Mr. Hubbard to Mr. Bayard.
Tokio, Japan, July 13, 1888. (Received August 8.)
Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith a copy of a note from the Japanese minister for foreign affairs dated July 7, in which I am requested to instruct the United States consuls in Japan not to ship Japanese subjects on board American vessels engaged or about to engage in otter or seal huntiug.
The reasons for such a request are set forth in the minister’s note.
In compliance with Count Okuma’s request, I have instructed the United States consul-general at Kanagawa, and through him the other consular representatives of the United States in Japan, to refrain from shipping any Japanese subjects on any American otter or seal hunting vessels.
I have the honor to inclose a copy of my communication to the United States consul-general on the subject, and hope that my action in the premises will meet the approval of the Department of State.
In order that the Department may more fully understand the immediate [Page 1850] causes which have led the Japanese Government to take the course indicated in regard to the shipment of Japanese subjects on otter and seal hunting vessels, I beg to submit a brief account of the attack on the British schooner Nemo, to which Count Okuma refers:
The Nemo is a schooner of 150 tons, owned and commanded by one Snow, a British resident of Yokohama, and was manned by Japanese sailors. The schooner is what is known as an “otter and seal hunter.”
On the 27th of May last, while the schooner was en route to the hunting grounds, it was, according to the commander’s statement, becalmed off Copper Island (Russian territory). Early on the morning of May 27, while the schooner was still becalmed, the commander put oft in a boat with a crew of six Japanese sailors, accompanied or followed by two other boats of Japanese sailors. The commander of the Nemo was the only foreigner in the boats. When about 200 yards from shore, and after the commander of the Nemo had discharged his rifle at one or more otters, his boat was fired upon by an unknown number of men concealed behind the rocks or a bluff of the shore, and using, as the commander of the Nemo supposes, Winchester rifles.
The firing was kept up with great rapidity, and all of the men in the boat, including the commander, being wounded, it was with great difficulty that the boat was gotten out of reach of the firing, the commander and one sailor being the only occupants of the boat who were able to propel it, and being both wounded, the craft moved very slowly.
When the commander’s boat got out of range of the firing (the second boat had one man wounded, but the third had not approached within range of the firing), it was ascertained that one of the Japanese had been killed outright, and two others afterwards died on the Nemo from the wounds then received.
The commander was wounded in the hand and in the thigh, but he and the other Japanese who were wounded have, I understand, about recovered.
The schooner was brought to Yokohama, where an inquiry into the affair was held by the British consul, who found that the attack was unprovoked.
I have, etc.,