Fitzgerald to Merivale (Permanent Under-Secretary)
August 18, 1858
With reference to your Letter of the 20th ultimo, I am directed by the Earl of Malmesbury to transmit to you, to be laid before Secretary Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, Copies of a Despatch and of it's inclosures from Her Majesty's Minister at Washington reporting the refusal of the United States' Government togiveManuscript image give any preference over those of ordinary Creditors of that Government to the claim of Governor Douglas for the expense of certain Military Stores which he furnished in the year 1856 to the Authorities of Washington Territory.
I am, Sir,
Your most obedient humble
Wm Seymour Fitzgerald
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
The representations made to us on this subject state positively that he lent this money to Governor Stevens for the purchase of supplies. Those supplies doubtless came from the H. Bay Co's stores—Douglas being the Factor of the Company. But to pretend that they were purchased of him, the governor, and thence to deduce that he is an ordinary trade creditor, is, to my mind, at least, a mean evasion. If this view is thought the correct one the For: Office might be ansd in this sense with a view to a communication being made to Lord Napier.
And when the correspce is complete send copy thereof to Govr Douglas.
See 7189/56 & 5814/56.
ABd 20 Augt.
This seems to me a very shabby business indeed. If Govr Douglas advanced this out of his private means—or even if it was really advanced by the Company—I am inclined to think our government ought to see them harmless, without waiting for "next session."
HM Augt 20
It is simple repudiation of the most approved & discreditable manner among Americans. Lord Napier having forwarded the correspondence to Govr Douglas I suppose we shall hear from him before long on the subject either direct or through the F.O. I agree with Mr Merivale that it is for the consideration of the Govt whether Govr Douglas sd be allowed to suffer by this conduct of the Federal Govt.
C Aug 21
Let me see a draft to F.O. in the sense of Mr Blackwoods minute.
EBL Aug 21, 1858
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Merivale to Fitzgerald, 26 August 1858, explaining the situation and asking that further representations be made to the American government.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Napier, British Minister at Washington, to Malmesbury, 31 July 1858, explaining the position of the American government in their refusal to treat Douglas's claim as deserving of special attention, with enclosures.
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Cass to Napier, 12 May 1858.
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John Floyd, U.S. Secretary of War, to Napier, 8 May 1858, advising that as the claim was not for borrowed money, but rather for goods supplied, such claim would be paid in accordance with the terms given to all suppliers of goods to the American government.
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Napier to Cass, 14 May 1858, explaining that although Douglas purchased goods from his private funds for the assistance of the Americans, but did not supply money, his claim should not be considered in the same terms with American suppliers.
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Cass to Napier, 16 July 1858, enclosing a letter from Floyd.
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Floyd to Cass, 9 July 1858, advising that Congress had not appropriated any funds during the past session for payment of the debt to Douglas, and that the nature of the assistance precluded the debt from receiving special treatment.