Mr. Lincoln to Mr. Blaine.

No. 592.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose herewith an extract from the Times newspaper of to-day containing the report of a speech made by Sir George Baden-Powell, M. P., to his constituents, relative to the Behring Sea question.

I have, etc.,

Robert T. Lincoln.
[Inclosure in No. 592.—From the London Times, January 6, 1892.]

Sir G. Baden-Powell and the Behring Sea question.

Speaking last night at a meeting of his constituents in the Kirkdale Division of Liverpool, Sir George Baden-Powell gave an account of his mission to the Behring Sea. He said that Lord Salisbury told him it was a very difficult, complex, and delicate question; that, above all things, he wanted to avoid war with the United States, but that at the same time he wanted to be strong, to show no fear in his policy, but to show that he was not going to yield one jot or tittle of British rights. [Loud cheers.] But Lord Salisbury had an additional purpose in sending him there.

Three or four years ago the Americans seized some British vessels, imprisoned the captains and crews, and fined them for taking fur seals out of the high seas. This country, of course, promptly denied that these vessels were acting illegally, and last summer and autumn, by their work in the Behring Sea, he thought they had finally brought that awkward dispute, which might have resulted in war, to arbitration, and it was his conviction that this country would win in that arbitration. [Cheers.] He spent three months in the Behring Sea investigating the full facts. When he arrived there he found three British men-of-war and seven American Government ships, the latter with instructions to seize the British sealers if they attempted to seal; but the British commissioners were able, without any breach of the peace, to make satisfactory arrangements which enabled the British sailors there to take home [Page 538] what seals they had got. [Cheers.] He had some difficulty in getting at the full facts of seal life on the American islands, but he managed to become good friends with the Americans, and parted with them affectionately, after finding out all the facts.

He discovered that no one knew where the seals went to after leaving those American islands, and he accordingly arranged that the three men-of-war placed at his service and the transport steamer which carried himself should explore all these seas. He thought they acquired, as the result of that exploration, all the facts as to the migration of the seals—facts never before known. To do this they had to go through a great deal of rough work; the weather was cold, and there was usually fog, except when there was a gale; but somehow or other he found his body thoroughly “suited to these elements, perhaps more so than to the House of Commons. [Laughter.] Lord Salisbury had been good enough to say more than once that what was done in the Behring Sea greatly exceeded his expectations and those of Her Majesty’s Government. [Cheers.]

The investigations they had made were important, but the friendliness they had established with the Americans and the Russians had yet to bear fruit; and Lord Salisbury was now very anxious that he should go back at once to Washington, there to consort with officials of the American Government and to come to a joint agreement with them in view of the approaching arbitration. He was to leave on Saturday next, but he hoped to be back after two or three weeks’ work in Washington, and to be able to report that the negotiations were as successful as the investigations. He was happy to say that both sides had not only agreed to leave the question to arbitration, but had agreed on the details of the arbitration, and he was convinced that all right-thinking public men, both in America and in this country, were delighted to find that this serious bone of contention was to be put out of sight in such a happy and peaceful manner.