Seizure and confiscation of the schooner James Hamilton Lewis.

The American schooner James Hamilton Lewis was detained and confiscated under the following circumstances:

On the 21st of July (August 2), at 4.40 a.m., from on board the screw ship Aleout, Russian man-of-war, coming from the western coast of the island of Medny, and being about 2 miles north of the southern extremity of that island, a sailing schooner was sighted ahead nearing the shore to northeast which was found to be the American schooner James Hamilton Lewis, from San Francisco, under command of Captain MacLean. Having orders from his superiors to effectually protect the Russian fisheries of Bering Sea against foreign marauders, Captain Brandt advanced immediately upon the suspected schooner, which was, judging from the clearness with which her sails were visible, at a distance of 6 miles at the most from the Aleout, and of 5 miles at most from the southern extremity of the island of Medny. (See the points A, B, and C on the appended chart.) Remarking the conduct of the man-of-war, the American schooner veered immediately to the southeast and fled under full sail. The Aleout, increasing her speed, went in pursuit of the James Hamilton Lewis, from the deck of which some objects were being thrown overboard. On approaching the latter at 6.15 the Aleout hoisted her colors and fired a blank shot, upon which the sailing schooner lay to. Lieutenant Lebedew and Ensign Engmann were sent in a ship’s boat to board her, and received at first, by way of explanation from Captain MacLean, that the afore-named schooner was engaged in fishing and hunting of sea birds; that it carried a crew of 25 men, and that it had already delivered the fruits of their industry to another schooner off the coast of Alaska. On investigation it was found that the present crew numbered 22 men in all. In the main hold were evidences of a hasty removal of objects and a washing (a tub with reddened water, covered with a shirt, etc.); also a large quantity of salt in the scantling along the ship’s side and in sacks, with seal skins scattered about. Moveover, upon the schooner were found a great many arms, powder, and paraphernalia for catching seals. In the schooner’s log book delivered by the captain the last entry related to the 7th (19th) of June; the ship’s journal bore no inscription. In consequence of the report of Lieutenant Lebedew as to what he had found, Captain Brandt sent this same officer again with six sailors to the schooner James Hamilton Lewis to notify the captain that the vessel was seized and to order him to report with a portion of his crew on board the Aleout. Not only did Captain MacLean refuse to comply with this order, but made an insolent reply, as did also his mate, MacDonald, and, weighing anchor, attempted to sail away from the boat, seeing which Lieutenant [Page 297]Lebedew fired his revolver in air by way of signaling his commander. The Aleout in great haste fired a cannon shot ahead and gave verbal order to the American vessel to lay to. The latter, however, continued her course in the same direction. A second shot was fired into her rigging, and the order to lay to was repeated, but without result, after which the Aleout, sailing in front of the James Hamilton Lewis, barred her course. The American vessel, after a third shot fired at her starboard side, was overhauled at 11 or 12 miles off the island of Medny and taken in tow. After an inspection in detail of the arrested schooner a large number of seal skins were discovered and a new bag net for catching beaver, and two seal skins so small that from their age they could not have been killed elsewhere than on the shore. Deciding to confiscate the American vessel for illegal fishing in Russian waters, Captain Brandt dispatched her to Petropavlosk and Vladivostok, under the command of Lieutenant Lebedew. Captain MacLean, with the crew, was likewise dispatched by special steamer under surveillance on account of the resistance he had made to his arrest. A statement was drawn up relating all of the measures taken by the Aleout. Captain MacLean set forth his views in his protest of August 12, 1891. (See Exhibits I, II, III, IV, V, VI, and VII.)

objections to the grounds of the case.

All of the facts above mentioned are exactly confirmed by the reports duly submitted by the officers of the Russian man-of-war, by the log book of the latter, by the chart showing the locality where the incident occurred, and by the formal statements drawn up on the subject of the seizure of the American schooner. These documents on account of their contents and of their import can not be invalidated by the allegations devoid of sufficient proofs furnished by persons interested in the case. It is therefore proper to consider as an established fact that the schooner James Hamilton Lewis having in the morning approached the coast of the Medny Island, concerning which restrictive measures had been taken, and being at the most 5 miles off the southern extremity of this island, veered about suddenly on perceiving the Aleout, which appeared unexpectedly in her course; that it endeavored in every way to elude the latter in open sea, and that thanks solely to the great speed of the Aleout it was obliged to lay to, on hearing the warning cannon shot; that Captain MacLean’s first explanations were not truthful and were given the lie at once by the Russian officer, who discovered the true character of the American schooner, having satisfactory proof that the aforesaid captain, seeing himself convicted of falsehood, endeavored to extricate himself by flight, and after a useless resistance to the orders of Captain Brandt, yielded finally to Russian arms; that upon the detained schooner were found hidden evidences of recent seal fishing and two skins of seals so young that they could not have been killed elsewhere than upon the shore of the Commander Island.

All of these facts sufficiently prove that on the 21st July (August 2), 1891, the schooner James Hamilton Lewis was at sea with the secret intention of continuing, off the Medny Island, the occupation of illegal seal fishing, while the product of her former catch was already stored away in the hold of the vessel, and that fear alone of having to answer for his actions explains Captain MacLean’s behavior.

[Page 298]

Certainly the important allegations made by the latter that he had approached shore to verify his chronometer could not be substantiated by any of the ship’s documents, calculations, etc. This statement appears as unlikely as his other explanations, which were totally untrue, particularly his statements that the two skins of small seals found aboard were skins of animals taken from the bodies of their mothers which had been killed in mid seas, which are contradicted by the testimony of an expert, the chief of the Commander Islands, rendered upon the basis of an examination of the actual objects under discussion; and for this reason the opinions presented by the claimant on the subject of the modus vivendi of seals of both sexes are not convincing in the matter. Finally, the refusal of the captain to comply with the order of the commander of the Russian man-of-war constitutes strong proof of his guilt of infraction of the order maintained in those parts.

The assertion of the party claimant that the schooner James Hamilton Lewis had not previously entered Russian territorial waters and had but that very day approached the Medny Island merits special attention. This essential circumstance of the affair should be, above all, proven by the vessel itself, more particularly as the Russian officer asked to see the documents which would indicate the previous course of the American schooner in open sea or in proximity to the coast. In any event Captain MacLean, intentionally it would seem, turned over only the official log book, which had no bearing upon the present question, but withheld the daily journal, in which the vessel’s exact course could be determined by the daily entries.

Realizing, therefore, the extreme importance of having failed in this particular and of not having performed his duty, the party claimant then refers in its claim to extracts or copies from the log book, wherein were noted the geographical positions of the James Hamilton Lends at different stages of her voyage, but the original documents remained always in its own hands, and were never shown except during verbal explanations with the representative of the United States in 1898. Finally, owing to repeated demands by the defendant party, on the 21st of May of this same year, that is to say, six years and nine months after the incident of the 21st of July (August 12), 1891, said log book was transmitted to the defendant party, after which, by Russian authority, the following note was made upon the original: “This log book has been examined by the minister of marine and returned to the minister of foreign affairs by an act of August 4, 1898, No. 527.” This inscription is not found in the copy of the document now given to the defendant party, which fact he believes necessary to state here.

It would be difficult to find an explanation giving ground for a favorable interpretation of the fact that the log book of the schooner James Hamilton Lewis, as principal proof of his full right, was not presented at the critical moment of his seizure. The least likely explanation would assuredly be that of lack of confidence, which must have been offensive, on the part of the captain toward the commander of the Russian man-of-war. Still less comprehensible is the delay of the party claimant to present this justificatory document, to which both parties can not fail to attach the greatest importance, in the examination of the claim, and for this reason the defendant must be circumspect in regard to his admission of the authenticity of its contents. [Page 299]Having examined the original in 1898, he was convinced of the utter inapplication of that element of proof to the defendant’s interests. The log book represents a record of the fishing trip of the schooner James Hamilton Lewis. On the title page is written, “Illegally seized August 2 by the Russian man-of-war Aleout.” That is to say, there is a note foretelling that which took place about five months after the departure of the vessel from San Francisco, the 7th of March, 1891. The impression is at once given that this title and the corresponding text were written after the events of which the log book should serve as decisive proofs. This opinion is corroborated by the outward suspicious appearance of the document in question; the inscriptions are made with the same ink, and appear to be copied from some other record; they have not the appearance of inscriptions made on different dates during the entire period between the 7th of March and the month of August, 1891, but all at one time. The added protest of Captain MacLean at the end of the diary and the mention of the number of seals killed at sea in 1891, viz, 424 seals illegally caught, equally testify to the ulterior composition of the document, the value of which could only consist in having been preserved intact, such as it was on the 21st of July (August 2), 1891. All of the above data is convincing that aboard the James Hamilton Lewis at the time of her seizure there were no regular entries as to her daily navigation in the ship’s journal, as has been previously shown in the act of confiscation on the 30th July (August 11), 1891. (Exhibit II.) Consequently the log book presented by the claimant does not furnish proof of an alibi of the vessel in question; on the contrary, it serves as better evidence for the party opposed to the claim. The James Hamilton Lewis had not noted her position at sea on the eve of her seizure, although she was undoubtedly at that time in the proximity of the Russian coast and was engaged in illegal sealing.

In view of these facts, the defendant party concludes that the marauding character of the schooner James Hamilton Lewis in Russian waters is sufficiently proven; therefore the Russian Government confirms the decision relating to the confiscation of the vessel, by its sovereign right, and in defense of its legitimate interests against all infringements thereon.

There can be no question as to the right of the constituted agents to pursue delinquent vessels beyond territorial waters, as was done in the present case, when the war ship sighted the schooner in the proximity of Russian coasts; that is to say, 5 miles from the shore, and overhauled her finally at a distance of from 11 to 12 miles from the Medny Island. Therein the principles of the liberty of the high seas are not violated, as they are understood by the representatives of contemporaneous science.

The question which suggests itself here is the one until now contested, viz, what is the extent of the “territorial sea,” but in this respect it must be remembered that according to the accepted principle of international law, the limits of territorial waters are really deter mined by the possibility for the bordering State to establish its sovereignty over a certain extent of sea constituting a prolongation of its territory. (Terræ dominum finitur ubi finitur armorum vis.) With the resources of defense which nations have at the present time at their command, the perfection of firearms, the complexity of the conditions of existence, need of order, military, financial, and economical, [Page 300]all limitations too narrow for the full manifestation of the sovereignty of a country, as, for instance, the fixation at 3 marine miles as the limit of territorial waters of which the party claimant makes mention, should be considered as arbitrary, devoid of all practical sense, and not serving their ends. In any case, the limits of territorial waters according to the doctrine of international law most recently accepted should be extended not only beyond 3 miles, but even beyond 5 miles, starting from low-water mark. (Session de Paris de 1894 de l’Institut de droit international.)

It would be well, moreover, to take into consideration the particulars of the present case arising from acts whose object it is to legally protect the seal fisheries in Bering Sea. From the facts set forth in detail in the case of C. H. White (third case) it appears that the United States had come to recognize the necessity for exceptional measures in this respect, yet in spite of these exigencies regarding prohibited zones, went beyond that which was deemed necessary by the Russian Government.

The defendant party does not intend to sustain here the point of view of the American Government according to which seals, not being feræ naturæ, are domestic animals having the animus rivertendi characteristic of the latter; but it believes it well to recall that at the time the claimant supported that opinion before the arbitration tribunal of Paris, in claiming a property right over all the seals that frequented the islands of Pribilof, American marauders were exterminating seals on the Russian coasts of Commander Islands. The United States Government then arrived at the conclusion that it was necessary to entirely interdict the killing of seals in open sea (pelagic sealing), with a view to preserving that race of animals in the Pacific Ocean. (Revue de droit international, 1893. Tome XXV, p. 434, etc.) After setting forth the above points, which in the opinion of the defendant party render inapplicable the principles invoked by the party claimant as the basis of the affair, it is useless to enter into an examination of the several points of the claim, limiting oneself to the following remarks:

With regard to the allegations not sustained by sufficient proofs concerning the bad treatment to which the men of the crew of the James Hamilton Lewis may have been subjected, it is well to note that, on the contrary, the men themselves made the most violent’ resistance to the orders of the officers of the cruiser Aleout, by which they made necessary decisive measures on the part of the Russian authorities. The defendant party energetically protests against these allegations which are not proven. To contest this portion of the claim, of which the total reaches the sum of $34,000, as well as the claims for indemnity for losses on the value of the confiscated vessel ($25,000) and her cargo ($5,936), also that in regard to the claim for indemnity for the loss of a probable profit ($36,400) and interest ($54,721.44), It suffices to refer to the explanations given concerning similar questions in the cases of Cape Horn Pigeon, C. H White, and Kate and Anna. (Cases I, II, III.)

There still remains to be mentioned that the compromise recently proposed in regard to the payment of a sum of $82,000 instead of $156,057.44, now claimed, plainly shows that the first calculations of the claimant were not well founded.

[Page 301]


In view of all the preceding, the defendant requests that the demands of the claimant be rejected upon all points.


Report of the commander of the schooner Aleout, dated August 3, 1891, No. 385.
Proceedings of the confiscation of the schooner James Hamilton Lewis, dated July 30 (August 11), 1891, No. 383.
Report of Lieutenant Lebedew, July 22, 1891, No. 41.
Report of same officer dated July 23 of the same year, No. 42.
Certified copy of the report of the captain of frigate Brandt, October 20, 1891, No. 489.
Legalized extract from the log book of the schooner Aleout on the subject of her navigation on July 21, 1891.
Chart showing locality where the incident occurred, annexed to the report, No. 489.

The defendant party places the originals of these documents at the disposal of the arbitrator.


Report of the Commander of the Schooner Aleout to the Commander of the Port of Vladivostok, dated August 3, 1891. No. 385.

I have the honor to report to your excellency that on the morning of July 4, off the southern extremity of the Medney Island, from on board the schooner commanded by me, was sighted a two-mast sailing vessel approaching the island, which, having sighted the Aleout, fled under full sail. For the purpose of inspecting, I overhauled her 12 miles from the island, and having made the inspection, suspecting her of engaging in illegal sealing, I detained and confiscated her on discovering aboard many seal skins salted down, arms, powder, and shot. This incident is set forth in the act hereunto annexed of the confiscation of the schooner. This act has been read and signed by the captain of the schooner and in this act his protest is set forth. All of the seal skins were turned over by me to the chief of district of the Commander Islands to be sent to London and sold on behalf of the Government, thinking thus to obtain better prices than at Vladivostok.

The schooner was at once conducted to Petropavlosk, and will thence be sent to Vladivostok under command of Lieutenant Lebedew. As it was impossible to spare enough men from the Aleout, I placed 6 of her sailors aboard the sailing vessel with 6 of the American crew already there. Captain MacLean and the 10 remaining men of his crew I put under surveillance, to be sent on the steamer Vladivostok to Vladivostok, in conformity with instructions which I received, on account of the resistance made when arrested, when it proved necessary to take decisive measures to compel her to stop her course. While the attitude of the crew was for the most part apparently passive, next to the captain the most noticeable was the first mate, MacDonald, who, according to accounts, not entirely confirmed, however, drew a knife at the moment of arrest; therefore I decided to send the entire crew to Vladivostok, that the local authorities might pass upon the matter. The chief of district of Petropavlosk, in view of the great need of boats by the inhabitants of that town and the neighboring villages, asked me if I could not sell some of the boats of the confiscated vessel. I consented, and of the six boats I authorized the sale of three at auction. The sum realized by this sale will be handed by me to the administrator of the port of Vladivostok. I also transmit herewith to your excellency the ship’s papers of the confiscated schooner James Hamilton Lewis. I send the said documents by steamer Vladivostok, although the sailing vessel Lewis will probably reach Vladivostok before the steamer.

Captain of Frigate Brandt.
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Decree of the Confiscation of the American Sailing Schooner James Hamilton Lewis off the Commander Islands by the Screw Ship Aleout, Petropaylosk, July 30 (Decree August 11), 1891. No. 383.

On the 21st of July (August 2), 1891, near the Isle of Medney, off the western coast of said isle and 3 miles north of its southern extremity, at 4.40 a.m., a schooner was sighted bearing, as it appeared, to northeast and approaching the island.

For the purpose of inspecting we advanced straight upon her, but, sighting us, she filled away, augmenting sails. While pursuing her we noticed that something was being hurriedly thrown overboard. At 6.15 we neared her and, hoisting our colors, fired a blank shot, on which the vessel hoisted the American flag and lay to. Two officers, sent to board her, returned reporting that she was a sailing vessel from San Francisco bearing the name James Hamilton Lewis, and that on board were guns, many cartridges, powder and shot, slender rods of bamboo with hooks and grappling irons for drawing seals from the water, 6 long boats and a crew of 16 men, a large quantity of salt, and evident signs of the operation of removing the skins from seals. In the official log book which was produced the last inscription was on the 7th (19th) of June. The journal of navigation bore no inscription.

Taking this data into consideration, an officer was sent, with 6 sailors, to inform the captain that his schooner was under detention, and to require him to report with a portion of his crew on board the schooner Aleout The captain refused to comply with this order, and sailed away. Leaving the ship’s boat to follow, the schooner Aleout pursued the vessel, and, in order to compel her to stop, fired a cannon ahead, in spite of which, and the verbal order to come to, the schooner did not lay to, but continued her course. The Aleout passed close under her stern and, repeating the verbal order to stop, fired a second shot into her forward rigging. The James Hamilton Lewis did not lay to, but continued her flight.

The Aleout increasing her speed barred the way, when the James Hamilton Lewis, fouling the starboard side of the Aleout, was seized and taken in tow. Captain MacLean with his entire crew was conducted on board the Aleout and was informed that his vessel was seized and would be taken to Nicolsk, on Bering Island. Being taken in tow, the James Hamilton Lewis was, upon inspection, found to contain a large quantity of seal skins, a bag net for catching sea otters, and two skins of small seals, which from their tender age, according to the opinion of an expert, the chief of the Commander Islands, could not have been killed elsewhere than upon the shore. The ship’s papers were taken, and the captain was informed that the vessel James Hamilton Lewis was confiscated for having engaged in illegal and unauthorized hunting in Russian waters.

  • Ensign Engmann.
  • Ensign Kolioubavine.
  • Ensign Trentovius.
  • Lieutenant Sachs.
  • Lieutenant Lebedew.
  • Captain of Frigate Brandt,
    Commanding Screw Ship Aleout.
  • Alexander MacLean.

I, the undersigned, do hereby protest, in behalf of the schooner James Hamilton Lewis and her owners against the illegal seizure of said vessel, her cargo, and hunting outfit and tackle, made by the Russiam man-of-mar Aleout, the 2d of August, 1891, upon the high seas and neutral waters of the ocean.

All seal skins on board of said schooner were killed upon the water with shotguns, and the pup skins were taken from the inside of the seals after they were taken on board of the vessel, and there had been no seals taken on board of the vessel for forty hours previous to the time of seizure. I hereby hold the Russian man-of-war Aleout and her Government responsible for the detention and losses caused by the illegal seizure of said schooner, with her tackling and cargo and hunting outfit.

Alexander MacLean,
Master of Schooner J. H. Lewis.

[Page 303]


Report of Lieutenant Lebedew to the Commander of the Screw Schooner Aleout.

On the 21st of July, as we sailed in sight of the island of Medny, in obedience to your order, I left the ship commanded by you, and taking my place in a long boat at about 7 a.m., with Ensign Engmann, I advanced upon a schooner carrying the American flag, which lay to at a distance of about 3 cables’ length to leeward. Having covered about half the distance I read upon the stern of the schooner the name James Hamilton Lewis, San Francisco.

Approaching her from windward, I boarded her on the starboard side and ascended to the deck and put the following question: “Who is captain here? I must speak with him.” A man approached who said he was captain of the schooner. I next asked him if he was the ship’s owner, to which he replied in the negative, and designated as owner a certain Lewis or some such name. To my question, What was the schooner’s business, he replied; “Hunting and fishing” (hunting of sea birds). When I asked the number of men in the crew he at first replied 25, but when I required the captain to call all of his men on deck and asked him for his ship’s papers and the log book to verify the crew, he delivered his papers and informed me that his crew numbered 22, but that two had deserted and four had been lost in the fog while fishing off Sandy Point.

Having told the captain that I was sent by the commander of the Russian man-of-war to inspect his vessel, I left Ensign Engmann on the deck to watch the crew, and I with the captain descended to the hold; There I ordered the removal of the planks beneath which were casks of fresh water. Then I ordered a hand pump to be brought, and while the captain busied himself lifting the planks I put the pump in place and began to examine this place, and found there salt piled in sacks along the sides and a quantity loose upon the floor. There was also a tub containing reddened water covered with a red flannel shirt. Over all were noticeable signs of a hasty putting to rights and of washing.

To my question where they keep the fish they had caught, the captain answered that the cargo had already been transported to another schooner off the coast of Alaska, and that they had but this very day arrived in our waters. Pretending to be satisfied with these replies, I next inspected the quarters of the crew. These quarters were very narrow and communicated with the kitchen or galley by means of a window or slide through which dishes could be passed. I next inspected the cabin astern, containing eight beds, and bunks in which four more persons could easily sleep. At the end of the common cabin there was a door opening into the captain’s cabin; I did not enter there. Along the partitions near the bunks I saw eight guns of different models, and there also were wooden rods in greater number than the guns. Returning to the deck I examined the long boats; in one there was a box covered with a coarse red cloth containing ship’s biscuit and other edibles; in another were two bamboo rods with pointed ends and iron hooks. Having informed the captain that I must show his log book to my commander, I received it and left in the boat to return to the Aleout, where I made my verbal report of all I had seen and heard, and expressed the opinion that the arrested schooner was a poacher and not merely engaged in fishing and hunting. Having then received orders to return to the vessel with a quartermaster and five armed sailors to bring the captain and a portion of his crew aboard the Aleout, and to assume command of the schooner to conduct her whither you should order, I left in the rowboat. During this time the distance between the Aleout and the schooner had noticeably increased. Approaching the James Hamilton Lewis I ascended to the deck, boarding her on starboard side, and delivered your order to the captain. I received by way of answer that he could not leave his vessel at sea, and if my commander desired to speak with him he could come to him. This reply was received with marked approval by a portion of the crew: “Certainly; let him come to us if he wishes; we are beyond Russian waters,” etc.

During my interview with the captain one of his men seemed especially to sustain him; it proved to be the first mate; the latter passed back of me as if to seize me from behind; I turned suddenly upon him and informed him he would wait a long time for my commander to come aboard, and that the captain and crew would do well to comply at once with his orders. I had not finished speaking when the vessel filled away, leaning dangerously above our small boat, and sailed away. Then I returned in the ship’s boat to the Aleout to report to you.

On nearing the Aleout I called to you Fire upon them, they are rascals.” Scarcely hoping that you had heard me, I pointed to the flying vessel and fired my revolver [Page 304]in air. Approaching still nearer, I heard your order to follow in the ship’s boat, which I did, endeavoring to avoid any interference with your movements or your guns. I submit this my report of the preceding.

Lieutenant Lebedew.


Report of Lieutenant Lebedew to the Commander of the Screw Ship Aleout, dated July 23, 1891, No. 42.

In addition to my report of July 22 (No. 41), I now report to you that while towing the James Hamilton Lewis from the island of Medny to Bering Island the schooner was by me searched in detail. There were found aboard of her guns underneath the mattresses. A pocket revolver was taken from the cook; in the galley were found two small seal skins hanging on nails in the partition to dry; in the forehold, under the trap, ten or more large tin boxes containing gunpowder; in the hold to starboard of traps were wooden boxes filled with large shot and cartridges, and similar cartridges and shots were found under the bunks and beds in the after cabin.

Under a platform and under the mess table were cases filled with cartridges of larger caliber, charged with shrapnel; other boxes contained cartridge shells which had not been filled. There was also a large bag net, quite new, worth $600, as said the American sailors who remained aboard the schooner; this bag net was used for catching sea otters.

During the inspection of the main hold by the quartermaster, Lestchew, it was found upon scattering the salt piled on the floor that seal skins had been packed therein. Being convinced that among the sacks containing salt one had been hastily filled with seal skins, I ordered that all be left intact until the examination by the commission; that is to say, until the arrival in the village of Nikolsky, on Bering Island.

Lieutenant Lebedew.


Report of the Commander of the Screw Schooner Aleout to the Commander of the Port of Vladivostok, dated October 20, 1891, No. 489.

[Resolutions sent to the military governor. Signed, K. A. Ermolaiew, October 23.]

In fulfillment of the order of October of the present year, I make report that, according to the log book of the schooner under my command, being on the morning of July 21 off the southern extremity of the island of Medny, I sighted the sailing vessel James Hamilton Lewis. At that moment the sails were distinctly visible, and the schooner was bearing toward the southern extremity of the island. To better elucidate the circumstances, I transmit herewith an extract from the ship’s log and a chart, upon which is indicated the point at which the schooner commanded by me was situated when the sailing vessel was sighted (point “A”). Judging from the clearness with which her sails could be seen, the utmost limit of distance between the two vessels could not have exceeded 6 miles; that is to say, the James Hamilton Lewis was not more than 5 miles off the southern extremity of the Medny Island; that is, at point “C.”

At this moment she neared the shore until she sighted the Aleout, when she veered quickly and, augmenting sails, hastily fled beyond the limit of territorial waters.

The schooner was seized at point “B,” which was 13 miles from the point “A” and 11 miles from Medny Island.

Captain of Frigate Brandt.


Extract prom the Log Book of the Schooner Aleout Concerning the Navigation of July 21, 1891.

At 4.40 a.m. a sailing vessel was sighted, bearing to northeast, which at once veered about and passed to southeast before the wind; we accelerated the engine to 80 turns. At 5 o’clock the crew were aroused. Prayer and breakfast. At 5.47 carrying

[Page [Map 8]] [Page []] [Page 305]

of coal from the hold to the coal bins. At 6.15, nearing the schooner, we fired a blank shot, upon which the sailing vessel hoisted the American flag and fled. At 6.20 we lowered a long boat and sent two officers to inspect her. It was found that aboard the schooner, named James Hamilton Lewis, was a quantity of salt, piled in the hold and in sacks, also powder and bamboo rods, with hooks and grappling irons for lifting seals from the water. On the return of the boat the crew was armed with revolvers.

At 7 o’clock the rowboat, with an officer and a number of the crew, were again sent to detain the vessel. The captain refused to quit his vessel, and sailed on. Leaving the rowboat to follow, we quickened our speed and pursued the schooner. At 7.43 we fired a gun ahead, but the schooner continued her flight in the same direction. Fog began to gather.

At 8 o’clock, according to report, all goes well; there are no sick men, no men under arrest, no water in the hold.

The captain of the sailing vessel obstinately continued his course, and struck our schooner with his bowsprit a little ahead of the bridge. Her jib boom became tangled with the starboard beam; the jib boom was broken, but the shock was deadened, and the vessel hove alongside, shattering the hammocks in two places, and with one of her sideboards tore the port edge of the starboard side, bent the beam of the stern boat, damaged the awning stay, and scratched the side with her port anchor, which then became detached and fell into the sea. In the meantime Ensign Trentovius, with a portion of the crew, boarded the sailing vessel, which lay alongside, and ordered the captain to report to the commander of the Aleout. As the vessel was still under sail and striking our side, in brailing up sails she cut a part of our rigging. At 8.25 we tendered her a tow cable; and the boat which had approached in the meantime went to get the remainder of the crew. There were 16 men of the crew, of whom 4 were at once placed aboard the James Hamilton Lewis, and 12, with Captain MacLean, were left on board the Aleout. Lieutenant Lebedew with 6 men were left aboard the sailing vessel; at 8.50 we started.

Lieutenant Tchernikow,
Officer of the Pilot Corps.


Annex to the Report No. 489.

Point from which was sighted the schooner James Hamilton Lewis.
Point at which the schooner James Hamilton Lewis lay to and was overhauled by the Aleout.
Supposed situation of the James Hamilton Lewis when it was sighted by the schooner Aleout.
Captain of Frigate Brandt.

Certified conformedly.

J. Stebline-Kamensky,
Deputy of Jurisconsulate of Minister of Marine.