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No. 16.

Mr. White to Mr. Bayard. No. 725.]

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

London, April 20, 1888. (Received April 30.) SIR : Referring to your instructions Nos. 685, 782, and 810, to Mr. Phelps' dispatches Nos. 618 and 690, and to subsequent correspondence, I have the honor to acquaint you that I called at the foreign office on the 16th instant for the purpose of discussing with the Marquis of Salisbury and M. de Staal, the Russian ambassador, the details of the proposed conventional arrangement for the protection of seals in Behring Sea.

M. de Staal expressed a desire, on behalf of his Government, to in. clude in the area to be protected by the convention the sea of Okhotsk, or at least that portion of it in which Robben Island is situated, there being, he said, in that region large numbers of seals, whose destruction is threatened in the same way as those in Behring Sea.

He also urged that measures be taken by the insertion of a clause in the proposed convention or otherwise, for prohibiting the importation, by merchant vessels, into the seal-protected area, for sale therein, of alcoholic drinks, fire-arms, gunpowder, and dynamite.

Lord Salisbury expressed no opinion with regard to the latter proposal, but, with a view to meeting the Russian Government's wishes respecting the waters surrounding Robben Island, he suggested that, besides the whole of Behring Sea, those portions of the Sea of Okhotsk and of the Pacific Ocean north of north latitude 470 should be included in the proposed arrangement.

His lordship intimated furthermore that the period proposed by the United States for a close time, April 15 to November 1, might interfere with the trade longer than absolutely necessary for the protection of the seals, and he suggested October 1, instead of a month later, as the termination of the period of seal protection.

I referred to the communications already made by Mr. Phelps on this subject to Lord Salisbury, and said that I should be obliged to refer to you the proposals which had just been made, before expressing an opinion with regard to them.

I have accordingly the honor to ask for instructions in reference to the same.

Meanwhile the Marquis of Salisbury promised to have prepared a draught convention for submission to the Russian ambassador and to myself. I shall lose no time in forwarding to you a copy of this document when received. I am, etc.,

HENRY WHITE.

No. 17.

Mr. Bayard to Mr. White. No. 864.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, May 1, 1888. Sir: Your dispatch No. 725 of the 20th ultimo stating the result of your interview with Lord Salisbury and the Russian ambassador relative to the protection of seals in Bebring Sea, and requesting further instructions as to their proposals, has been received.

As you have already been instructed, the Department does not object to the inclusion of the sea of Okhotsk, or so much of it as may be necessary, in the arrangement for the protection of the seals. Nor is it thought absolutely necessary to insist on the extension of the close season till the 1st of November.

Only such a period is desired as may be requisite for the end in view. But in order that success may be assured in the efforts of the various governments interested in the protection of the seals, it seems advisable to take the 15th of October instead of the 1st as the date of the close season, although, as I am now advised, the 1st of November would be safer.

The suggestion made by Lord Salisbury that it may be necessary to bring other governments than the United States, Great Lritain, and Russia into the arrangement has already been met by the action of the Department, as I have heretofore informed you. At the same time the invitation was sent to the British Government to negotiate a convention for seal protection in Behring Sea, a like invitation was extended to various other powers, which have without exception returned a favorable response.

In order, therefore, that the plan may be carried out, the convention proposed between the United States, Great Britain, and Russia should contain a clause providing for the subsequent adhesion of other powers.

In regard to the suggestion of the Russian ambassador that the convention be made to cover the question of the sale of fire-arms and liquor to the natives on the coasts in question, I am compelled to think, while in favor of restricting or prohibiting such sale, that it would be advisable to regulate the subject separately from the protection of the seals. It is possible that some governments might readily assent to the latter object, while indisposed to accede to the former, and in that way lead to the defeat of the end first proposed by this Government. I am, etc.,

T. F. BAYARD.

No. 18.

Mr. White to Mr. Bayard. No. 767.)

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

London, June 6, 1888. (Received June 16.) Sir: With reference to your instructions numbered 864, of May 1, and to previous correspondence, I have the honor to inclose herewith, for your information, a copy of Sir James Fergusson's reply to a ques. tion asked by Mr. Gourley in the House of Commons on the 4th instant, from which you will observe that the Canadian Government have cau. tioned persons engaged in sealing expeditions in Behring Sea against using force in the event of their being interfered with by our officers. I have etc.,

HENRY WHITE.

(Inclosure in No. 767.)

SEAL FISHERY IN BEHRING SEA.

[Extract from The Times, Tuesday, June 5, 1888.) In answer to Mr. Gourley, Sir J. Fergusson said : I am informed that the government of the Dominion have cautioned persons engaged in scaling expeditions in the

H. Ex. 1, pt. 1--116

Behring Sea from nsing force in the event of their being interfered with by the United States officers. The questions involved are the subject of consideration by the Gov. ernments of Her Majesty and the United States and it would not be convenient or usnal to present the correspondence before it is concluded.

In answer to a further question from Mr. Gourley, Sir J. Fergusson said that the correspondence between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of the United States was being conducted diplomatically and in a friendly manner, and he deprecated any discussion upon the matter at present.

No. 19.

Mr. White to Mr. Bayard.

No. 786.]

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

London, June 20, 1888. (Received June 30.) SIR: I have the honor to inform you that I availed myself of an early opportunity to acquaint the Marquis of Salisbury and the Russian am. bassador of the receipt of your instructions numbered 864, of May 3, and shortly afterwards (May 16) his excellency and I called together at the foreign office for the purpose of discussing with his lordship the terms of the proposed convention for the protection of seals in Behring Sea. Unfortunately Lord Salisbury had just received a communication from the Canadian government stating that a memorandum on the subject would shortly be forwarded to London, and expressing a hope that pend. ing the arrival of that document no further steps would be taken in the matter by Her Majesty's Government. Under these circumstances Lord Salisbury felt bound to await the Canadian memorandum before proceeding to draught the convention.

I have inquired several times whether this communication from Can. ada had been received, but it has not yet come to hand. I was informed to-day by Lord Salisbury that an urgent telegram had been sent to Canada a week ago with respect to the delay in its expedition, and that a reply had been received by the secretary of state for the colonies stating that the matter would be taken up immediately. I hope, therefore, that shortly after Mr. Phelps' return this Government will be in a condition to agree on the terms of the proposed convention.

I have the honor to inclose for your information the copy of a question asked by Mr. Gourley and answered by Sir James Fergusson in behalf of the British Government with respect to the seal fishing in Behring Sea. I have, etc.,

HENRY WHITE.

(Inclogure in No. 786.)

SEAL FISHING IN BEHRING SEA.

(Extract from The Times, Tuesday, June 19, 1888. ] Mr. Gourley asked the under-secretary of state for foreign affairs whether it was true that the United States Government had officially announced the departure of the war ship Dolphin and three other armed vessels to the Behring Sea, with instructions to seize British or other vessels engaged in seal fshing in those waters; whether Her Majesty's Government had sent a war ship to warn masters of British sealing vessels of the consequences of infringing the Alaskan laws; and whether any of the vessels seized for alleged illegal fishing in 1886 and 1887 had been, as promised, released.

Sir J. FERGUSSON. ID go far as Her Majesty's Government are aware no such announcement has been made by the United States Government, nor has any British ship of war been ordered to Behring Sea. Orders have been given by the United States Government that the three British vessels seized in 1886, with their tackle, apparel, and furniture, should be restored to their owners. The vessels in question were the Onward, Caroline, and Thornton. As regards the seizures in 1887, we have not heard that any of them have been released, but proceedings in connection with all the seizures are before the American law courts.

No. 20.

Mr. Bayard to Mr. Phelps.

No. 948.)

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, August 9, 1888. SIR: I inclose herewith, for your information, a copy of a recent dis. patch * from Mr. Hubbard, our minister at Tokio, relative to the recent action of the Japanese Governmeni in requesting United States consuls in Japan to refrain from shipping Japanese subjects on otterhunting vessels; and giving an account of the attack at Copper Island on the British schooner Nemo. I am, etc.,

T. F. BAYARD.

No. 21.

Mr. Rives to Mr. Phelps.t

No. 982.]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, October 23, 1888. SIR: I inclose herewith, for your information, a copy of a dispatch to this Department from Mr. Stevens, our consul at Victoria, British Columbia, relative to the fur-seal industry, giving an account of the business for the season which has just closed. I am, etc.,

G. L. Rives,

Acting Secretary.

(Inclosure with No. 982.]

Mr. Stevens to Mr. Rives.

No. 374.]

CONSULATE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

Victoria, British Columbia, October 8, 1838. (Received October 19.) Sir: Within the last week all but one of the Victoria sealing fleet of fifteen vessels have arrived in port, having completed the season's cruise.

No unusual incident is mentioned save the seizure of the Araunah, belonging to Hall & Goepel, of this city, off Copper Island, July 1 last, by the dlexander II, belonging to the Alaska Cominercial Company and floating the Russian flag, as stated by the public press in reporting the seizure. Messrs. Hall & Goepel have given me Captain Sieward's statement, viz:

"That the Araunah was seized on the 1st of July, 6 or 8 miles from the shore of the southern extremity of Copper Island, by the Alaska Commercial Company's

* See infra, No. 30.
t Identic instructions were sent to U. S. minister to Russia.

steamer Alexander II, floating a Russian flag (not the national flag of Russia, but a Russian flag of some kind-possibly a revenue flag). The Russian Inspector-General of the islands was on board the steamer at the time of seizure. The ground of seizure given was that Rassia claims the sovereignty of the Behring Sea, and the inspector stated that he would have seized the vessel bad she been even 100 miles further south. The Araunah was first taken to Vladivostock and then to Petropaul. ovski, where the Indian hunters were paid for their canoes, and at which port the Araunah now lies. Thence the crew were shipped by the Russian Government in a vessel to Nagasaki, where the captain noted protest. The British Board of Trade there forwarded them to Yokohama, to be taken by the steam-ship Batavia to Vancouver.

Apropos of this, on the 12th July last, a boat's crew from the Nemo, of Yokohama, was fired into from the shore off Atton Island by the Aleuts, the captain killed and two men wounded. This press print was attested as true by Mr. Gray, of Yokohama, yesterday.

The total catch of the Victorian sealers Mr. Lubbe gives at 14,897 seal and 152 otter skins; for the last season (1887) 30,200, including abont 12,000 seized. Only five American sealers have reported here this season. They have had the same luck as the Victorians. There has been an unusual period of heavy weather and fog at the north. Seal skins are worth $6.25; otter $105. I am, etc.,

ROBT. J. STEVENS,

Consul.

No. 22.

The whales in Hudson Bay.

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An Ottawa letter to the Boston Herald says: The Dominion Government is now considering the possibility of acting on the suggestion of Commander Gordon, in charge of the fishery protective service, and who has made several voyages to Hudson Bay to close the whale fisheries of Hudson Bay and Straits for a time, in view of the rapid depletion of this industry which has become apparent. The industry has almost entirely been carried on by New England whalers, and he suggests that, if they be allowed to continue, a heavy license for the privilege should be exacted. The New England whalers, it is reported, attack their prey with harpoons, explosive bombs, and lances, fired from large swivel guns carried on steam-launches, instead of the old-fashioned weapons thrown by hand from rowboats.

In giving his evidence, when this subject was brought up before a committee of the Senate this spring, Dr. Bell, of the Government geological staff, said that against such appliances as are now used by the New England whalers the whale has no chance to escape. It makes the capture much more certain, as the whalers can destroy life at once with the bomb and secure the animal. Thirty years ago the larger whales were quite common in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, but were driven north by the large fleet of New Englaud vessels engaged in the trade. They are now rarely seen off the Newfoundland coast, or even in Hudson Straits, where at one time they abounded in great numbers. The use of fire-arms, which led to the complete extir. pation of the buffalo, is now at work in the whale fishery, and, according to Dr. Bell's evidence, it is only a question of time when some of the species will become totally extinct. On being asked to suggest some means by which the extermination of the whales might be prevented, Dr. Bell said:

“I think charging a high license to permit whaling-either charge it on the number of whales killed, the quantity of oil obtained, or so much a vessel-would decrease it. The Russian Government, I understand, claim jurisdiction over the whale fisheries of the White Sea, which is quite open as compared with Hudson Bay, Boot bia Bay, and many of our large bays. They charge something like £300 a season for a permit for a vessel to kill whales, and if the whalers do not pay it they are driven out of those waters. Now, if the Russian Government can claim control over the whale fisheries of the White Sea, surely we can control Hudson Bay and Boothia Bay; and if the Americans can capture our sealers in Behring Sea, surely we can capture Amer. ican whalers found in Hudson Bay and Boothia Bay."

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