along those coasts the inhabitants for years and years have had aid from the Government, and that the entering of our vessels to buy bait was a consideration of great value to the poor fishermen along the coast. So far as the taking of herring is concerned it is of no real value to our people. It is fully as economical to pay the local operative fishermen for the herring as it is to take them ourselves. Therefore, as a practical fishery, herring, as we obtain them, can not be considered as a fishery, and can have no measure of value as a fishery concession.
VALUE OF THE INSHORE FISHERIES.
Q. You speak of the inshore fisheries; I think there is a very general concurrence of testimony that has been elicited before us to the effect that the inshore fisheries are of very little value to our fishermen. Have you any means of ascertaining what their value is to the Canadian people? I understand that their fishermen go out in the day and return at night. Is it a valuable fishery to that class of Canadians who live along the coast?—A. Not of great value. I think it is but a very few years ago that an American located on Prince Edward Island offered to sell his whole establishment, consisting of wharves, warehouses, boats, and everything of the kind, for about $3,000. He gave up the business himself and went away.
FISHING AND FARMING.
The Prince Edward Island people and some of the people along the shores Nova Scotia do some farming. They can raise turnips, oats, buckwheat, and potatoes, and can also go out tishing from the shores, and thus alternate their farm work to yome extent with fishing.
Q. Is there a large number of fishermen engaged in that alternate occupation? A. Yes, quite a number.
EXTENT OF THE FISHERIES.
Q. I wanted to secure an estimate of the value put upon these fisheries by Canada.A. In making up what might be called the statistics of the Atlantic fisheries at present I have consuited the census reports of 1880. According to that census the fishery industries of the United States employed about 130,426 persons, of whom 101,684 were fishermen.
The Canadian valuation is as follows:
Extent and value of the Canadian fisheries.
Ottawa, Ontario, May 28, 1886.
59, 493 Number of vessels.
1, 117 Number of boats
28, 472 Value of vessels
$2,021, 633 Value of boats..
852, 257 Value of nets, etc
1, 219, 264 Total value of the fishing plant
6, 697, 460 Total yield of the fisheries, 1885..
17, 702, 973
NATIONALITY OF THE FISHERMEN.
In the matter of the nationality of the fishermen we find that the number of foreign fishermen in the l'nited States, according to the report of Prof. G. Brown Goode—and Professor Goode was very thorough indeed in ascertaining all the facts
S. Doc. 231, pt 5-50
connected with his census report-excluding the 5,000 negroes and 8,000 Indians and Eskimo, those who were considered not to be native born, did not exceed 10 to 12 per cent of the whole number. That is the official report.
I do not know what other points there may be in regard to which the committee may desire information; but if there is any question you wish to ask I shall be very happy indeed to answer it if I can.
By Senator FRYE: Q. Did you see the returns where it had been undertaken to ascertain what proportion of the fish were taken inside the 3-mile shore line?-A. Yes.
Q. Do you know what they showed?—A. They showed a very small percentage, indeed; not more than one-eighth or one-tenth of the catch in the Gulf.
Q. That is, out of the whole catch in the Gulf not more than one-eighth or onetenth was taken within the 3 miles?-A. Yes.
THE HEADLAND QUESTION.
The question of the headlands is, of course, one that is, I think, of national importance. Our rights should be settled by the United States asserting and maintaining some position. Our fishermen have been uncertain as to their rights in many cases on account of the lack of any position having been taken by our Government with reference to their rights in those waters, and where there have been disputes our fishermen have had trouble on that account.
SEIZURE OF A VESSEL AT SHELBURNE.
A very short time ago a report was forwarded to the State Department through Mr. Steele, the president of the Fisheries Union, in regard to a seizure at Shelburne. I made the report for the captain, who told me that he went into Shelburne Harbor last March, and when he anchored off the quay they seized his vessel, when he had only been in twenty-four hours without reporting to the custom-house. He went in at 3 o'clock at night. The practice here in Gloucester has been that if vessels are here but twenty-four hours they are never expected to make any direct report to the custom-house; if they make a report to the boarding officer it will be sufficient, as per Customs Regulations, and in case of stress of weather it has never been considered right to force vessels to enter when putting into the outer harbor for shelter only. The customs laws of the United States are enforced upon the basis of common sense and cominon humanity.
THE HEADLAND QUESTION. By Senator SAULSBURY: Q. Has there been any claim asserted, practically, by the British Government, which sought to exclude our people from a line drawn from headland to headland, where it was more than 3 miles from shore?-A. There never has been, except up to the time of the correspondence between Lord Aberdeen and Mr. Everett (May 10, 1845) in regard to that matter. The English Government withdrew from its first position on that question, but has never abandoned the claim.
Q. My question is, whether there has been any practical attempt to exclude our fishing vessels from a line drawn from headland to headland, where such a line would be more than 3 miles from the shore?- A. Not at all, so far as I know. It has been reported in newspapers that our vessels have been excluded this year from the Bay of Chaleur.
PRICES OF FISH TO THE CONSUMER.
By Senator FRYE: Q. In this matter of fish, I take it that the fishermen alone deal with the wholesalers; that they sell alone to the wholesalers?-A. This shipping paper which I have brought for your inspection will show you the form in which the fishermen ship on board the vessels, and also authorize the disposal of their fish.
Q. That is not the question. To whom do the fishermen sell?—A. The fish are generally sold by the owner of the vessel.
Q. I mean the owner of a fishing vessel; to whom does he sell?-A. To men who are buying-wholesalers.
Q. You do not get at what I am after. The dealings between the men who take the fish and the meu who buy are between the owners of the fishing vessels and the wholesalers, are they not?--A. They are.