No. 31
8 August 1859
In continuation of my Despatch No 30 of the 1st Augt I have the honor to acquaint you that after mature reflection, and with every deference to the opinionManuscript imageopinion of the council I had called, upon the subject of the occupation of the Island of San Juan by a body of American Troops, I came to the conclusion that I could not abandon the Island to such an occupation, and I determined to land a body of British Troops so that the occupation might at least be a joint one.
2. For this purpose I addressed a letter of instructions to Captain Hornby of Her Majesty's ship Tribune, a copy of which IManuscript imageI enclose, but I regret to say that Captain Hornby did not deem it advisable to carry out those instructions, for the reasons which will be found detailed in his report.
3. I cannot but regret that circumstance for I feel satisfied that the absence of a movement of this kind has only increased the confidence of the occupying party; and it places me in a difficult position, for so much time having elapsed, the carrying out of the movement atManuscript imageat this period, deprives it of most of its force.
4. I shall therefore now act as circumstances may demand.
5. The greatest excitement has arisen all over the Country, and rumours are rife that a large body of men are arming in Washington Territory, and Oregon to move Northward to assist, if need be, in the protection of their Flag.
6. I am happy to say thatManuscript imagethat Admiral Baynes arrived at Vancouver's Island in Her Majesty's Ship Ganges on the 5th Instant, so that the Naval force, now on the spot, consists of Her Majesty's Ships "Ganges", "Pylades", "Tribune", "Satellite" & "Plumper."
7. I forward the undermentioned Documents all having bearing upon the subject under discussion. Copy of a message I addressed to the Legislative Council and HouseManuscript imageHouse of Assembly—Enclosures No 6, 7, 8 and 9.
Copy of a Report from Captain Prevost dated 5th Augt forwarding correspondence with the United States Commissioner, Enclosure Nos 10, 11, 12, 13, 14.
I trust you will pardon the brevity of this Despatch, but the departure of the mail being earlier than was anticipated, I am much pressed for time.
IManuscript imageI have etc.
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
For: Office.
ABd 26 Septr
I do not know whether Your Grace had seen this? I had not. It shews that the abandonment of the plan of sending soldiers was not exactly the Governor's own act. I have slightly modified the draft answer accordingly.
HM S 28
I had not seen this when I wrote my Minute. It is singular that the Governor should have been so strongly in favour of an "act of vigor" which both the Military and Naval Men seem to have deprecated.
This and the other despatches on the subject and a copy of my answer should be sent to the F.O.
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Douglas to Captain G. Hornby, 2 August 1859, directing him to land a body of troops on San Juan to establish a joint occupation.
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Proclamation by Douglas, 2 August 1859, formally protesting the military occupation of San Juan by the Americans and declaring "that the Sovereignty thereof by right now is and always hath been in Her Majesty Queen Victoria."
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Hornby to Douglas, 4 August 1859, explaining why he had decided not to land troops on the island, and forwarding copies of his communication with Captain Pickett, commanding the U.S. troops.
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Hornby to Pickett, 3 August 1859, setting forth his proposals for avoiding a collision on the island.
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Pickett to Hornby, 3 August 1859, advising that they should maintain their respective positions, and that Hornby would be the instigator of trouble if he attempted to land troops.
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Newspaper, The Victoria Gazette, 6 August 1859.
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Douglas to Legislative Council and House of Assembly, 3 August 1859, informing them of the state of affairs at San Juan and transmitting pertinent documents.
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Copy of orders issued by Pickett on 27 July 1859, signed by J.W. Forsyth, 2nd Lieutenant, 9th Infantry.
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Notice dated 1 August 1859 signed by Henry R. Crosbie, Justice of the Peace, Whatcom County, certifying that William Smith and Isaac E. Higgins had been appointed as constables on San Juan.
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W.L. Marcy, U.S. Secretary of State, to J.F. Crampton, British Minister at Washington, 17 July 1855, transmitting extract of letter to I.I. Stevens, Governor of Washington Territory.
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Marcy to Stevens, 14 July 1855, outlining the conciliatory attitude to be adopted in respect to the disputed island.
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Captain James C. Prevost to Douglas, 5 August 1859, enclosing copies of his correspondence with Archibald Campbell, U.S. Boundary Commissioner.
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Campbell to Prevost, 4 August 1859, declining to respond to Prevost's inquiries in an earlier communication, and refusing to "intermeddle" in the affairs of the military authorities of Washington Territory.
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Prevost to Campbell, 4 August 1859, acknowledging his letter and observing that "it evades the principal question at issue, and exhibits no desire to reciprocate with me in a friendly intercourse."
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Prevost to Campbell, 4 August 1859, calling upon him in his capacity as boundary commissioner to "enter into a protest against the armed occupation of any part of" the territory they were jointly investigating.
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Campbell to Prevost, 5 August 1859, referring him to the views expressed in his previous letter.
Douglas, James to Lytton, Edward George Earle Bulwer 8 August 1859, CO 305:11, no. 9570, 29. The Colonial Despatches of Vancouver Island and British Columbia 1846-1871, Edition 2.2, ed. James Hendrickson and the Colonial Despatches project. Victoria, B.C.: University of Victoria.

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