§ MR. BENTINCK
said, he wished to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether any, and if any, what steps have been taken by the Government for the re-adjustment of such articles in the Convention with France of 1843 as appear to bear hardly upon our fishermen; and whether it is true that our fishing vessels frequent certain Ports in France for the sale of oysters; and whether the Convention of 1843 is not in contradiction with the Treaty of Commerce of 1860 on that point?
§ MR. LAYARD
said, he was happy to inform his hon Friend who had taken so great an interest in this subject that the Government had great hopes that some arrangement would shortly be made with the French Government for the settlement; of a matter which had been so long under discussion. He could not, of course, inform his hon. Friend of the steps which were being taken, but they entertained a sanguine hope that some settlement would be arrived at. As regarded the other part of the Question, it was true that, in the early part of last year, the French Government allowed English fishing vessels to sell their fish and oysters in the French ports, and they asked the English Government to allow the French fishermen the same privileges in this country. Our Government were disposed to do so; but it was found that they could not do so without the sanction of Parliament. Consequently they were obliged to refuse the permission, and thereupon the French Government withdrew the permission before extended to the English fishing vessels. Her Majesty's Government, however, entertain hopes that in a short time arrangements will be entered into for enabling the fishing boats of each country to sell their fish in the ports of the other. As regarded the third Question, it was true that there was an apparent contradiction in the articles of the two Treaties; but the contradiction was more apparent than real, the French Government not considering fishing vessels to come under the article of 306 the Convention of 1843, but making a distinction between vessels engaged in fishing and vessels engaged in trade. They made a distinction between vessels engaged in trading in salt fish, and vessels engaged in the capture of fish.