Hammond to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary)
January 5 1859
With reference to your letter of the 23rd of November, I am directed by the Earl of Malmesbury to transmit to you, for the information of Secretary Sir E. Bulwer Lytton, a copy of a Despatch from Her Majesty’s Minister at Washington reporting a conversation with General Cass relative to the sale of ammunition byManuscript imageby the Hudson’s Bay Company to Indian Tribes at war with the United States.
I am, Sir,
Your most obedient humble Servant,
E. Hammond
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
It does not seem probable that the Hudson’s Bay Co. will get compensation for losses sustained by them during the hostilities between the Americans and the Indians. The hostilities are now over.
Copy to Hud. Bay Co.?
HT Irving 7 Jany
HM Jan 7
C Jany 8
EBL Jan 12
Documents enclosed with the main document (transcribed)
Manuscript image1. Napier to Malmsbury, 20 December 1858
Washington Dec 20 1858
My Lord,
In conformity with the […] of Y. L.’s Instructions No 181 of the 25th Ulto I have stated to General Cass that H. M.’s Govt disapprove of the sale of powder by the Agents of the Hudson’s Bay Co to the Indian tribes recently at war with the U. S. as well as of the purchase by the same parties of animals or other property stolen from the federal forces by the savages.
I also explained to the Secretary of State that as the agents of the Hudson’s Bay Co scattered inManuscript imagein distant and unprotected parts might incur the hostility of the Indians by cessation of their previous commerce, H. M.’s Govt trusted that the property of the Co would be protected by the U. S. forces and that the Co would be indemnified by the U. S. for any losses which they might incur through compliance with the wishes of the federal authorities. I added that I trusted the agents of thee Hudson’s Bay Co would be reimbursed for the expense which they might have incurred in the purchase and sustenance of mules or other animals obtained from the Indians and surrendered to the Officers of the U. S.
The Secretary of State being uninformed of the transactions alluded toManuscript imageto I placed in his hands for his perusal the correspondence between Colonel Clarke of the U. S. Army and Mr. Graham of Fort Vancouver inclosed in Y. L.’s despatch.
General Cass promised to give the subject his best attention and communicate with the Secretary of the Interior.
I must, however, submit to Y. L. that I do not anticipate that the Federal Govt will recognise the indemnity for damages incurred in the manoeuvre above mentioned. The Govt of the U. S. does not recognise its liability to indemnify American citizens for loss suffered in border warfare and I presume that Congress would not easily vote money for the satisfactionManuscript imagesatisfaction of a foreign corporation when their own Countrymen remain uncompensated.
In regard to the repurchase by the military authorities of the stolen animals bought by the agents of the Company from the Indians I conceive that as they were bought with a full knowledge that they had been stolen and bought apparently on the territory of the U. S. it might be more dignified in the Hudson’s Bay Co to restore them to the U. S. Army without any demand for remuneration. I will however endeavour to promote the views of the Co as far as I can do so with propriety.
AsManuscript imageAs the hostilities have now terminated the trade in ammunition may be renewed without offence and I trust that the establishments of the Co on either side of the line have not been brought into any collision with their Indian customers.
I have etc.
(signed) Napier
Other documents included in the file
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Letter from Carnarvon to Berens, forwarding the despatch.
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Reply from Merivale to Hammond, forwarding a letter from the HBC on the subject.