Sir Julian Pauncefote to Mr. Olney.

Sir: I forwarded to Her Majesty’s secretary of state for foreign affairs copy of your note No. 384, of the 7th May last, communicating to [Page 274] me the observations of the Secretary of the Treasury upon my note of the 27th April last regarding the decrease of the number of fur seals in Bering Sea.

I have the honor to state to you that I am now in receipt of a dispatch from the Marquis of Salisbury informing me that while Her Majesty’s Government have no wish to prolong the controversy on this point, more especially in view of the arrangements which have now been made for conducting an inquiry as to the present state of the seal herd, yet it seems desirable that my note above mentioned should be supplemented with certain explanations showing how the figures therein given regarding the pelagic catch of 1894 were arrived at, in order to remove any misapprehension on the part of your Government in regard to the statements made in relation thereto.

The figures of the pelagic catch for 1894 were taken from page 42 of the statistics relating to the Bering Sea seal fisheries, recently laid before Congress as an appendix to the annual report of the Secretary of the Treasury, and the number of seals killed on the islands was found on page 6 of the printed report of the Canadian privy council, dated the 4th January, 1896, communicated to you in my note of the 23d April last.

The results are as follows:

Northwest coast 24,101
Bering Sea 31,585
Total pelagic catch 55,686
Island catch 16,030
Total 71,716

The note 25 on page 41 of the statistics already quoted seems to show that the estimate of the total pelagic catch for 1894, which is given in the letter from the Secretary of the Treasury, quoted by you in your note of the 7th May, is made up by adding to the ascertained pelagic catch on the eastern side of the Pacific the bulk of the skins landed at United States ports from localities not specified or known.

With regard to the diminution in the pelagic catch for 1895, the Secretary of the Treasury arrives at the conclusion that the average catch per vessel in Bering Sea fell off by 12 per cent in 1895, on the assumption that 59 vessels were engaged in the fishery there, and that they all completed the fishery season.

It appears, however, from the detailed reports that only 58 vessels took part in the fishery, viz, 40 British and 18 American vessels. Of these the E. B. Marvin, the Beatrice, and the Louis Olsen were seized in the course of the season and did not therefore complete their catch. Only one vessel, the Favourite, was similarly seized in 1894.

In bringing these observations to your notice, I have been instructed by my Government to state, with reference to the last paragraph of your note under reply, that owing to the notice of the “modus vivendi” having been issued so late in 1891, Her Majesty’s Government paid a large sum as compensation for interference with the sealing industry, and that they are unwilling to incur such a liability in the present season without paramount necessity being shown to justify an interruption of the fishery.

I have, etc.,

Julian Pauncefote.