No. 30, Military
16 May 1860
I have the honor to forward herewith to your Grace by request of Colonel Moody the copy of aManuscript imagea letter he has addressed to me respecting the selection of a site upon the Island of San Juan for the military post formed there by Her Majesty's Troops in establishing a joint occupation of the Island with the Troops of the United States.
2. The circumstances of the case are detailed in the correspondence, but it may beManuscript imagebe convenient that I should briefly recapitulate them.
3. When the instructions were received to land a body of Troops upon the Island of San Juan it became a matter of some consideration as to where the Military Post should be established, for most of the desirable spots have been pre-empted by American settlers and of course the act of landing TroopsManuscript imageTroops upon any of these spots would at once have produced a disturbance. Admiral Baynes despatched Captain Prevost in the Satellite to make a reconnaissance and to report upon the localities that were suitable and available. His report pointed to six positions but Admiral Baynes and myself at once agreed that one spot—the spot ultimately chosenManuscript imagechosen—was pre-eminently suitable. The other positions were objectionable for general reasons, contiguity to the United States Camp, difficulty of access, scarcity of water &ca. However thinking that Colonel Moody might offer a valuable opinion upon such a matter I forwarded the correspondence to him and requested him to favor me with his views. He instantly despatched an officer fromManuscript imagefrom British Columbia to Fort Victoria in order that he might proceed to San Juan to examine the different localities and furnish a report before Colonel Moody could offer an opinion. I desired the Officer to wait upon Admiral Baynes but Admiral Baynes declined his services, in which I perfectly acquiesced. Had we beenManuscript imagebeen seeking a site solely with a strategical vein, the assistance offered by Colonel Moody would have been very valuable, but as we were above all things desirous to avoid the appearance of having placed Troops on the Island with any covert object, I certainly am of opinion that it would have been unwise for an Engineer Officer to have proceeded in the first instance toManuscript imageto examine the different localities, the more especially as no actual necessity existed for such an action.
I have etc.
Minutes by CO staff
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Sir F. Rogers
As the stationing [of] a Military Force on San Juan is an Act of the Foreign Office, perhaps we should do wisely to send thither a copy of this correspondence saying that if Lord J. Russell sees no objection the S. of S. proposes to signify his approval of the view taken by Govr Douglas of this matter.
ABd 6 August
Mr Fortescue
I hardly see under the circes why the Govr wrote to Col Moody on the subject. However he probably took the safest course. I shd be inclined however not to go beyond the [negation?]—that the S. of S sees no reason to doubt that the Govr judged rightly in refraining from [anything] that could be construed into a Military Survey.
FR [date cut off file]
I agree.
CF 7
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Moody to Douglas, 29 March 1860, expressing regret that Captain Parsons had not been allowed to survey San Juan Island to determine the most suitable site for the camp from a military point of view.
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R.M. Parsons to Moody, 23 March 1860, advising that both Douglas and Admiral Baynes had refused his services, having already determined a site for the military settlement.
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Parsons to Douglas, 20 March 1860, asking whether his services would be required in view of the fact a site had already been determined.
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W.A.G. Young, Acting Colonial Secretary, to Parsons, 20 March 1860, refusing his services by advising that the governor did not want to present an appearance of choosing a site for the camp "with reference to its advantages in a strategical point of view."
Other documents included in the file
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Draft, Colonial Office to E. Hammond, Foreign Office, 14 August 1860, forwarding copy of the despatch for consideration.
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Draft reply, Lewis to Douglas, No. 34, 15 September 1860 (extensive revisions).
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Draft, Colonial Office to Hammond, August 1860, further explaining why Douglas refused the services of Captain Parsons, and advising that Newcastle was prepared to accept the position taken by Douglas and Admiral Baynes.