It was decided that the United States had no jurisdiction in the Bering Sea beyond the three miles' limit, but the court also made regulations to prevent the wholesale slaughter of fur-bearing seals.
The north-east extremity of Siberia, and Bering Sea between the land of the Chukchis and Alaska, with the Gulf of Anadyr, are often visited by seal-hunters, and the Commander Islands off Kamchatka are valuable stations for this pursuit.
His work in connexion with the drafting of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and with the Bering Sea controversy attracted attention.
Among the measures and events distinguishing his term as president were the following: The meeting of the Pan-American Congress at Washington; the passage of the McKinley Tariff Bill and of the Sherman Silver Bill of 1890; the suppressing of the Louisiana Lottery; the enlargement of the navy; further advance in civil service reform; the convocation by the United States of an international monetary conference; the establishment of commercial reciprocity with many countries of America and Europe; the peaceful settlement of a controversy with Chile; the negotiation of a Hawaiian Annexation Treaty, which, however, before its ratification, his successor withdrew from the Senate; the settlement of difficulties with Germany concerning the Samoan Islands, and the adjustment by arbitration with Great Britain of the Bering Sea fur-seal question.
In 1892 he was appointed associate counsel for the United States on the Bering Sea Commission, and later was American counsel or agent before several important arbitral tribunals or mixed commissions, including the Alaskan Boundary Tribunal (1903), the Hague Tribunal for Arbitration of the North Atlantic Fisheries (1910), and the Anglo-American Commission (1911) for settling outstanding claims between Great Britain and the United States.
The Alaskan boundary, the Atlantic and inland fisheries, the alien labour law, the bonding privilege, the seal fishery in the Bering Sea and reciprocity of trade in certain products were among the subjects considered by the commission.
In 1877 he was counsel for Great Britain before the Anglo-American fisheries arbitration at Halifax; in 1897 he was a joint delegate to Washington with Sir Wilfrid Laurier on the Bering Sea seal question; and in1898-1899a member of the Anglo-American joint high commission at Quebec.
The business of fur-seal catching is carried on to some extent in the North Pacific and in Bering Sea by sealers from Victoria, but the returns show it to be a decreasing industry, as well as one causing friction with the United States.
Of these Iliuliuk (also called Unalaska), the oldest, settled in 17601 775, has a custom house, a Russian-Greek Church, and a Methodist Mission and orphanage, and is the headquarters for a considerable fleet of United States revenue cutters which patrol the sealing grounds of the Pribilofs; adjacent is Dutch Harbor (so named, it is said, because a Dutch vessel was the first to enter it), which is an important port for Bering Sea commerce.
The boundary between the two powers, as laid down by the treaty for purchase, was a line drawn from the middle of Bering Strait south-west to a point midway between the Aleutian and Komandorski Islands dividing Bering Sea into two parts, of which the larger was on the American side of this line.