No. 7
12th June 1855
My Lord
In my Despatch of the 18th May last I had the honor of transmitting copy of a Report from Mr Charles Griffin, adverting to an outrage committed by certain American citizens on the Island of San Juan, and also a copy of a letter on that subject which I addressed to Mr Stevens Governor of Washington Territory for the United States,toManuscript image to which no reply had been received at the date of my Despatch. I have now the honor of transmitting for your Lordship's information the reply of Governor Stevens to my said communication.
The objects I had chiefly in view in addressing him, on that occasion, were to ascertain if the American party had authority from the Federal Officers, for their proceedings, and if the latter were disposed to exert the authority vested in them, by the laws of the United States to put down evil courses, and to aid in maintaining the peace of the country until the question of boundary is settled.
On those subjects however Governor Stevens maintains a guarded reserve, and the whole tenor of his communication is so little explicit, as to leave a strong impression on my mind, that the proceedings of the American party on San Juan, were certainly not discouraged by the Federal authorities of Washington Territory.
It Manuscript image
It would clearly be conducive to the best interests of this and the neighbouring American settlements, if the Executive Authorities on both sides would honestly unite in maintaining the peace, but I am of opinion that no such concert can be looked for, from the authorities of the United States, owing partly to a fear of displeasing the mob, and perhaps in some measure to a feeling of their own strength, as contrasted with our inferior numbers.
A county officer of Washington Territory lately made a demand on the British inhabitants of San Juan, for an account of all their taxable property, which they refused to render him.
I therefore think it probable that further attempts will be made to levy taxes there, for the Territory of Washington in course of the present year, and I apprehend further difficulties from that cause.
I have the honor to be
Your Lordships most obedient humble Servant
James Douglas

The Right Honble Lord John Russel [Russell]
Her Majesty's principal Secretary of State
For the Colonial Department
Minutes by CO staff
Manuscript image
Mr Merivale
The last desph of the 18 May on this subject has not been acted upon. It is in circulation.
ABd 11 Augt
Foreign office with 6759. I have included it in that reference. This looks a little serious, & it is satisfactory to learn from 7548 that some war steamers were likely to visit the coast.
HM Aug 11
WM A 13
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
Manuscript image
Isaac I. Stevens to Douglas, 12 May 1855, arguing that the islands in the Arro Archipelago were deemed by an American law to fall within the jurisdiction of Whatcomb County, and that the county sheriff was acting on the authority vested in him by that law in attempting to collect taxes on San Juan Island.