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1.- CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN MR. FISH AND SIR EDWARD

THORNTON RELATIVE TO THE FORMATION OF A HIGH
COMMISSION.

1. Sir Eduard Thornton to Mr. Fish.

WASHINGTON, January 26, 1871. SIR: In compliance with an instruction which I have received from Earl Granville, I have the honor to state that her Majesty's government deem it of importance to the good relations which they are ever anxious should subsist and be strengthened between the United States and Great Britain, that a friendly and complete understanding should be come to between the two governments as to the extent of the rights which belong to the citizens of the United States and Her Majesty's subjects, respectively, with reference to the fisheries on the coasts of Her Majesty's possessions in North America, and as to any other questions between them which affect the relations of the United States toward those possessions.

As the consideration of these matters would, however, involve investigations of a somewhat complicated nature, and as it is very desirable that they should be thoroughly examined, I am directed by Lord Granville to propose to the Government of the United States the appointment of a joint high commission, which shall be composed of members to be named by each government; shall hold its sessions at Wasbiugton; and shall treat of and discuss the mode of settling the different questions which have arisen ont of the fisheries, as well as all those which affect the relations of the United States toward Her Majesty's possessions in North America.

I am confident that this proposal will be met by your Government in the same cordial spirit of friendship which has induced Her Majesty's government to tender it, and I cannot doubt that in that case the result will not fail to contribute to the maintenance of the good relations between the two countries wbich I am convinced the Government of the United States, as well as that of Her Majesty, equally have at heart.

I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,

EDWARD THORNTON. Hon. HAMILTON FISH, &c., &c., &c.

2. Mr. Fish to Sir Edward Thornton,

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, January 30, 1871. Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of January 26, in which you inform me, in compliance with instructions from Earl Granville, that Her Majesty's government deem it of importance to the good relations which they are ever anxious should subsist and be strengthened between the United States and Great Britain, that a friendly and complete understanding should be come to between the two governments as to the extent of the rights which belong to the citizens of the United States and Her Majesty's subjects, respectively, with reference to the fisheries on the coast of Her Majesty's possessions in North America, and as to any other questions between them which affect the relations of the United States toward those possessions; and, further, that as the consideration of these questions would involve in. vestigations of a somewhat complicated nature, and as it is very desirable that they should be thoroughly examined, you are directed by Lord Granville to propose to the Government of the United States the ap. pointment of a joint high commission, which shall be composed of members to be named by each government; shali hold its sessions at Washington; and shall treat of and discuss the mode of settling the different questions which have arisen out of the fisheries, as well as all those which affect the relations of the United States toward Her Majesty's possessions in North America.

I have laid your note before the President, who instructs me to say that be shares with Her Majesty's government the appreciation of the importance of a friendly and complete understanding between the two governments with reference to the subjects specially suggested for the consideration of the proposed joint high commission, and he fully recognizes the friendly spirit which has prompted the proposal.

The President is, however, of the opinion that without the adjustment of a class of questions not alluded to in your note, the proposed bigh commission would fail to establish the permanent relations and the sincere, substantial, and lasting friendship between the two governments which, in common with Her Majesty's government, he desires should prevail.

He thinks that the removal of the differences which arose during the rebellion in the United States, and which have existed since then, grow. ing out of the acts committed by the several vessels which have given rise to the claims generically known as the “Alabama” claims, will also be essential to the restoration of cordial and amicable relations between the two governments. He directs me to say that, should Her Majesty's government accept this view of this matter, and assent that this subject also may be treated of by the proposed high cominission, and may thus be put in the way of a final and amicable settlement, this Govern. ment will, with much pleasure, appoint high commissioners on the part of the United States, to meet those who may be appointed on behalf of Her Majesty's government, and will spare no efforts to secure, at the earliest practicable moment, a just and amicable arrangement of all the questions which now unfortunately stand in the way of an entire and abiding friendship between the two nations.

I have the honor to be, with the highest consideration, sir, your obedient servant,

HAMILTON FISH. Sir EDWARD THORNTON, K. C. B., &c., &c., dc.

3. Sir Edward Thornton to Mr. Fish.

WASHINGTON, February 1, 1871. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 30th ultimo, and to offer you my sincere and cordial thanks for the friendly and conciliatory spirit which pervades it.

With reference to that part of it in which you state that the President thinks that the removal of the differences which arose during the rebellior in the United States, and which have existed since then, growing out of the acts committed by the several vessels which have given rise to the clains generally known as the "Alabama” claims, will also be essential to the restoration of cordial and amicable relations between the two governments, I have the honor to inform you that I have suh. mitted to Earl Granville the opinion thus expressed by the President of the United States, the friendliness of which, I beg you to believe, I fully appreciate.

I am now authorized by bis lordship to state that it would give Her Majesty's government great satisfaction if the claims commonly known by the name of the "Alabama” claims were submitted to the consideration of the same high commission by which Her Majesty's government have proposed that the questions relating to the British possessions in North America should be discussed, provided that all other claims, both of British subjects and citizens of the United States, arising out of acts committed during the recent civil war in this country, are similarly referred to the same commission. The expressions made use of in the name of the President in your above-mentioned note with regard to the “Alabama” claims convince me that the Government of the United States will consider it of importance that these causes of dispute between the two countries should also, and at the same time, be done away with, and that you will enable me to convey to my government the assent of the President to the addition which they thus propose to the duties of the high commission, and which cannot fail to make it more certain that its labors will lead to the removal of all dif: ferences between the two countries.

I have the honor to be, with the bighest consideration, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,

EDWARD THORNTON. Hon. HAMILTON FISH, &c., &c., &c.

4. Mr. Fish to Sir Eduard Thornton.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, February 3, 1871. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 1st instant, in which you inform me that you are authorized by Earl Granville to state that it would give Her Majesty's government great satisfaction if the claims commonly known by the name of the Alabama claims” were submitted to the consideration of the same high commission by which Her Majesty's government have proposed that the questions relating to the British possessions in North America should be discussed, provided that all other claims, both of British subjects and citizens of the United States, arising out of acts committed during the recent civil war in this country, are similarly referred to the same commission.

I have laid your note before the President, and he has directed me to express the satisfaction with which he has received the intelligence that Earl Granville has authorized you to state that Her Majesty's government has accepted the views of this Government as to the disposition to be made of the so-called “Alabama claims."

He also directs me to say with reference to the remainder of your note, that if there be other and further claims of Britislı subjects, or of American citizens, growing out of acts comunitted during the recent civil war in this country, be assents to the propriety of their reference to the same high commission; but be suggests that the high commissioners shall consider only such claims of this description as may be presented by the governments of the respective claimants at an early day, to be agreed upon by the commissioners.

I have the honor to be, with the bighest consideration, sir, your obe. dient servant,

HAMILTON FISH. Sir EDWARD THORNTON, K. C. B.,

&c., &c., dc.

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