No. 190.
Mr. Fish to Mr. Bingham.

No. 220.]

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your dispatch No. 304, dated 7th December, 1875. It relates to the hunting regulations proposed by the Japanese government, and states that these regulations are accepted by the foreign representatives with the exception of the protocol proposing a new tribunal for the trial of offenders. The Japanese minister of foreign affairs waives the protocol, but insists that all fines collected from offenders against the regulations be paid to the Japanese government. You suggest that as the costs in such cases are small, the United States consent to the request of the minister of foreign affairs.

In the opinion of the Department this concession cannot properly be made under the laws of the United States. Section 4089 of the Revised Statutes is that under which this class of offenses would come, and section [Page 367] 4088 makes the consul in such cases correspond in judicial character to a justice of the peace. The ground upon which this matter of trial and punishment by United States tribunals sitting in foreign territory rests is, that the United States citizen is constructively within the jurisdiction of his own Government, and must be tried and punished under United States law. The punishment is inflicted by and the penalty forfeited to the government whose court sits in judgment, and all fines and penalties must go with the authority that imposes them.

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I am, &c.,