No. 16.
Mr. Bayard to Sir L. S. Sackville West.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 11th instant, received yesterday afternoon, informing me of a telegraphic communication from the commander-in-chief of Her Majesty’s naval forces in the Pacific, dated at Victoria, British Columbia, August 7, reporting the seizure of three British Columbian sealing schooners “in Behring Sea, a long distance from Sitka,” and that “several other vessels were in sight being towed in.”

The reference to my note to you of the 3d of February last, which you make under the instruction of the Marquis of Salisbury, has caused me to examine the expressions contained therein, and I can discover no ground whatever for the assumption by Her Majesty’s Government that it contained assurances “that pending the conclusion of discussions between the two Governments on general questions involved, no further seizures would be made by order of the United States Government.”

Until your note of the 11th instant was received, I had no information of the seizure of the sealing vessels therein referred to, and have no knowledge whatever of the circumstances under which such seizures ihave been made.

I shall at once endeavor to supply myself with the information necessary to enable me to reply to you more fully.

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The cases of seizure referred to in my note of February 3, 1887, bad occurred during the previous August, and upon the basis of the information then obtained I wrote you as follows:

In this connection I take the occasion to inform you that, without conclusion at this time of any questions which may he found to be involved in these cases of seizure, orders have been issued by the President’s direction for the discontinuance of all pending proceedings, the discharge of the vessels referred to, and the release of all persons under arrest in connection therewith.

Having no reason to anticipate any other seizures, nothing was said in relation to the possibility of such an occurrence, nor do I find in our correspondence on the subject any grounds for such an understanding as you inform me had been assumed to exist by Her Britannic Majesty’s Government.

A short time since, when you called upon me and personally obtained copies of the record of the judicial proceedings in the three cases of seizure in August last in Behring Sea, nothing was said in relation to other cases. Whether the circumstances attendant upon the cases which you now report to me are the same as those which induced the Executive to direct the releases referred to, remains hereafter to be ascertained, and this with as little delay as the circumstances will permit.

I have, etc.,

T. F. Bayard.