No. 51
26 October 1859
I have the honor to forward herewith to Your Grace the copy of a letter from Mr de Courcy, the Resident Magistrate at San Juan, representing that upon his return to that place from Victoria, he was informed by a United States officialManuscript imageofficial that he could not be allowed to land his Baggage in Consequence of its not having been cleared at the Customs House at Port Townshend.
Subsequently however Mr de Courcy was allowed to land with his baggage without molestation.
2. Your Grace will observe that Mr de Courcy forwards with his letter the Copy of a Notice Signed by the United States Inspector of Customs for the Island of San Juan, Setting forth that the Revenue Laws of the United States are in force on all the Islands East of the Canal de Haro andManuscript imageand that vessels must clear at the Custom House at Port Townsend, in default of which the vessels and goods will be liable to Confiscation.
3. This assumption of Exclusive authority on the part of the United States officials, and the attempted Extension of the United States Revenue Laws to the Islands of the Haro Archipelago, is most unwise, and no course that could be adopted is more likely to provoke a collision.
4. The question of occupation, having beenManuscript imagebeen referred to Her Majesty's Government and Mr de Courcy having Eventually been allowed to land his Baggage, I have not taken any steps with regard to this matter.
5. Our forbearance has been great, and Your Grace may rest assured that if it be possible we shall patiently and quietly await the action which mayManuscript imagemay be instituted by Her Majesty's Government.
I have etc.
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Merivale
This is the only despatch relating to San Juan by the present mail.
I believe the American's have always succeeded in maintaining a Revenue officer on the Island, who has from time to time Endeavored to enforce his authority over British Subjects. He will of course be withdrawn under the proposed joint occupation?
Copy to F.O. and acknowledge expressing satisfaction that collision has been avoided.
HT Irving 19 Dec
I do not think the Amns have "always" maintained a revenue officer on the island. They have sent Manuscript imageone from time to time.
Simply send to Forn office, I think, but Mr de Courcy seems to have acted quite rightly?
HM D 20
CF 20
To F.O. & approve.
N 22
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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John de Courcy, Stipendiary Magistrate, to W.A.G. Young, Colonial Secretary, 1 October 1859, reporting his encounter with American customs officials on San Juan Island.
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Notice advising that the revenue laws of the United States would henceforth be enforced on San Juan and "all the islands east of the Canal de Haro," dated 27 September 1859, signed by Paul K. Hubbs, U.S. Inspector of Customs for San Juan Island.
Other documents included in the file
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Helmcken to Newcastle, no date, reporting on a Vancouver Island petition, and giving reasons for the same.
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Draft reply, Newcastle to Douglas, No. 25, 28 December 1859.
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Draft, Elliot to E. Hammond, Foreign Office, 4 January 1860, forwarding copy of the despatch.