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(Received May 2.) SIR: I have the honor to acquaint you that a convention was signed yesterday between the Russian and British plenipotentiaries relative to navigation, fisheries, and commerce in the Great Ocean, and to ter. ritorial demarcation upon the Northwest Coast of America. In a conversation held this day with Mr. Stratford Canning I have learned that this treaty is modeled in a great degree upon that which was signed by me in the month of April last, and that its provisions are as follows, to wit:
The freedom of navigation and fishery throughout the Great Ocean and upon all its Coasts; the privilege of landing at all unoccupied points; that of trading with the natives; and the special privileges of reciprocal trade and navigation secured for ten years upon the northWest Coast of America, together with the mutual restrictions prohibiting the trading in firearms or spirituous liquors, are all stipulated in the British as in the American Treaty; and some new provisions are made for the privilege of refitting vessels in the respective Ports, and no higher duties are to be imposed than upon National Vessels.
The third article of this convention establishes the line of demarkation between the possessions of the two powers upon the Continent and Islands, as follows: It begins at the southernmost point of Prince of Wales's Island (about 51° 40'), leaving the whole of that island to Russia. It follows the strait called Portland Passage up to the fifty-sixth degree; then turns eastward upon that latitude until it touches the highest ridge of the chain of mountains lying contiguous to and nearly parallel with the coast; it follows that ridge up to the sixtieth degree, and then takes the direction of that degree of latitude until its intersection with the one hundred and forty-tirst degree of longitude west of Greenwich; thence it follows that meridian north to the ley Sea. But in case the ridge of the Mountain lying parallel with the Coast shall be more than 10 marine leagues from the Shores of the Continent, then the distance of 10 marine leagues from the Shore is to be considered as the boundary of the Russian possessions upon the Continent.
I beg leave here to repeat an opinion I ventured to express in my dispatch No. 38, respecting the policy of establishing a Post upon the Continent somewhere within the Straits of Fuca. The most valuable part of the fur's procured upon the northwest Coast is obtained in the interior Seas ruuning around the cluster of Islands bordering the Coast. I should consider such a post as more important in many points of view than one upou Columbia River, and as likely to have a most decisive intluence in securing an advantageous settlement of limits with England, who will be anxious, now that her northern limit is established, to settle her southern boundary upon that Coast. I have the honor to be, sir, very faithfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY MIDDLETON. The SECRETARY OF STATE.
NOTE--For Mr. Middleton's full report of the negotiation of the treaty of 1821, and for further correspondence relative to the ukase of 1891 and the treaties of 1824 and 1825, see American State Papers, Foreign Relations, vol. v, pp. 457-462.
CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND GREAT BRITAIN RELATIVE TO THE SEIZURE OF BRITISH SEALING VESSELS IN BERING SEA IN 1886 AND 1887.
Sir L. S. Sackville West to Mr. Bayard.
WASHINGTON, September 27, 1886.
(Received September 28.) SIR: I have the honor to inform you that Her Majesty's Government have received a telegram from the commander-in-chief of Her Majesty's naval forces on the Pacific station respecting the alleged seizure of three British Columbian seal schooners by the United States revenue cruiser Coruin, and I am in consequence instructed to request to be furnished with any particulars which the United States Government may posses relative to this occurrence. I have, etc.,
L. S. SACKVILLE WEST.
Sir L. S. Sackville West to Mr. Bayard.
WASHINGTON, October 21, 1886.
(Received October 22.) SIR: With reference to my note of the 27th ultimo, requesting to be furnished with any particulars which the United States Government may possess relative to the seizure in the North Pacific waters of three British Columbian seal schooners by the United States revenue cruiser Corwin, and to which I am without reply, I have the honor to inform you that I am now instructed by the Earl of Iddesleigh, Her Hajesty's principal secretary of state for foreign affairs, to protest in the name of Her Majesty's Government against such seizure, and to reserve all rights to compensation. I have, etc.,
L. S. SACKVILLE WEST.
Earl of Iddesleigh to Sir L. S. Sackville West.
FOREIGN OFFICE, Ootober 30, 1886. SIR: Her Majesty's Government are still awaiting a report on the result of the application which you were directed by my dispatch No. 181, of the 9th ultimo, to make to the Government of the United States for information in regard to the reported seizure by the United States revenue cutter Corwin of three Canadian schooners while engaged in the pursuit of seals in Berhing's Sea.
In the meanwhile further details in regard to these seizures have been sent to this country, and Her Majesty's Government now consider it incumbent on them to bring to the notice of the United States Government the facts of the case as they have reached them from British sources.
· Left at the Department of State by Sir L. S. Sackville West November 12, 1886. It appears that the three schooners, named respectively the Carolina, the Omcard, and the Thornton, were titted out in Victoria, British Columbia, for the capture of seals the waters of the Northern Pacitic Ocean, adjacent to Vancouver's Island, Queen Charlotte Islands, and Alaska.
According to the depositions inclosed herewith from some of the officers and men, these vessels were engaged in the capture of seals in the open sea, out of sight of land, when they were taken possession of, on or about the 1st August last, by the United States revenue cutter Coruin—the Carolina in latitude 55° 50' north, longitude 1030 5:3' west; the Onward in latitude 50° 52' north, longitude 1670 55' west; and the Thornton in about the same latitude and longitude.
They were all at a distance of more than 60 miles from the nearest land at the time of their seizure, and on being captured were towed by the ('oricin to Oonalaska, where they are still detained. The crews of the Carolina and Thornton, with the exception of the captain and one man on each vessel detained at that port, were, it appears, sent by the steamer St. Paul to San Francisco, Cal., and then turned adrift, while the crew of the Oncard were kept at Oonalaska.
At the time of their seizure the Carolina had 686 seal-skins on board, the Thornton 404, and the Onward 900, and these were detained, and would appear to be still kept at Oonalaska, along with the schooners, by the United States authorities.
According to information given in the Alaskan, a newspaper published at Sitka, in the Territory of Alaska, and dated the Ith September, 1886, it is reported:
(1) That the master and mate of the schooner Thornton were brought for trial before Judge Dawson, in the United States district court it Sitha, on the 30th August last.
(2) That the evidence given by the officers of the United States revene cutter Coricin weut to show that the Thornton was seized while in Beriny Sea, about 60 or 70 miles south southeast of St. George Island, for the ottense of hunting and killing seals wiibin that part of Behring Sea which it was alleged by the Alaskan newspaper) was ceded to the l'nited States by Russia in 1867.
(3) That the judge in his charge to the jury, after quoting the first article of the treaty of the 30th March, 1867, between Russia and the United States, in which the western boundary of Alaska is defined, went on to say: "All the waters within the boundary set forth in this treaty to the western end of the Aleutian archipelago and chain of islands are to be considered as comprised within the waters of Alaska, and all the penalties prescribed by law against the killing of fur-bearing animals must, therefore, attach against any violation of law within the limits heretofore described. If, therefore, the jury believe from the evidence that the defendants, by themselves or in conjunction with others, did, on or about the time charged in the information, kill any otter, mink, marten, sable, or fur-seal, or other tur-bearing animalor animals on the shores of Alaska or in the Behring Sea east of 1:3 of west longitude, the jury should tinct the defendants guilty, and assess their punislıment separately at a fine of not less than $200 nor more than $1,000, or imprisonment not more than six months, or by both such tine (within the limits herein set forth) and imprisonment."
(4) That the jury brought in a verdict of guilty against the prisoners, in accordance with wbich the master of the Thornton, Hans Guttousen, was sentenced to imprisonment for thirty days, and to pay a fine of $500; and the mate of the Thornton, Norman, was sentenced to imprisonment for thirty days, and to pay a fine of $300; which terms of imprisonment are presumably now being carried into effect.
There is also reason to believe that the masters and mates of the Oncard and Caro. lena have since been tried and sentenced to undergo penalties similar to those now being intlicted on the master and mate of the Thornton.
You will observe, from the facts given above, that the authorities of the Cnited States appear to lay claim to the sole sovereignty of that part of Behring Sea lying east of the westerly boundary of Alaska, as detined in the first article of the treaty concluded between the l’nited
For inclosure see Senate Ex. Doc. No. 106, 50th Congress, 2d sess., p. 7, note.
States and Russia in 1867, by which Alaska was ceded to the United States, and which includes a stretch of sea extending in its widest part some 600 or 700 miles easterly (westerly?] from the mainland of Alaska.
In support of this claim, those authorities are alleged to have interfered with the peaceful and lawful occupation of Canadian citizens on the high seas, to have taken possession of their ships, to have subjected their property to forfeiture, and to have visited upon their persons the indignity of imprisonment.
Such proceedings, if correctly reported, would appear to have been in violation of the admitted principles of international law.
I request that you will, on the receipt of this dispatch, seek an interview with Mr. Bayard, and make him acquainted with the nature of the information with which Her Majesty's Government have been furnished respecting this matter, and state to him that they do not doubt that, if on inquiry it should prove to be correct, the Government of the United States will, with their well-known sense of justice, at once admit the illegality of the proceedings resorted to against the British vessels and the British subjects above mentioned, and will cause reasonable reparation to be made for the wrongs to which they have been subjected and for the losses which they have sustained.
Should Mr. Bayard desire it, you are authorized to leave with him a copy of this dispatch. I am, etc.,
Mr. Bayard to Sir L. S. Sackville West.
DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
Washington, November 12, 1886. SIR: The delay in my reply to your letters of September 27 and October 21, asking for the information in my possession concerning the seizure by the United States revenue cutter Corwin, in the Behring Sea, of British vessels, for an alleged violation of the laws of the United States in relation to the Alaskan seal tisheries, has been caused by my waiting to receive from the Treasury Department the information you desired. I tender the fact in apology for the delay and as the reason for my silence, and, repeating what I said verbally to you in our conversation this morning, I am still a waiting full and authentic reports of the judicial trial and judgment in the cases of the seizures referred to.
My application to my colleague, the Attorney-General, to procure an authentic report of these proceedings was promptly made, and the delay in furnishing the report doubtless has arisen from the remote less of the place of trial.
So soon as I am enabled I will convey to you the facts as ascertained in the trial and the rulings of law as applied by the court.
I take leave also to acknowledge your communication of the 21st of October, informing me that you had been instructed by the Earl of Iddesleigh, Her Majesty's principal secretary of state for foreign af fairs, to protest against the seizure of the vessels above referred to, and to reserve all rights of compensation. All of which shall receive respectful consideration. I have, etc.,
T. F. BAYARD.
Sir L. S. Sackrille West to Jr. Bayard.
WASHINGTON, December 7, 1886.
(Received December 8.) SIR: Referring to your note of the 12th instant (ultimo? on the sub. ject of the seizure of British vessels in the Behring Sea, and promising to convey to me as soon as possible the facts as ascertained in the trial and the rulings of law as applied by the court, I have the honor to state that vessels are now, as usual, equipping in British Columbia for fishing in that sea. The Canadian Government, therefore, in the absence of information, are desirous of ascertaining whether such vessels fishing in the open sea and beyond the territorial waters of Alaska would be exposed to seizure, and Her Majesty's Government at the same time would be glad if some assurance would be given that, pending the settlement of the question, no such seizures of British vessels will be made in Ber.
I have, etc.,
L. S. SACKVILLE WEST.
Sir L. S. Sackville West to Mr. Bayard.
WASHINGTON, January 9, 1887.
(Received January 10.) SIR: I have the honor to inform you that I have rereived instructions from the Earl of Iddesleigh, Her Majesty's principal secretary of state for foreign affairs, again to bring to your notice the grave representations made by Her Majesty's Government respecting the seizure of the British vessels Carolena, Onward, and Thornton in Behring Sea by the l'nited States cruiser Coruin, to which no reply has as yet been received.
On the 27th of September last I had the honor to address to you a note, in which I stated that her Majesty's Government requested to be furnished with any particulars which the United States Government might possess relative to this occurrence.
On the 21st of October last I had the honor to inform you that I was instructed by the Earl of Iddesleigh to protest in the name of Her Majesty's Government against such seizures, and to reserve all rights to compensation.
In a note dated the 12th of November last you were good enough to explain the delay which had occurred in answering these communications, and on the same day I had the honor to communicate to you a dispatch from the Earl of Iddesleigh, a copy of which, at your request, I placed in your hands.
On the 7th ultimo I again had the honor to address you, stating that vessels were equipping in British Columbia for fishing in Behring Sea, and that the Canadian Government were desirous ofascertaining whether such vessels fishing in the open sea and beyond the territorial waters of Alaska would be exposed to seizure, and that Her Majesty's Gov. ernment would be glad it some assurance could be given that pending the settlement of the questions no such seizures of British vessels would be made in Behring Sea.
The vessels in question were seized at a distance of more than 60 miles from the nearest land at the time of their seizure. The master of