Dr. Rainer Baehre recently presented a paper examining why Britain agreed to the French and American shores at a meeting of the Canadian Association of American Studies, held at Memorial University, St. John’s.
Based on extensive research, “The Convention of 1818, the Newfoundland Fishery, and British American Relations” examines the largely unrecognized role in Canadian history of the Newfoundland fishery and its impact on international relations in the wake of the War of 1812. Based primarily on colonial and diplomatic records, this study demonstrates how American fishing “rights” in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Newfoundland, and Labrador helped to prevent another war between the United States and Britain. While the terms of the Convention clearly benefited the Americans, it drew sharp and long-lasting criticism from the Maritime provinces, Quebec, the London Times, and even opposition members of the British House of Commons.
This paper is part of longer chapter on international law and peace which includes the renewal of the French shore in 1814/15, a source of grievance for Newfoundland throughout the 19th century. “Diplomacy, Legal Issues, and Foreign Fishing in Newfoundland, 1814-30: Revisiting the 1815 Treaty of Paris and the 1818 Convention” appears in Essays in the History of Canadian Law, Vol. 10, a Festschrift in Memory of Peter N. Oliver, edited by Jim Phillips, Roy McMurtry, and John T. Saywell, and published by the University of Toronto Press and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History (2008).