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tainly manifest a friendly desire on their part to co-operate with your Government and that of Russia in the protection of their rookeries and in the prevention of any violation of the laws applicable thereto. I have the honor to inclose the draught of a preliminary convention which I have prepared, providing for the appointment of a mixed commission, who are to report on certain specified questions within two years.

The draught embodies the temporary regulations above described, together with other clauses which appear to me necessary to give proper effect to them.

Although I believe that it would be sufficient during the "migration periods" to prevent all sealing within a specified distance from the passes of the Aleutian Islands, I have, out of deference to your views and to the wishes of the Russian minister, adopted the fishery line described in Article V, and which was suggested by you at the outset of our negotiation. The draught, of course, contemplates the conclusion of a further convention after full examination of the report of the mixed commission. It also make provision for the ultimate settlement by arbitration of any differences which the report of the commission may still fail to adjust, whereby the important element of finality is secured, and, in order to give to the proposed arrangement the widest international basis, the draught provides that the other powers shall be invited to accede to it.

The above proposals are, of course, submitted ad referendum, and it only now remains for me to commend them to your favorable consideration and to that of the Russian minister. They have been framed by me in a spirit of justice and conciliation, and with the most earnest desire to terminate the controversy in a manner honorable to all parties and worthy of the three great nations concerned.

I have, etc.,


[Inclosure 1.]



Convention between Great Britain, Russia, and the United States of America in relation to the fur-seal fishery in the Behring Sea, the Sea of Ochotsk, and the adjoining waters.


The Governments of Russia and of the United States having represented to the Government of Great Britain the urgency of regulating, by means of an international agreement, the fur-seal fishery in Behring Sea, the Sea of Ochotsk, and the adjoining waters, for the preservation of the fur-seal species in the North Pacific Ocean; and differences of opinion having arisen as to the necessity for the proposed agreement, in consequence whereof the three Governments have resolved to institute a full inquiry into the subject, and, pending the result of such inquiry, to adopt temporary measures for the restriction of the killing of seals during the breeding season, without prejudice to the ultimate decision of the questions in difference in relation to the said fishery.

The said three Governments have appointed as their respective plenipotentiaries, to wit:

Who, after having exchanged their full powers, which were found to be in good and due form, have agreed upon the following articles:



The high contracting parties agree to appoint a mixed commission of experts, who shall inquire fully into the subject and report to the high contracting parties within 2 years from the date of this convention the result of their investigations, together with their opinions and recommendations on the following questions:

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(1) Whether regulations properly enforced upon the breeding islands (Robin Island, in the Sea of Ochotsk, and the Commander Islands and the Pribylov Islands, in the Behring Sea) and in the territorial waters surrounding those islands are sufficient for the preservation of the fur-seal species?

(2) If not, how far from the islands is it necessary that such regulations should be enforced in order to preserve the species ?

(3) In either of the above cases, what should such regulations provide? (4) If a close season is required on the breeding islands and territorial waters, what months should it embrace?

(5) If a close season is necessary outside of the breeding islands as well, what extent of waters and what period or periods should it embrace?



On receipt of the report of the commission and of any separate reports which may be made by individual commissioners, the high contracting parties will proceed forthwith to determine what international regulations, if any, are necessary for the purpose aforesaid, and any regulations so agreed upon shall be embodied in a further convention to which the accession of the other powers shall be invited.



In case the high contracting parties should be unable to agree upon the regulations to be adopted, the questions in difference shall be referred to the arbitration of an impartial government, who shall duly consider the reports herein before mentioned, and whose award shall be final and shall determine the conditions of the further convention.



Pending the report of the commission, and for 6 months after the date of such report, the high contracting parties agree to adopt and put in force as a temporary measure, and without prejudice to the ultimate decision of any of the questions in difference in relation to the said fishery, the regulations contained in the next following articles, Nos. 5 to 10 inclusive.



A line of demarcation, to be called the "seal fishery line," shall be drawn as follows:

From Point Anival, at the southern extremity of the island of Saghalien, in the Sea of Ochotsk, to the point of intersection of the fiftieth parallel of north latitude with the one hundred and sixtieth meridian of longitude east from Greenwich, thence eastward along the said fiftieth parallel to its point of intersection with the one hundred and sixtieth meridian of longitude west from Greenwich.



The subjects and citizens of the high contracting parties shall be prohibited from engaging in the fur-seal fishery and the taking of seals by land or sea north of the seal fishery line from the 1st of May to the 30th of June, and also from the 1st of October to the 30th of December.



During the intervening period, in order more effectively to prevent the surreptitious landing of marauders on the said breeding islands, vessels engaged in the furseal fishery and belonging to the subjects and citizens of the high contracting parties shall be prohibited from approaching the said islands within a radius of 10 miles.



The high contracting parties may, pending the report of the commission, and on its recommendation or otherwise, make such further temporary regulations as may be deemed by them expedient for better carrying out the provisions of this convention and the purposes thereof.



Every vessel which shall be found engaged in the fur-seal fishery contrary to the prohibitions provided for in articles 6 and 7, of in violation of any regulation made under article 8, shall, together with her apparel, equipment, and contents, be liable to forfeiture and confiscation, and the master and crew of such vessel, and every person belonging thereto, shall be liable to fine and imprisonment.




Every such offending vessel or person may be seized and detained by the naval or other duly commissioned officers of any of the high contracting parties, but they shall be handed over as soon as practicable to the authorities of the nation to which they respectively belong, who shall alone have jurisdiction to try the offense and impose the penalties for the same. The witnesses and proof necessary to establish the offense shall also be sent with them, and the court adjudicating upon the case may order such portion of the fines imposed or of the proceeds of the condemned vessel to be applied in payment of the expenses occasioned thereby.




This convention shall be ratified and the ratifications shall be exchanged at in six months from the date thereof, or sooner if possible. It shall take effect on such day as shall be agreed upon by the high contracting parties and shall remain in force until the expiration of six months after the date of the report of the commission of experts to be appointed under article 1; but its duration may be extended by consent.



The high contracting parties agree to invite the accession of the other powers to the present convention.

[Inclosure 2.]

Extract from pamphlet entitled "Fur Seal Fisheries of the Pacific Coast and Alaska,” published by C. D. Ladd, 529 Kerny street, San Francisco, Cal.

It is claimed that many seals are shot that sink and are lost.

Undoubtedly there are some lost in this way, but the percentage is light-probably one in thirty or forty, not more than this. It is also claimed that ten are shot and wounded that die to one that is secured. This is also an error. Many seals are shot at that are not hit at all, but when a seal is wounded so that in the end it will die, it is most always secured by the hunter, who may have to shoot at it several times in order to get it, as the seal in the water exposes only its head, and when frightened exposes only a small portion of that, so that together with the constant diving of the seal, the motion of the boat, etc., makes it very hard to hit. This is where it is claimed that ten are shot and wounded to one that is secured; but it is nearer the truth that one is lost to ten that are secured, for the reason that when a seal is wounded it can not remain under water any length of time and therefore the hunter can easily follow it up and secure it.

[Inclosure 3.]

Affidavits of practical seal hunters.


In 1886, on boart the Theresa and Pathfinder, I got for the season 397 seals and lost about 20. In 1887, on the schooner Penelope, I got 510 and lost about 30. In 1888, on the Lily Lad, I got 316 and lost 12. In 1889, on board the Viva, I got 587 and lost 27. THOMAS HOWE,


I am a seal hunter. I have been 4 years on board sealing vessels; 1 year I was a boat rower and 3 years a hunter. I have always been with white hunters, and have used a shotgun and rifle for shooting seals.

In 1887 I got 518 seals and lost 14; in 1888 I got 244 and lost 5; in 1889 I got 454 and lost 16; or in the 3 years I got 1,216 and lost 35 or 23 per cent. I never shot or saw pups with the cows in the water, nor have I ever heard of such a case. Some hunters lose a few more than I do, but the most unlucky hunters I have met with did not lose twice as many.




I am a master mariner, and have been seal hunting on the Pacific coast four years, three of which I was in Behring's Sea as well. One year I had Indian hunters only, and the three years I had white hunters only-all on the schooner Pathfinder. My experience with Indian hunters is that they lose none-at most a few-of the seals they spear. The spears are "bearded," some with one, some with two beards, and once the seal is struck, capture is certain.

White hunters use shot-guns and rifles, according to distance and state of water. On smooth water and at long ranges the rifle is generally used, but the majority of hunters use the shot-gun, and the great majority of seals are shot with guns.

The number of seals lost by white hunters does not exceed six in one hundred, and many hunters lose much less than that number. About half of the seals taken along the coast are cows, and perhaps two-thirds of the cows are with young. Putting a vessel's coast catch at four hundred, and from one hundred and fifty to one hundred and seventy-five might be cows with young. In Behring's Sea the average of cows with young kiiled will not average one in one hundred, for the reason that as soon as the cows reach the sea they go to the breeding islands, where their young are born.

I never saw cows in the water with their young with them. I do not think there is any decrease in the number of scal entering Behring's Sea. I never saw so many seal along the coast as there were this year; and in Behring's Sea they were more numerous than I ever saw before. This year I shot forty-four seals and lost one. WM. O'LEARY.



I have been a master sealer for two years. In 1888 I commanded the Araunah and in 1889 the Walter L. Rich, and during both years sealed along the coast from off Point Northward to Behring's Sea. In 1888 I had Indian hunters and this year white hunters. The Indians lose very few seals, for if the spear strike the seal is got, and if the spear misses the seal of course escapes unhurt. The white hunters use rifles and shot-guns, the latter much more than the former. Riles are used only by good shots, and then at only long range. The seals lost by white hunters after being shot or wounded do not, on the lower coast, exceed six in one hundred, and on the Alaska coast and in the Behring's Sea not over four in one hundred.

On sailing I generally take 10 per cent. additional ammunition for waste shot; that is, if calculating on a catch of 3,000 seals I would take ammunition for 3,300 shots. That was double the excess the hunters would consider necessary and I never knew that percentage of waste shot to be used. I never saw a female seal with her young beside her in the water. Out of a catch of 1,423 seals this year I had only 55 seals under two years old, i. e., between one and two years old.

When at Ounalaska this year I learned that the Alaska Commercial Company last year fitted out two small schooners, belonging to private parties, with large deep nets several hundred fathoms long, which were set across the passes from Behring's Sea for the purpose of catching young seals. One of these schooners got 700 of these

young seals about four months old, and sold them to the Alaska Commercial Company for $2.50 apiece.

A schooner, the Spencer F. Baird, 10 or 12 tons, was then at Ounalaska fitting up to go to Akoutan Pass for the same purpose this fall. The law forbids the killing of all fur-bearing animals in Alaskan waters by any hunters except the natives, yet such is done every year at Kodiak, Sanaka, and the Aleutian Islands by white hunters, fitted out by the Alaska Commercial Company, under the agreement that the furs must be sold to the company.

H. F. SIEWARD, Master American Schooner Walter L. Rich.



My first year's sealing, 1886, was on board the Theresa, from San Francisco to Victoria. We left San Francisco on the 20th January, and arrived at Victoria on the 7th April. I got 159 seals, of which I lost about 7. I used a shot-gun principally, the rifle only for long range shooting, say from 30 to 60 yards. At Victoria I left the Theresa and joined the Pathfinder. The Pathfinder left Victoria on the 4th of May for Behring's Sea, and that trip I got 442 seals and lost about 20. In 1887 I joined the Penelope and left Victoria on the 3d February. I got 618 seals during the season and lost 31. In 1888 I did not go sealing, but in 1889 I was engaged on the schooner Viva. We left Victoria on the 19th January, and I got 734 seals during the season and lost 37. I never saw a young pup alongside its cow in the water.

About one-third of the seals taken on the coast are cows with pup or capable of being with pup. In Behring's Sea I got four cows with pups in them.



I have been three years hunting seals on the Pacific coast and in Behring's Sea. In 1887 I was on board the sealing schooner Favourite, in 1888 on the Viva, and in 1889 on board the Triumph. In each year the vessel I was on entered the Behring's Sea early in July and left the sea the latter part of August or early in September, except this year, when the Triumph left the sea on the 11th July under threat of seizure, after searched by the United States cutter Rush. In 1887 the hunters I was with were partly Indians and partly whites. In the two last years the hunters were all whites, using shotguns and rifles. The rifles were used by the more experienced hunters and better shots for long range shooting, up to 100 yards, but few hunters attempted that range. The general range for rifles is not over 50 yards and most shots are made at a less range.

A few hunters used the rifle for all distances. I used either rifle or shotgun, according to the distance and position of the seal and the condition of the water.

My first year I got about four hundred seals. In getting this number I failed to capture about twenty-five shot at, or killed or wounded, but which escaped. In my second year I got over five hundred, and lost about thirty. This year I got one hundred and forty, and lost only one. I have frequently shot from two to five seal in a bunch, and got them all. One day in 1887 I got two bunches of five each, and another of four, and got the whole fourteen.

Indian hunters use spears, and eitlier get every seal they throw at or it escapes unhurt, or but slightly wounded. Indians, it can be safely said, get every seal they kill.

Oscar Scarr, a hunter on the Fiva, in 1888 got over six hundred seals, and lost only about twenty. The average number lost by white hunters does not exceed six in one hundred, and by the Indian not six in one thousand. I have never shot, nor have I ever seen, a female seal with a young one beside or with her. It is very seldom a female is killed in Behring's Sea carrying her young with her, and out of one thousand killed on the coast earlier in the season less than one-third are females carrying their young.




I was a hunter on the schooner Walter L. Rich on her sealing voyage this year. It was my first year on the Pacific coast, but I had seven years' experience on the Newfoundland coast catching hair-seals. This year on the Rich I got one hundred and eighty-five seals and lost five, which sank before I reached them. I used a shotgun. The hunters on the Rich lost about the same proportion, some a few more, some less. I never saw a cow seal in the water with her young beside her or near her, nor have I ever heard of such a case.



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