No. 955.
Mr. Bayard to Mr. Wurts.

No. 141.]

Sir: I have to inclose herewith a copy of a letter of the 6th instant from the Acting Secretary of the Navy, accompanied by a report of commander of the U. S. S. Thetis, communicating to the Navy Department a copy of a notice served upon the American whaling ship Belvedere by the commanding officer of the Russian corvette Aleut during the whaling season of 1887. The Belvedere was at the time in Plover Bay, in Bering Sea, into which harbor she had put for the purpose of making necessary repairs, and among other things the notice contains is a statement that the captains of foreign vessels can not repair or obtain stores for their ships on the coasts of Bering or Okhotsk Seas or of the peninsula of Kamschatka, but for all such purposes must go to Petropaulovski, a settlement on the lower end of the peninsula above mentioned.

The Department is informed that the reason for this order is the desire of the Russian Government to prevent an illicit traffic in intoxicating liquors, which has been carried on by foreign whaling vessels with the native Indians on the coasts and islands in the quarter referred to. To the accomplishment of this important design, this Department does not desire to interpose any obstruction; and it recognizes the practical difficulties which the subject presents to the Russian Government, with the long line of coast to be policed. But the Department is reliably informed, and its information is readily supported by an inspection of the extent of the coast in question, that vessels of the whaling fleet are compelled by stress of weather and other casualty to seek such places of refuge as Plover Bay to repair and refit. For example, the distance from that harbor to Petropaulovski is believed to be about 800 miles.

This fact alone establishes the impossibility of American whaling ships pursuing their ancient and accustomed occupation in the remote waters in question, under such an interdiction as the notice apparently seeks to impose.

You will bring this matter to the attention of the Imperial Government, with a view of securing the American whaling fleet against molestation when seeking the harbors of the coasts and islands referred to, for purposes legitimately connected with or incident to the object of their voyage.

I am, etc.,

T. F. Bayard.
[Inclosure 1 in No. 141.]

Commodore Harmony to Mr. Bayard.

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith, for the information of the Department of State, a copy of a letter from the commanding officer of the Thetis, dated July 19 last, covering the original of a notice given by the commanding officer of the Russian corvette Aleut to the master of the American whaling ship Belvedere, for the government of foreigners engaged in the whaling trade on the coast of East Siberia.

Very respectfully, etc.,

D. B. Harmony.
[Page 1411]
[Inclosure 2 in No. 141.]

Mr. Emory to Mr. Whitney.

Sir: I have the honor to inclose a notice that was served upon the whaling ship Belvedere by the commanding officer of the Russian corvette Aleut during the whaling season of 1887. The Belvedere at the time was at anchor in Plover Bay, to which harbor she had gone to make necessary repairs. Captain Sherman, the present master of the Belvedere, gave me this letter, with the request that I would forward it through the proper channels in order that the vessels of the whaling fleet may be allowed to anchor in the ports of the Siberian coast other than Petropaulovski. I am informed from reliable sources that from stress of weather or accident the vessels of the whaling fleet are obliged to seek such ports as Plover Bay in order to repair damages, and that they can not comply with the regulations of the inclosed notice, and are therefore, if forced into harbors other than Petropaulovski, liable to seizure. It is a matter of great importance to our whaling industry that the vessels composing the fleet should be permitted to seek a harbor of refuge at any port of the Siberian coast without molestation.

If the limited supply of coal in these waters permits, the Thetis, after her departure from the whaling ground, will visit Plover Bay, and communicate with the commanding officer of the Aleut, and request his kind offices should any of our vessels need a harbor or assistance.

For the information of the Department, I would add that some of our whaling ships have bartered whisky with the Indians, and that the difficulty, of ascertaining what ships engage in this illegal traffic is the cause of this prohibitory notice.

I have, etc.,

W. H. Emory,
Lieutenant-Commander, Commanding.
[Inclosure 3 in No. 141.]


It is not allowed to the foreigners hunting for the whales to enter in our bays and gulfs, or approach to our shores and islands of Bering and Okhotsk Seas and of Peninsula Kamsckatkas nearer than five miles, because in these places the owners of whale fishing are Russian traders.
The captains of foreign vessels by no means can not leave off their men for punishment, or any other reason, on desert coasts of Russian Empire; they can not also repair at these coasts their ships or store them, but for all that it is allowed to the captains go in Petropaulovski. During the anchorage here the whale fishing is forbidden, and all the foreigners are obliged to perform all the reglaments (sic) of this port.
Without permission of local government it is not allowed to foreigners to trade on our shores with natives, or to wood, or to boil the whale’s oil. The permission on all that must be received from the government of East Siberia in Vladlvostock.
J. Podispolsay,
I. R. N., Commander of the Aleut