HC Deb 25 July 1867 vol 189 cc83-4

said, he would beg to ask the Vice President of the Board of Trade, Whether the Fishery Convention with France, the terms of which were agreed to by an International Commission in January last, has been concluded; and, if not, what are the reasons for the delay?


said, the Convention was signed, he believed, on Thursday last. The ratifications had not yet been exchanged. His hon. Friend who put the Question and who bore so active and prominent a part in these negotiations knew how careful, he might say punctilious, the French Commissioners were in framing the various articles. This caution was exercised to a still greater extent by the legal Advisers of the French Government to whom the text of the Convention was referred. This led to frequent communications between the two Governments, and was almost the sole cause of the delay. There had not been an alteration or a difference of opinion as to any point of the smallest importance. The French in a most liberal spirit allowed us to act in re- ference to the most important arrangements as if the Treaty had been ratified. There was therefore less need for haste; and as it was impossible to print the Bill without the text of the Convention as finally agreed upon, and there was some question with the Scotch Fishery Board as to the repeal of certain Acts, it was thought on the whole better at this late period of the Session to postpone legislation to another year.