[Enclosure in No. 976.]
SIR E. THORNTON TO THE EARL OF DERBY.
Oct. 26th 1874.
On the 19th of June last Mr. Fish addressed me a note enquiring whether Labrador formed part of the Dominion of Canada, although he was under the impression that it was politically attached to Newfoundland. He also asked whether any part of Labrador was separated either from the Dominion of Canada or from Newfoundland.
Without knowing what might be the precise object of this enquiry, I forwarded it to the Governor General of Canada. During His Excellency's absence from Ottawa, Mr. Watson, H.M. Charge d'Affaires received on the 11th of July a telegram from Mr. Scott, Canadian Secretary of State, to the effect that the Boundary Line between Labrador, is a line drawn due North and South from the Bay or Harbour of Ance Sablon inclusive as far as the 52nd degree of North Latitude. The telegram referred to the Imperial Statutes 6 Geo. IV, Cap 59 and further stated that Labrador is under the jurisdiction of Newfoundland.
As the above mentioned Statute was not to be found at this Legation, and as Mr. Watson was led to expect a further written communication upon the subject he deferred answering Mr. Fish's enquiry.
But on the 27th of July Mr. Fish addressed a note to Mr. Watson expressing his anxiety to receive an answer as to the exact political relations of Labrador to the Dominion of Canada on account of cases that had arisen in the Treasury Department, the decision of which would depend in a measure upon Mr. Watson's reply.
The latter then at once communicated to Mr. Fish the contents of Mr. Scott's above mentioned telegram informing him at the same time that he would also convey to him the contents of a Despatch which he expected from Lord Dufferin as. soon as he received it.
But no such despatch reached Mr. Watson and on the further application of Mr. Cadwalader, Acting Secretary of State, the former addressed another Despatch to Lord Dufferin on the 15th instant asking that the necessary information might be forwarded without delay so that it might be communicated to the United States Government.
It was only on my arrival at Washington that I learned from
Mr. Cadwalader that these enquiries had reference to cargoes of fish which were arriving from Labrador and with respect to which the Treasury Department doubted whether they could be admitted free of duty under the Treaty of May 8, 1871, as coming either from the Dominion of Canada or the Colony of Newfoundland. I must however acknowledge that there seemed to be a desire on the part of Mr. Cadwalader at least to receive some statement from me which would enable the Treasury Department to decide that fish from the Coast of Labrador should be admitted duty free.
Fortunately Lord Dufferin yesterday paid a visit of a few hours to Washington when I stated the case to him. In reply His Excellency authorized me to inform Mr. Fish that Labrador is under the jurisdiction of Newfoundland and is included in and forms part of that Colony. I at once communicated this statement to Mr. Fish in a note and the latter subsequently told me that he had forwarded my note to the Secretary of the Treasury, to whom he did not doubt that it would be satisfactory. I trust therefore that no further difficulty will be raised as to the free admission of fish from Labrador, one cargo of which is at this moment waiting for entry at New York.
I have &c.
The Earl of Derby
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