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No. 16.

Mr. Hoffman to Mr. Frelinghuysen.—(Received Juno 6.)

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

St. Petersburgh, May 22, 1882. SIR: Referring to your No. 120 and to my Nos. 211 and 215, I have the honour to forward to you herewith a translation of a note recently received from M. de Giers upon the subject of hunting, fishing, and trading in the Pacific waters.

I do not see that there is anything in the Regulations referred to that affects our whalers, nor our cod fisheries either, except that when they go ashore to catch small fish for bait in the streams, they expose themselves to interruption from the Russian authorities, who, finding them in territorial waters, may accuse them of having taken their fish therein.

I will endeavor to procure and forward you a translation of the Articles of the Code referred to by M. de Giers, that you may have the whole matter before you. This cannot be done, however, under several days. I am, &c.

(Signed) WICKHAM HOFFMAN.

(Inclosure in No. 16.—Translation.)

M. de Giers to Mr. Hoffman.

MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, ASIATIC DEPARTMENT,

May 8 (20), 1882. Sir: Referring to the exchange of communications which has taken place between

us on the subject of a Notice published by our Consul at Yokohama rolative 20 to fishing, hunting, and to trade in the Russian waters of the Pacific, and in

reply to the note which you addressed to me, dated the 15th (27th) March, I am now in a position to give you the following information.

A Notice of the tenour of that annexed to your note of the 15th March was, in fact, published by our Consul at Yokohama, and our Consul-General at San Francisco is also authorized to publish it.

This measure refers only to prohibited industries and to the trade in contraband; the restrictions which it establishes extend strictly to the territorial waters of Russia only. It was required by the numerous abuses proved in late years, and which fell with all their weight on the population of our sea-shore and of our islands, whose only means of support is by fishing and hunting. These abuses inflicted also a marked injury on the interests of the Company to which the Imperial Goverument had conceded the monopoly of fishing and hunting ("exportation") in islands called the “Commodoro" and the “Seals.”

Beyond this new Regulation, of which the essential point is the obligation imposed upon captains of vessels who desire to fish and to hunt in the Russian waters of the Pacitic to provide themselves at Vladivostok with the permission or licence of the Governor-General of Oriental Siberia, the right of fishing, hunting, and of trade by foreigners in our territorial waters is regulated by Article 560 and those following of Vol. XII, Part II, of the Code of Laws.

Informing you of the proceeding, I havo, &o. (Signed) GIERS.

No. 17.

Mr. Hoffman to Mr. Frelinghuysen.—(Received July 3.)

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

St. Petersburgh, June 14, 1882. SIR: Referring to my No. 228, I have the honour to forward to you herewith a translation of a note and inclosure received yesterday from M. de Giers upon the subject of fishing and hunting in the Russian Pacific waters. As far as I am at present informed, the Department has now before it the whole legislation of Russia upon the subject. I am, &c.

(Signed) WICKHAM HOFFMAN.

(Inclosure 1 in No. 17.- Translation.)

M. de Giers to Mr. Hoffman.

MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, ASIATIC DEPARTMENT,

June 1 (13) 1882. Sir: In consequence of the note which you addressed to me on the 13th (25th) May, relative to fishing and hunting in our Pacific waters, and in which you expressed the desire to have a translation of the Articles of our Code which govern the matter, I have the honour to transmit to you herewith a translation of Articles 560, &c., of the Code, Vol. XII, Part II. Receive, &c.

GIERS.

(Inclosure 2 in No. 17.–Translation.)

Articles 560, 561, 562, 565, and 571 of the Russian Code, Vol. XII, Part II. Article 560. The maritime waters, even when they wash the shores where there is a permanent population, cannot be the subject of private possession; they are open to the use of one and all.

Art. 561. No exception will be made to this general rule, except under the form of special privileges granted for the right of fishing in certain fixed localities and during limited periods.

Art. 562. The above Regulation regarding the right of fishing and analogous occupations on the seas extends equally to all lakes which do not belong to private properties.

Art. 565. No restriction shall be established as regards the apparatus (engines) employed for fishing and for analogous occupations in the high seas, and it shall be permitted to every one to use for this purpose such apparatus as he shall judge to be best according to the circumstances of the locality,

Art. 571. Ships in quarantine are not permitted to fish. The same prohibition extends in general to all persons in those localities where ships are lying undergoing quarantine.

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Mr. Lothrop to Mr. Bayard.—(Received March 7.)

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

St. Petersburgh, February 17, 1887. SIR: In compliance with the instructions of your despatch No. 65 of the 4th December last, I addressed a note on the 22nd of December to the Imperial Minister for Foreign Affairs, asking for the facts and grounds on which the American schooner “Henrietta” was seized and confiscated off East Cape, in Behring Straits, on the 24th August last. On the 21st January last I received a reply, a translation of which I inclose herewith, stating that the “ Henrietta” was confiscated by the Judgment of a Commission sitting on board the Imperial corvette “ Kreysser,” for the offence of illicit trading on the Russian coast.

On the 21th January I had a personal interview with General Vlangaly, the Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, in which I asked him bow the Commission that sat on board the corvette was constituted. He informed me that it was composed of certain officers of the corvette, acting under the orders of the Government of Eastern Siberia, within whose general jurisdiction such matters were vested.

I also called his attention to the fact that his note to me failed to specify in what the “illicit commerce” consisted, and asked him for further information. He replied that he was not then able to give me the desired information, but said an answer in respect to the seizure and condemnation of the American schooner “Eliza” was in preparation, and would be sent to me in a few days, and he thought that perhaps I might thereby receive the information sought.

On the 1st February I received the promised communication respecting the “Eliza," a copy of which will accompany the despatch which will immediately follow the present one.

It will be seen that the seizure and condemnation of the schooners rest on the provisions of an administrative Order ("d'une disposition administrative") prohibiting, after the first of the year 1882, all trading, hunting, and fishing on the Russian Pacific coasts without special licence from the Governor General.

It is claimed that very extensive publicity of this Regulation was given in 1881-83 through the newspapers of Yokohama, in the Russian Consulates of the Pacitic, and at the American custom-houses.

Upon the receipt of this last note I at once, for greater celerity, wrote to General Vlangaly asking him for a copy of the Trading Regulation or Order.

I also asked if I was right in my understanding that the Commission was composed of the officers of the vessel that made the capture.

I supposed this last note would be answered at once, but as it has not been, I have concluded not to wait any longer before reporting the case to you.

The feature that strikes me as very peculiar in these cases is the fact that the captors are also the judges of their own acts. The Commis. sion seems to sit at once at the place of capture, and the evidence on which it acts would seem to be that which the captors derive from their own observation on the spot. It is, perhaps, a fundamental and equitable maxim of jurisprudence that no one can be a judge of his own cause, and it will probably be worthy of consideration how far the decisions of a Tribunal so constituted can be considered as valid. I am, &c.

(Signed)

GEO. V. N. LOTHROP.

(Inclosure in No. 18.–Translation.)

General V langaly to Mr. Lothrop.
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, ASIATIC DEPARTMENT,

January 8 (20), 1887. Mr. Envoy: In consequence of the note addressed by you to me on the 10th (22nd) December, I hasten to ask information of the Maritime Province, by telegraph, in regard to the seizure of the llenrietta."

I have now the honour to bring to your knowledge that, according to the information communicated to me by General Enghelm, Acting Governor of said province, the “Henrietta” was in fact seized and confiscated on the 17th (29th) August, in virtue of a decision of the Commission sitting ou boarıl of the Imperial corvette “Kreysser,” for the offence of illicit trading on our coasts. Pray accept, &c.

A. VLANGALY.

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Mr. Lothrop to Mr. Bayard.—(Received March 7.)

LEGATION OF THE UNITED STATES,

St. Petersburgh, February 17, 1887. SIR: I have the honour to transmit to you a translation of a communication received from the Imperial Foreign Office on the 1st February instant, relative to the seizure of the schooner “Eliza."

The Russian Government claims that she was seized and condemned under the provisions of an Order, or Regulation, which took effect at the beginning of 1882, and which absolutely prohibited every kind of trading, hunting, and fishing on the Russian Pacific coast without a special licence from the Governor-General.

It is not claimed that the “Eliza” was engaged in seal-fishing, but that she was found actually engaged in trading with the natives with the contraband articles of arms and strong liquors.

She was condemned by a Commission sitting on the Imperial corvette “Rasboïnik,” composed of the officers thereof. In this respect the case is precisely like that of the “Henrietta,” mentioned in my last preceding despatch No. 95, and of this date.

It will be noticed that Mr. Spooner, the owner of the “ Eliza,” in his statement of his claim, declares that the “Eliza” was "on a trading voyage, engaged in bartering with the natives, and catching walrus, and as such did not come under the Notice of the Russian Government, which was directed against the capture of seals on Copper, Robbins, and Behring Islands."

It will be seen that Mr. Spooner either refers to an Order of the Rus. sian Government different from the one mentioned by the Imperial Foreign Office, or he understood the latter in a very different sense. I may add

at the Russian Code of Prize Law of 1869, Article 21, and now in force, limits the jurisdictional waters of Russia to 3 miles from the shore.

As stated in my previous despatch, I have asked for a copy of the Order or Regulation under which the “ Henrietta” and “Eliza” were seized and condemned.

Very truly, &c. (Signed) GEO. V. N. LOTHROP.

[Inclosure in No. 19.- Translation.]

General Vlangaly to Mr. Lothrop.
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, Asiatic DEPARTMENT,

January 19 (31), 1887. MR. Envoy: The Chief of the General Staff of the Navy has just transmitted to me the information which I had requested from that Department in consequence of the note that you addressed to me bearing date the 5th (17th) July, 1886, in regard to the incident of the seizure of the schooner “Eliza."

This information is in substance to the effect that the “Eliza” was confiscated uot for the fact of seal-hunting, but by virtue of an Administrative Regulation prohibiting, fron the beginning of the year 1882, every kind of commercial act, of hunting, and of fishing on our coasts of the Pacitic, without a special authorization from the Governor-General, and carrying with it, against those disregarding it, the penalty of the seizure of the ship as well as of the cargo.

During the years 1881-83, the widest means of publicity were employed in bringing this Regulation to the knowledge of the parties interested. It was published in the journals of Yokohama, posted up in all our Consulates of the Pacific, and communicated to the American Custom-house establishments.

The complainant cannot, therefore, plead ignorance of the prohibitory measures in question.

The crew of the “Eliza” was engaged not only hunting walrus on our coast of Kamtchatka, and in commercial transactions with the natives, but traded there with illicit articles such as arms and strong liquors.

The infringements of the priuted Regulations are duly ostablished by the open act and the confession of the captain, Austin Weston, who made no protest against the seizure of the vessel ordered under that head by the Commission sitting ad hoc on board the Imperial corvette “Rasbožnik."

The captain and his second officer besides acknowledge the offence charged against thein of hunting and of trading in their depositions annexed to the Petition itself of Mr. Spooner and communicated to the Imperial Ministry by tho Legation of the United States, under date of the 16th (28th) April.

In informing you of the foregoing circumstances, which demonstrate the entire legitimacy of the seizure of the “Eliza,” I have no doubt, Mr. Envoy, that you will be led to conclude that the claim brought by the proprietor of that ship is without foundation. And I avail myself, &c.

(Signed) A. VLANGALY.

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