Hammond to Under-Secretary of State
10 December 1863
I am directed by Earl Russell to transmit to you to be laid before the Duke of Newcastle, a Copy of a Letter from the Hudsons Bay Company calling attention to the loss sustained bytheManuscript image the Company owing to the incursion of Squatters in the Island of San Juan.
I am,
Your most obedient
humble Servant
E. Hammond
Minutes by CO staff
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Mr Elliot
In the present state of the San Juan question, and under the joint Military occupation of the Island, there can I presume be no exclusive jurisdiction on either side, and any interference with these squatters (if American) could only be exercised in concert with the American Govt?
VJ 12 Decr
Any interference with theManuscript image squatters will probably be deemed out of the question under present circumstances, and I do not think that this is the point which is here mooted. The point is in the concluding Par: of Sir E. Head's letter in which he says that his only object is to let the Secretary of State know that the Hudson's Bay company may be compelled to abandon their occupation of land in San Juan.
Perhaps this may be viewed as a notice simply sent for information and may be left without answer. If a reply were made, it could only be, I apprehend, to disclaim the slightest responsibility on the part of Government either for the Company's leaving or remaining in San Juan, or for any profit or loss which they may derive from either one course or the other.
The opinions of this Dt to that effect are recorded in a letter to the Foreign Office dated the 4 of January 1861 and a letter to Mr Berens dated the 30h of April 1862, and in the minutes on which those letters were founded.
TFE 14 Decr
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Duke of Newcastle
There is no hint in this letter of Sir E. Head of any claims upon Govt on acct of San Juan. It is only a proper notice to the F.O. that the British occupation of the island is about to cease. I think the answer may be, that the probable abandonment of the island by British Subjects and its occupation by American squatters seems likely to increase the difficulty of enforcing our claim to San Juan and to make it more than ever desirable that the question should, if possible, be settled without delay.
CF 16
So write to F.O. I am much inclined to think that this is not an unfavorable moment for negociation—denunciations of England notwithstanding.
N 17
Documents enclosed with the main document (not transcribed)
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Edmund Head, Hudson's Bay Company, to A.H. Layard, M.P., 3 December 1863, voicing the concerns of the company at losses incurred as a result of squatters settling on San Juan Island.
Other documents included in the file
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Elliot to Hammond, 19 December 1863, advising that abandonment of San Juan by the British subjects would increase the difficulty of enforcing British claims to the island.