§ MR. DE LISLE (Leicestershire, Mid.)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, considering the fact that the Law Officers of the Crown have pronounced the opinion that neither by the Treaty of Utrecht, nor by any other Treaty, nor by prescription, have the French any right to erect lobster factories on the shores of Newfoundland; and whether, considering that the modus vivendi lately established now recognises the existence of such factories, Her Majesty's Government will take into consideration the exasperation which has been publicly expressed at indignation meetings held throughout the Island of Newfoundland to protest against the course that has been adopted?
§ *THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Sir J. FERGUSSON,) Manchester, N.E.
The Reports of the Law Officers of the Crown have always been treated by Her Majesty's Government as strictly confidential; but I do not recognise the words quoted by the hon. Gentleman as having occurred in any such opinion. They represent, nevertheless, the view of Her Majesty's Government. The modus vivendi now established in no way admits the right of the French to erect lobster factories, but is entirely without prejudice to the claims or contentions of either Government. Her Majesty's Government will give the fullest consideration to any representations, not inconsistent with the Treaty obligations of this country and of the colony, which may be made to them from Newfoundland on the lobster fishery question, and hope shortly to hear from the Colonial Delegates what proposals they desire to make.