Page images
PDF
EPUB

the Thornton was sentenced to imprisonment for thirty days, and to pay a fine of $500, and there is reason to believe that the masters of the Onward and Carolena have been sentenced to similar penalties.

In support of this claim to jurisdiction over a stretch of sea extending in its widest part some 600 or 700 miles from the mainland, advanced by the judge in his charge to the jury, the authorities are alleged to lave interfered with the peaceable and lawful occupation of Canadian citizens on the high seas; to have subjected their property to forfeiture and to have visited upon their persons the indignity of imprisonment. Such proceedings therefore, if correctly reported, appear to have been in violation of the admitted principles of international law.

Under these circumstances Her Majesty's Government do not hesitate to express their concern at not having received any reply to their representations, nor do they wish to conceal the grave nature which the case has thus assumed, and to which I am now instructed to call your immediate and most serious attention. It is unnecessary for me to allude further to the information with which Her Majesty's Government have been furnished respecting these seizures of British vessels in the open seas, and which for sometime past has been in the possession of the United States Government, because Her Majesty's Government 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, 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.

In conclusion, I have the honor again to refer to your note of the 1'th of November last, and to what you said verbally to me on the same day, and to express the hope that the cause of the delay complained of in answering the representations of Her Majesty's Government on this grave and important matter may be speedily removed. I have, etc.,

L. S. SACKVILLE WEST.

Mr. Bayard to Sir L. S. Sackville West.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, January 12, 1887. Sir: Your note of the 9th instant was received by me on the next day, and I regret exceedingly that, although my efforts have been diligently made to procure from Alaska the authenticated copies of the judicial proceedings in the cases of the British vessels Carolena, Onward, and Thornton, to which you refer, I should not have been able to obtain them in time to have made the urgent and renewed application of the Earl of Iddesleigh superfluous.

The pressing nature of your note constrains me to inform you that on September 27 last, when I received my first intimation from you that any question was possible as to the validity of the judicial proceedings referred to, I lost no time in requesting my colleague, the AttorneyGeneral, in whose department the case is, to procure for me such authentic information as would enable me to make full response to your application.

From week to week I have been awaiting the arrival of the papers,

and to-day, at my request, the Attorney-General has telegraphed to Portland, Oregon, the nearest telegraph station to Sitka, in Alaska, in order to expedite the furnishing of the desired papers.

You will understand that my wish to meet the questions involved in the instructions you have received from your Government is averred, and that the delay has been enforced by the absence of requisite infor. mation as to the facts.

The distance of the vessels from any land or the circumstances attendant upon their seizure are unknown to me save by the statements in your last note, and it is essential that such facts should be devoid of all uncertainty.

Of whatever information may be in the possession of Her Majesty's Government I have, of course, no knowledge or means of knowledge, but this Department of the Government of the United States has not yet been placed in possession of that accurate information which would justity its decision in a question which you are certainly warranted in considering to be of grave importance.

I shall diligently endeavor to procure the best evidence possible of the matters inquired of, and will make due response thereupon when the opportunity of derision is afforded to me.

You require no assurance that no avoidance of our international obligations need be apprehended. I have, etc.,

T. F. BAYARD.

Sir L. S. Sackrille West to Jr. Buyard.

British LEGATION, Washington, February 1, 1897. (Received February 2.) SIR: With reference to your note of the 12th ultimo, I have the lionor to inform you that under date of the 27th ultimo the Marquis of Salisbury instructs me to inquire whether the information and papers relative to the seizure of the British schooners Carolena, Onward, and Thornton have reached the Cnited States Government. I have, etc.,

L, S. SACKVILLE WEST.

Mr. Bayard to Sir L. S. Suckrille West.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, February 3, 1887. SIR: I beg to acknowledge your note of yesterday's date, received to-day.

['pon its receipt I made instant application to my colleague, the Attorney General, in relation to the record of the judicial proceedings in the cases of the three British vessels arrested in August last in Behring Sea for violation of the United States laws regulating the Alaskau seal tisheries.

I am informeil that the documents in question lett Sitka on the 26th of January, and may be expected to arrive at Port Townsend, in Wash

ington Territory, about the 7th instant, so that the papers, in the usual course of mail, should be received by me within a fortnight.

In this connection I take occasion to inform you that, without conclusion at this time of any questions which may be found to be involved in these cases of seizure, orders have been issued by the President's di. rection for the discontinuance of all pending proceedings, the discharge of the vessels referred to, and the release of all persons under arrest in conuection therewith.' I have, etc.,

T. F. BAYARD.

Sir L. S. Sackville West to Mr. Bayard.

WASHINGTON, February 4, 1887.

(Received February 5.) SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 3d instant, informing me that without conclusion at this time of any questions which may be found to be involved in the cases of seizure of British vessels in Behring Sea, orders have been issued, by the President's direction, for the discontinuance of all pending proceedings, the discharge of the vessels referred to, and the release of all persons under arrest in connection therewith. I have, etc.,

L. S. SACKVILLE WEST.

Sir L. 8. Sackville West to Mr. Bayard,

WASHINGTON, April 4, 1887.

(Received April 4.) SIR: In view of the approaching fishing season in Behring Sea and the fitting out of vessels for fishing operations in those waters, Her Majesty's Government have requested me to inquire whether the owners of such vessels may rely on being unmolested by the cruisers of the United States when not near land.

Her Majesty's Government also desires to know whether the documents referred to in your note of the 3d of February last connected with the seizure of certain British vessels beyond the three-mile limit and legal proceedings connected therewith have been received. And I have the honor therefore to request you to be good enough to enable me to reply to these inquiries on the part of Her Majesty's Government with as little delay as possible. I have, etc.,

L. S. SACKVILLE WEST.

For further correspondence in reference hereto, see Senate Ex. Doc. No. 106, 50tb Congress, 2d sess, p. 56 et seq.

Mr. Bayard to Sir L. S. Sackville West.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, April 12, 1887. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge your note of the 4th instant relative to the fisheries in Behring Sea, and inquiring whether the documents referred to in my note of February 3, relating to the cases of seizure in those waters of vessels charged with violating the laws of he United States regulating the killing of fur seals, had been received.

The records of the judicial proceedings in the cases in the district court in Alaska referred to, were only received at this Department on Saturday last, and are now under examination.

The remoteness of the scene of the fur-seal fisheries and the special peculiarities of that industry have unavoidably delayed the Treasury officials in framing appropriate regulations and issuing orders to Uniteil States vessels to police the Alaskan waters for the protection of the fur seals from indiscriminate slaughter and consequent speedy extermination.

The laws of the United States in this behalf are contained in the Revised Statutes relating to Alaska, in sections 1956–1971, and have been in force for upwards of seventeen years; and prior to the seizures of last summer but a single infraction is known to have occurred, and that was promptly punished.

The question of instructions to Government vessels in regard to preventing the indiscriminate killing of fur seals is now being considered, and I will inform you at the earliest day possible what has been decided, so that British and other vessels visiting the waters in question can govern themselves accordingly. I have, etc.,

T. F. BAYARD. (For inclosures, see Senate Ex. Doc. No. 106, 50th Congress, 2nd Sess., pp. 14-16.)

Sir L. S. Sackville West to Mr. Bayard,

WASHINGTON, July 8, 1887. (Received July 9.) SIR: With reference to your note of the 12th April, stating that the records of the judicial proceedings in the cases of the British vessels seized in the Behring Sea had been received, I have the honor to inform you that the Marquis of Salisbury has instructed me to request you to be good enough to furnish me with a copy of the same for the information of Her Majesty's Government. I have, etc.,

L. S. SACKVILLE WEST.

Mr. Bayard to Sir L. S. Sackville West.

[ocr errors]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, July 11, 1887. SIR: Complying with the request contained in your note of the 8th instant, conveyed to me under the instructions of your Government, I

have the honor to inclose you two printed copies of the judicial pro ceedings in the United States district court for the District of Alaskain the several cases of libel against the schooners Onward, Carolena, and Thornton, for killing fur seals in Alaskan waters. Accept, etc.,

T. F. BAYARD. (For inclosure see Senate Ex. Doc. No. 106, 50th Congress, 2d session, pp. 17-48.)

Sir L. S. Sackville West to Mr. Bayard.

WASHINGTON, August 11, 1887. (Received August 12.) 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 in the Pacific, dated Victoria, British Columbia, August 7, reporting the seizure by United States cruisers of three British Columbian sealing schooners in Behring Sea, a long distance from Sitka, and that several other vessels were in sight being towed in.

In conveying this information to you, I am requested at the same time by the Marquis of Salisbury to state that, in view of the assurances given in your note of the 3d of February last, Her Majesty's Government had assumed that pending the conclusion of discussions between the two Governments on general questions involved, no further seizures would be made by order of the United States Government. I have, etc.,

L. S. SACKVILLE WEST.

Mr. Bayard to Sir L. S. Sackville West.

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, August 13, 1887. SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 11th instant, received yesterday afternoon, informing me of a telegrapbic communication from the commander-in-chief of Her Majesty's naval forces in the Pacific, dated at Victoria, British Columbia, August 7, reporting the seizure of three British Columbian sealing schooners “ in Behring Sea, a long distance from Sitka,” and that “ several other vessels were in sight being towed in."

The reference to my note to you of the 3d of February last, which you make under the instruction of the Marquis of Salisbury, has caused me to examine the expressions contained therein, and I can discover no ground whatever for the assumption by Her Majesty's Government that it contained assurances “ that pending the conclusion of discus, sions between the two Governments on general questions involved, no further seizures would be made by order of the United States Govern. ment."

Until your note of the 11th instant was received, I had no information of the seizure of the sealing vessels therein referred to, and have no knowledge whatever of the circumstances under which such seizures haye been made.

« PreviousContinue »