No. 6
19 February 1859
I have the honor to communicate for your information circumstances which have lately come to my knowledge respecting the proceedings of certain American Citizens in regard to the Island ofManuscript imageof San Juan, part of the disputed Territory in the Archipelago de Arro.
2. As the question of Sovereignty was not until lately discussed, I have always treated that Island as a dependency of Vancouver's Island, and a part of the British Dominions, according to the instructions contained in Secretary Sir George Grey's Despatch No 4 of the 21st September 1854, a copy of which is herewith enclosed for ready reference. I moreover appointed John Charles Griffin, Esquire, Justice of the Peace for that District, with authority to KeepManuscript imageKeep the Peace, and to punish offences within the jurisdiction of that office.
The Hudson's Bay Company also formed an extensive stock farm on the same Island, and which they still maintain.
4. Our occupation of the Island has therefore been general and complete, as well as undisturbed by Citizens of the United States.
5. A number of American Citizens have, however, lately employed a person to make Surveys, and to plot out certain parts of San Juan Island, (including the portions of the lands enclosed and cultivated byManuscript imageby the Servants of the Hudson's Bay Company,) for the purpose of settlement, and there is no doubt that the whole Island will soon be occupied by a squatter population of American Citizens, if they do not receive an immediate check.
6. This movement has, I have no doubt, been commenced by some designing person exciting and working upon the minds of ignorant masses, with the view of hastening the settlement of the Boundary question, and fortifying the claims of the United States Government.
7. The course is one full ofManuscript imageof danger, and I fear that Her Majesty's Government would not approve of my adopting measures for the summary and forcible ejection of squatters, while the question of sovereignty remains avowedly in dispute; at the same time circumstances may call for decisive action.
8. I have no hopes of inducing the Governor of Washington Territory to take joint measures with me to prevent any occupation of San Juan and the other Islands of the Arro Archipelago, pending the question of sovereignty.
IManuscript image9. I would recommend in the juncture an arrangement being entered into, having for its object the preservation of peace, and embodying as a condition of primary importance, that Great Britain and the United States will unite in preventing the settlement of the Islands in question, by ejecting squatters, until the line of Boundary is definitively traced and it is decided to which Power they of right belong.
10. Such an understanding between the two Countries will prevent much future evil; but whether such a measure may be adopted or not, IManuscript imageI trust I may be favored with immediate instructions for my guidance in respect to any proceedings which it may be desired I should take for the preservation of the rights of the British Crown.
I have etc.
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
It would be very desirable to send this report to the Foreign Office at an early period so as to enable us to ansr the Governor by the Mail of the 16th inst. The proposal he submits seems to me, at least, prudent & advisable.
ABd 11 Apl
Ld Carnarvon
Forn Office at once accordingly.
HM Apl 11
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Colonial Office to E. Hammond, Foreign Office, 11 April 1859, forwarding copy of the despatch, with explanation, for their immediate attention.
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Draft reply, Lytton to Douglas, No. 58, 30 April 1859.
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Draft reply, Carnarvon to Douglas, No. 77, 10 June 1859.