Page images
PDF
EPUB

it is entitled to compensation, and specifying the method of fixing the compensation.

8. Permission is given to bring into the ports of New Archangel, on the island of Sitka, of St. Paul, on the island of Kadiak, and into such others as may be subsequently found convenient for the purpose, all kinds of merchandise (except intoxicating beverages, powder, and arms) on board both Russian and foreign vessels.

9. Special regulations shall be prescribed concerning the importation of intoxicating liquors and the sale thereof in the Colonies, as well as the furnishing of arms and powder, such regulations to be of such a character as not to impose onerous restrictions upon the inhabitants, and at the same time to guard against abuses and injurious consequences.

10. The Aleuts and other peaceful natives within the Colonies are relieved from compulsory labor in behalf of the Russian American Company. They shall be allowed to settle in localities which they may find convenient, and shall be free to absent themselves from the places of their residence, subject only to such rules of police as may be established by the board of administration of the Colonies.

11. All the inhabitants of the Colonies permanently residing therein shall be classified either as natives or as colonial residents, to which latter class shall belong the creoles, the now so-called colonial citizens, and the immigrants who may in future arrive in the Colonies. The natives shall have the right of electing their chiefs and the colonial citizens shall be governed by elective elders. Both the chiefs and elders shall be confirined by the chief manager of the Colonies and be liable to removal by him, in which latter case it shall be his duty to order a new election.

12. The period of obligatory service to the Russian American Company by creoles educated at the expense of the Company, either in the Colonies or outside, is limited to five years.

13. It shall be lawful for Russian subjects, as well as for foreigners who have become Russian subjects, to settle at all points of the colonial territory not actually occupied by establishments of the Company or present colonial inhabitants, and to occupy for their dwellings, outbuildings, and tilling all necessary areas of unoccupied lands.

14. Until further orders from the Government, the inhabitants of the Colonies shall not be subject to any direct taxes, either in behalf of the Crown or of the Russian American Company.

15. Every description of trade, except the fur trade, shall be free to all the residents of the Colonies and to all Russian subjects without distinction or limitation.

As regards the fur trade: (a) Reserve to the Russian American Company until January 1, 1882, the exclusive right of engaging in the fur trade within the following limits only: On the peninsula of Alaska, taking for its northern boundary the line from Cape Douglas, in the Bay of Kenai, to the upper shore of Iliamna Lake; upon all the islands situated along the coast of that peninsula, namely, the Aleutian Islands, the Commander Islands, the Kurile Islands, as well as upon the islands situated in Bering Sea, and along the whole western shore of Bering Sea. As regards the region stretching northeast of the Alaska penin. sula, along the whole of the coast up to the boundary line contiguous with the possessions of Great Britain, and on the islands situated along that coast, including Sitka and the whole of the Koloshian archipelago, and likewise on the continent of the northern part of America, the privilege of the company to exclusively engage in fur trade shall be abolished. (b) All colonial residents and settlers who are Russian subjects shall be allowed to engage in the fur trade, wider special regulations to be prescribed upon the subject in all the places within the Russian possessions wherein the exclusive right of the Russian American Company is abolished as stated above. All other Russian subjects not perinanent residents of the Colonies shall be free to trade with the natives for furs, but not to engage in hunting fur-bearing animals.

1 It is clear from the context that it is intended to refer to the eastern shore of Bering Sea.

16. The general administration of the Colonies and supervision over the management of the Compauy's affairs shall be entrusted to a chief manager, appointed by the Emperor, and independent of the Company, who shall be subject to the immediate orders of the Government and assisted by colonial council composed of members appointed by the Government and members appointed by the Russian American Company, in such number as may be necessary for the conduct of the business and performance of special missions. The expense of maintaining the chief manager and the council assisting him shall be borne by the Imperial Treasury, under the estimates of the Minister of Marine. The duties and rights of the manager and council shall be determined by special instructions or ordinances.

17. The supervision of the Russian American Colonies and the Russian American Company shall form a part of the duties of the Minister of Marine.

In pursuance of the above-cited opinion of the State council, approved by the Emperor June 14, I communicate to the board of admin. istration of the Russian American Company the principles as specified above, for the preparation of the Company's charter and colonial regulations, and hereby invite the board to submit a project to be presented for the final consideration of the State council, and to convoke a general meeting of the stockholders of the Russian American Company, agreeably to the provisions of sections 2182 and 2184, part 1, volume 10, Code of Civil Laws, edition of 1857, which meeting shall be attended by the greatest possible number of stockholders for the consideration of this subject.

The original was signed by the Minister of Finance and by the Secretary of State, Reitern, and in the absence of the director by the acting director of the office of the Ministry of Finance, Kodsko. A true copy:

A. TIMKOVSKI,

Chief Clerk..

No. 19.

Concerning the granting of a fourth charter to the Russian American

Company. Flis Imperial Majesty has deigned to confirm the opinion of the general session of the Council of State concerning the revision of the charter of the Russian American Company and the organization of the Russian American Colonies, and to order the same to be carried into effect.

KONSTANTIN,

President of the Council of State. APRIL 2, 1866.

OPINION OF THE COUNCIL OF STATE."

The Council of State in the Department of the Imperial Domain in its general session having considered the report of the Minister of Finance concerning the revision of the charter of the Russian American Company and the organization of the Russian American Colonies, renJered the following opinion: In modification and explanation of the respective provisions contained in the opinion of the Council of State, approved by the Emperor on June 14, 1865, concerning the principal features of the new charter of the Russian American Company and of colonial regulations, it is ordained:

1. (As to Article 1.) The duration of the privileges to be granted for twenty years to the Russian American Company shall be reckoned from the date of the approval of the charter, and not from January 1, 1862.

2. (As to Article 15, letter a.) The exclusive right of the Company to engage in the fur trade throughout the entire colonial territory shall be continued; provided that the manner of carrying on such trade shall be determined by regulations, to be prescribed upon consultation with the Ministry of Imperial Domains.

3. (As to article 2.) The Company shall be allowed, as a temporary measure, for four years to issue tickets for use in the Colonies instead of coin, on condition that the total amount of such tickets shall be determined by the new charter of the Company, and that the tickets shall not have a compulsory circulation, but be received by voluntary agreement of the purchasers, and that the Company shail be bound to keep for the redemption of the tickets a sufficient fund in lawful money; the details and conditions of this matter shall be determined by the new regulations and charter of the Company.

4. (As to Articles 8 and 9.) The provisions to be included in the new charter of the Company concerning the opening to free trade of the ports of New Archangel and Sitka, and of St. Paul, on Kadiak Island, and the introduction into the Colonies generally of such trade and of industries, also the provisions concerning the importation and sale of spirituous liquors, and the supplying of arms and powder, shall be in accordance with the propositions now submitted by the Company; provided, that the commercial monopoly heretofore enjoyed by the Company shall under no pretext be continued.

5. The Company shall be allowed to increase its original capital by the issue of stock subject to gradual redemption in twenty years, which redemption shall be effected by the Company from its own resources, without any guarantee on the part of the Government.

6. In regard to an annual subsidy from the Government to the Company, the Minister of Finance is iustructed to submit a report, after due consultation with the Company, and in proper time and usual course of procedure.

7. Further necessary steps for the preparation of a new charter of the Company and of the colonial regulations shall be taken by the Minister of Marine in the manner indicated in the opinion of the Council of State, approved by His Majesty June 14, 1865.

All previously confirmed principles of the decision of June 14, 1865, remain in force.

Copied from the journals of the Imperial Councils of Public Domain, January 15 and March 2, and of the Plenary Council of March 14, 1866.

The original is signed in the journals by the presidents and members. Certified by

YERMAKOFF,

Vice-Director, K. RADETSKI,

Chief of Division, True copy:

A. TIMKOVSKY.

No. 20.

Proclamation.

It is hereby proclaimed to all whom it may concern, that if any person or persons, after reading these presents, does not immediately abandon Russian territory.or waters, or continue forbidden trade or traffic, they shall be seized forth with upon the arrival of the first Russian vessel upon the scene of their illegal transactions and taken for trial to New Archangel, and all goods, as well as the vessel found in possession of such persons, shall be confiscated.

Given at the port of New Archangel, on the Northwest Coast of America, this sth day of September, 1864.

20th

PART II.-ILLUSTRATING RUSSIAN MANAGEMENT OF THE SEAL

ISLANDS.

No. 21,

Letter from the Board of Administration of the Russian American

Company to Alexander Andreievitch Baranof, Chief Manager of the Russian American Colonies. Written from St. Petersburg, April 6, 1817.

The board of administration of the Company incloses herewith for your information a copy of a report from the Kiakhta office, relating to the favorable reception by the Chinese at Kiakhta of fur-seal skins, and desires you to use your best endeavors to send to Okhotsk for the Kiakhta market such kinds of furs as are preferred by the Chinese, and not to send any young sea lion skins.

(Inclosure.)

Report of the Kiakhta office to the Board of Administration of the Russian

American Company.

No. 137.1

FEBRUARY 8th, 1817. This office had the honor to receive on the first instant the order of the board of administration, dated December 14, 1816, No. 715, in which directions are given in disposing of the fur-seal skins received by the ship Suvorof to observe what kinds of skins are preferred. In reference to this the office has the honor to report that the fur-seal skins from both the ships Konstantin and Surorof were sold together, but it was noticed, from the manner in which the skins were received by the Chinese, that the 450 bachelor and young bull skins from the ship Surorof were not accepted as California skins, which are considered by the Chinese to be worth one and a half times as much as the grays. The bulls and young bulls received by the Konstantin are valued still higher than the bachelors, although the hair on them is coarse and can not be utilized; the skins, however, are large, of good texture, and of whitish-yellow color, the hair being plucked out so as to leave only the fur on the skin. The fur thus obtained is dyed and is then ready for use. The grays from the ship Suvorof have cleaned skin, but short hair, and are rather thin. They were valued lower than those from the Konstantin, which, although of a paler color and with reddish spots, are larger in size and have a thicker and longer fur. Our friends (the Chinese) are very particular as to quality, and not less particular as to size; they sort and measure by inches, and they therefore valued the skins brought by the Konstantin higher than the bachelors and grays from the Suvorof. The young sea lion skins received by this office have been exhibited, but inasmuch as they have no fur and short hair, though they make a very good hide, our friends refused to take them at any price, but asked that they be given a couple of skins to take to Kalgan, where they might ascertain by experiment whether they could be utilized for any purpose.

DEMETRI KUZNETZOF,

Manager. VASSILI JOUKOF,

Bookkeeper.

.

No. 22.

Letter from the Board of Administration of the Russian American Com

pany to Captain of the first rank and Knight Adolf Carlovitch Etholin, Chief Manager of the Russian American colonies. Written from St. Petersburg, March 8, 1843.

The regulations of the fur-seal industry mentioned in your dispatch No. 287, of May 9, 1843, are fully approved and confirmed by the board of administration, and the proposed close season on the Island of St. George and the Commander Islands is hereby ordered. For the purpose of preserving this most valuable resource, the board of administration respectiully requests you to make it your permanent rule to conduct the annual catch in such a manner that not only the rookeries will not be depleted, but that they will be allowed to increase, i. e., that the annual increase should always exceed the annual catch.

In order not to disturb prices at present, an annual shipment of 10,000 fur-seal skins to Russia will suffice.

WRANGEL,
A. SEVERIN,
N. PROKOFYEF,
N. KUSOF,

Directors. 11

« PreviousContinue »