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Island of San Juan. Letter from the Secretary of State, transmitting a report relative to the occupation… 1860

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Array 36th Congress, )  HOUSE  OF REPRESENTATIVES, j Ex. Doc.
1st Session.  
A report relative to the occupation of the island of San Juan.
April 26, 1860.—Laid upon the table, and ordered to be printed.
Department op State,
Washington, Aprils, 1860.
Sir : In compliance with the resolution of the House of Representatives of the 6th instant, I transmit a copy of the report of Henry R.
Crosbie, esq., relative to the occupation of the island of San Juan.
I have the honor to be your obedient servant,
Hon. "William Pennington,
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Mr. Crosbie to General Gass.
Washington, D. 0., April 3, 1860.
Sir : In compliance with your request, I transmit herewith a communication embodying the facts and occurrences with regard to the
occupation of the island of San Juan.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Hon. Lewis Cass,
Secretary of State.
The first permanent occupation of the island of San Juan was
effected on the 13th day of December, 1853, by the landing from the
Hudson' s Bay Company's steamer '' Beaver " of a flock of 1 300 sheep,
under charge of Mr, Charles J. Griffin, then a clerk, now a chief
trader in the company's service, and who has ever since remained on
the island in charge of their property and interests. The place had,
however, been frequented the three previous years as a fishing station; 2 ISLAND  OF  SAN JUAN.
the fishing parties were respectively under charge of Messrs. Simp-1
son and McDonald, both clerks in the company's service. They I
occupied the island simply the few weeks of the salmon season, I
abandoning it as soon as that was over.
No English settler or colonist has ever been on the island, and no I
occupation or claim was attempted to be set up previous to the year I
1853. In the summer of that year the propriety of claiming and oc- J
cupying it was discussed by the chief factors of the Hudson's Bay Com-1
pany at Victoria, and having determined on doing so, Mr. McDonald, j
the same who had been in charge of the fishing parties for the two |
previous years, was designated as the person to open a sheep farm, J
and thus make the claim through the company in behalf of the Eng-j
lish government. This was determined in the month of July. Delays, 1
however, arose till the early part of December, when, on the arrivaLl
of Mr. Griffin from Fort Simpson, it was deemed that he was a morel
suitable person, and he was accordingly forthwith despatched to Sans
Juan for that purpose.
On learning of this invasion of American soil, J. M. Ebey, thei
collector of customs for the Puget's Sound district, at once notified!
Governor Douglas that the sheep were liable to seizure for beingl
brought within the jurisdiction of his custom-house without paying*
duty. Governor Douglas thereupon claimed it as British soil, andl
appointed Mr. Griffin a stipendiary magistrate for the island of Sana
Juan, as a. dependency of Vancouver's island, thus extending thejl
English laws over the island.
The United States collector having no means of enforcing the col-«
lection of the customs—there was at that time no revenue cutter in theS
district, or other available force—protested against the action of Gov-ff
ernor Douglas, notifying him that eventually this unjustifiable intru-'l
sion would have to be accounted for.    He also appointed a United-
States inspector of customs to remain on the island, directing him to?
keep an account of all goods and dutiable effects that might be landed
by the English.   Shortly afterwards a complaint was sworn to against
Mr. Webber, the inspector, by Captain Sangster, the collector of Van-j
couver's island, and on that complaint, the purport of which was the
very absurd one of calling himself a custom-house officer, a warrant-
was issued.    Captain Sangster himself, acting as constable, placed his'*
hands on Webber's shoulder, and attempted to arrest him in the^
Queen's name.    Webber declined to obey the arrest, threatening to ■-
shoot the first man who interfered with him in the possession of his
rightful liberty, saying, first, that he had committed no crime ; and,
secondly, that he was on American soil, and would not recognize their
right to issue any process against him.   The warrant of arrest is still
in Mr. Webber's possession.   The constable having handed it to him,
on his request to see it, he retained it as proof, should there be any
necessity for such, of the strange and absurd course of conduct pursued by the Hudson's Bay Company and the English colonial authorities of Vancouver's island.
Mr. Webber remained on San Juan about a year, but was forced at
last to leave on account of the daily insecurity of his life from the ISLAND  OF  SAN JUAN. 3
northern Indians, on several occasions having to seek the shelter of
the Hudson's Bay House, at one time remaining several days within
their enclosure without daring to go out.
He was succeeded in office by Oscar Olney, who left from the same
reason after a few months, and he in turn by the present inspector,
Paul K. Hubbs, jr., all of whom have at different times been compelled temporarily to avail themselves of the protection of Mr. Griffin,
the Hudson's Bay Company's agent, and which, in justice to him, I
must say was always freely accorded.
This feeling of insecurity, however, effectually prevented the settlement of the island, which would otherwise, from its position and its
agricultural avdantages, been years ago almost entirely taken up by
At the first session of the legislative assembly of Washington
• Territory, in 1854, the upper part of Island county, which, by its
organization in 1852 by the Oregon legislature, included within its
boundaries the islands of San Juan, Lopez, Orcas, Blakely, Decatur,
and Shaw, was organized into the new county of Whatcom.
The assessment of San Juan was made with the other parts of the
county the same year, but the enforcement of the tax was not made
till March 18, 1855, when the sheriff, in pursuance with the requirements of the law in such cases, seized thirty-odd sheep on the Hudson's
Bay Company's farm, and sold them to the highest bidder, the payment of the taxes due the county having been refused by Mr. Griffin.
It is for this seizure the Hudson's Bay Company have had the
assurance to present a claim through the British minister to the State
Department for the moderate sum of nearly $15,000. As a more full
and complete answer to this extravagant claim, to show how out of
all proportion to the damage incurred is the amount claimed, I annex
herewith a review of the report of Governor Douglas published in
the "Pioneer and Democrat," at Olympia, Washington Territory,
April 30, 1858.
Whatcom county never relinquished her claim, and the taxes were
regularly assessed each year, though no attempt was again made to
enforce them, in the strong hopes that prompt and energetic steps
would be at once taken by the government to prevent any further
necessity of having thus rigidly to assert her rights. The county
authorities, in order to prevent any collision or difficulty, which they
saw would be inevitable should they follow their original determination, contented themselves by simply each year making the annual
assessment, feeling confident that in the end the rightful dues would
be paid, looking forward to a speedy settlement of their undoubted
right of sovereignty over the island.
The same was also the course of conduct pursued by the customhouse inspector, he merely taking an account of the vessels arriving
and the goods landed.
The last assessment was made on the 20th of May, 1859, at which
time there was due the county $935. There were 4,500 sheep, 40
head of cattle, five yoke of oxen, 35 horses, and 40 hogs on the island,
the property of the' company, with about 80 acres fenced and under 4 ISLAND OF SAN JUAN.
cultivation, sowed principally with oats, peas, and potatoes.^ There
were attached to the Hudson's Bay Company's station, besides Mr.
Griffin, eighteen servants, three only of whom were white, and those
three were naturalized American citizens, and exercised their rights
as such at the territorial election held on the second Monday in July
last, at which time there were twenty-nine actual settlers on the
The request was made by the American settlers, as early as May,
to General Harney to give them a small force, say a detachment of
twenty men—something that would give them a feeling of security, • I
as continued apprehension was equally as bad as actual danger; it had
prevented the settlement of San Juan and the adjoining isolated^
islands for years, this being the stopping place or point of departure,?;
from whence the northern marauding Indians issued to commit their
depredations.    Already several murders had been committed in the,
neighborhood,'some of them quite recently, and they claimed that"-
protection which citizens had a right to demand of their government.
He was urgently asked to visit the island, to view its resources and
its advantageous position.    He did so on his inspecting tour, a few
weeks later,' of the military posts on the sound after his return from||
a visit to Vancouver's island.
The settlers afterwards drew up the request in writing, which they
had before verbally made, and forwarded for his action thereon. At'
the same time he was also informed of the expectation of the settlers,
that one of their number would be arrested by the English authorities.
In accordance with this request, General Harney placed upon the-
island Captain Pickett's company of the- 9th infantry.. Troops had"
previously been sent there in small detachments to inquire into out-''-'
rages committed. What was asked was permanent protection, and
not an occasional visit of an inadequate force at long intervening
periods. Not the most remote idea was entertained by the settlers
that the thus affording them the protection to which they were entitled
was to be made the excuse for the excitement so very unnecessarily
created by the indiscreet action and demonstration made by Governor
Douglas. They the less apprehended it because those of their own
number who had been thrown most in contact with the English^
authorities were convinced that the English themselves did not conscientiously believe they had any legitimate right whatever to the
island. It had simply been located on by the Hudson's Bay Company,:
to give to a shadowy claim the substance of an occupation, hoping:
that they would be left undisturbed in possession long enough to
dignify the pretence into something like a right—a mere stroke of
colonial policy, perhaps successful from its very audacity. By claiming all the islands to the Rosario straits, rather than have any difficulty
—and we were to be compelled to believe, if possible, we were on
the verge of it^-a compromise would be effected by the adoption of
Washington channel, a narrow strait between the islands of San Juan
and Lopez, in some parts a scant quarter of a mile across, and the
surrender to them of Point Roberts, at the mouth of Fraser river, ISLAND   OF  SAN JUAN.
thus obtaining the most valuable of the islands—indeed the only one
they cared about. _ These are known to have been their hopes and
expectations ever since they took the bold step of occupying San Juan.
The same day that Captain Pickett landed, her Britannic Majesty's
ship '' Satellite'' came into the harbor of San Juan and landed Major
De Courcy as the English stipendiary magistrate. At the time the
"Satellite" left Victoria it was not known that there were any
American troops on the island or to be placed there. Captain Pre-
vost, the commander of the "Satellite," stated that it was not even
known at Victoria such a movement was contemplated. He had come
over by direction of the colonial governor to instal the English magistrate in his position as the civil official of the island.
So many false statements have been published in the "London
Times," which are somewhat official in their nature, being written by
Mr. Donald Fraser, a member of the executive council of Vancouver's
island, and which are taken for the true history of the«affair, instead
of being, as they most generally are,' exactly the reverse, that I deem
it proper here to say, in contradiction of some of those misrepresentations, that no American magistrate, or any other civilian whatever,
came with Captain Pickett. As the magistrate of Whatcom county,
on my arrival in the steamer '' Constitution," on the 29th July, I
came merely for a temporary visit; finding there was an English official claiming to be the civil authority of the island, I remained as
. such on the part of the United States. I did so in accordance with
my own judgment of what was my duty in the premises, informing
the English magistrate that whilst I could not for a moment acknowledge he had any right whatever to exercise any magisterial functions
on the island; and the attempt to execute any process he might issue
would be at once promptly met, yet I felt sure that, taking into consideration the disastrous consequences that might ensue by a collision
on the part of the civil authority, he would do whatever lay in his
power to avoid so deplorable a result. By direction of Governor
Douglas, the British naval force were to obey any command or requisition that he might make upon them for assistance.
Major de Courcy realized the responsibility of his position, and
acted throughout the whole difficulty with a discretion and good feeling which tended very much to preserve quiet and peace. That he
was appointed for the express purpose of seeing British laws enforced
upon the island is beyond doubt. His commission is dated July 26,
1859, and he was notified that he was to be appointed nearly a month
previous.    These are facts that cannot be disputed.
Governor Douglas's letter to General Harney is not correct in two
essential points: one with regard to Mr. Dallas, and the other as to
the intended attempt to apprehend an American citizen.
Mr. Dallas, it is true, did not come over in a man-of-war; he came |
over in the Hudson's Bay Company's steamer "Beaver;" nor could f
he have known till after his arrival, as the occurrence had taken place
but a few hours previous, anything with regard to the difficulty.   His
subsequent indiscreet conduct, and the controlling influence he pos- 6 ISLAND  OF  SAN JUAN.
sesses over Governor Douglas, is the whole cause of all the trouble
on that score.
Mr. Dallas is not a chief factor; his powers are much more extensive. He is one of the directors of the Hudson's Bay Company, and
has extraordinary powers granted him by the company, as will be seen
by his commission. So far from not being connected with the government, he has been ever since his residence on Vancouver's island •.
—for nearly the last two years—a member of the executive council,
as is also Mr. Donald Fraser, who was with him at the time above I
alluded to.
Immediately on his return from San Juan, the appointment of a
magistrate for the island was determined on, and the agent of the |
Hudson's Bay Company was directed to lodge a complaint against the
party referred to, not only on the ground of the killing of the animal, '
out also as a trespass upon lands belonging to the company, in addi- I
tion to which he was directed to proceed against any other of the set- :
tiers that he might deem interfered with his sheep runs, or wherever I
he might think proper to place his flocks or other stock. This cannot, I
xoith truth, be denied.
As that would leave it at the option of the agent to claim the i
whole island, or, to the same effect, all the grazing portions, the result?!
would have been, if enforced, the removal of all the settlers.
The only inference that can be drawn is, had there been no probability of at once an active resistance to the execution of process, the I
original intention would have been carried out.
The governor says further, in his letter, that had there been any |
complaint against an American citizen, he should have referred it to*-
American authorities, and that he paid no attention to a complaint?;
which was made by an English subject upon one occasion, out of re-1
spect to the friendly government to which the alleged offender belonged.I
Thoroughly conversant with the occurrences that have taken place on
San Juan from 1853 to the present time, I am, in common with other;::
residents of the island, at a loss to know to what or whom he alludeH
That he does not hesitate to take notice of exceedingly frivolous complaints, the one he forwards to General Scott with regard to the fine
and imprisonment of a man who was engaged in the nefarious traffiefi
of liquor_to Indians is in itself an evidence.    The reply to his commu^
nication is hereto appended.
The island of San Juan does not command, as has been asserted,
the entrance to the harbor of Victoria, nor the passage northward M
the settlements in British Columbia.
It is not in any manner, nor could it by any means of offence or defence become, essential in a military point of view to the protection
of either of the British colonies. The entrance to the harbor of
Victoria is full eighteen miles from the nearest portion of San Juan,
and the Canal del Haro has a width of over seven miles. It is the
only one of the channels that is over a cannon shot across.
Their claim is based upon the statement that in olden times the
captains of their brigs and trading vessels more frequently used the
Rosano straits; that it was more frequently used is owing to the fact ISLAND  OF  SAN JUAN.
of the Canal del Haro, which is in reality but a continuation of the
Straits of Fuca, being a broad, deep arm of the sea; in case of adverse
winds or calms the anchorage was both difficult to reach, and when
found afforded but poor holding ground, whereas Rosario straits is a
much narrower channel, in some parts not two miles across, and afforded everywhere secure anchorage. Yet on this flimsy pretext of
the action and caution of Hudson's Bay Company captains, who were
well aware if they lost a vessel their employment ceased, is based their
claim that the Rosario straits is the channel designated as the boundary by the treaty of 1846, notwithstanding the fact that in all the
discussions in the United States Senate at the time of its ratification
the Canal del Haro was especially alluded to as the boundary.
. From Victoria to Fraser river, by the way of Rosario straits, is
nearly twenty miles further than by the Canal del Haro. The steamers and other American vessels, during the Fraser river excitement,
went a still nearer passage inside of Saturna island, called the "Active
Pass," but which the British surveying steamer "Plumper," that
Game out eighteen months after the United States coast survey steamer
"Active" had surveyed and named the same—indeed went through
it with the sailing directions of the "Active"—very coolly puts down
on the chart as the "Plumper Pass," apiece of appropriation that
resembles only their claim to the islands.
In 1846 the vessels owned by the Hudson's Bay Company, inde-
. pendent of their ships bringing their supplies direct from England
and returning with furs,  were the steamer   "Beaver,"   the brigs
"Mary Dare" and "Cadboro," and the schooner "Una."
The "Beaver" went up north as far as Sitka, supplying the
northern posts and trading with the Russian Indians; the "Mary
Dare" and "Una" traded to the Sandwich Islands, whilst the
"Cadboro" was more especially for the posts on Fraser river and
Puget's Sound.
The "Beaver" used the Canal del Haro, as did also the "Cadboro," when she had a leading breeze. Oue of the passages out of
the Canal del Haro into the Gulf of Georgia is named the Cadboro
passage. All of the vessels had been years employed in the fur
trade; the "Beaver" since 1835, the first steamer ever on the Pacific,
and the " Cadboro" as far back as 1829.
The island of San Juan is nineteen miles long, with a width of
seven miles, containing about 50,000 acres of land. The soil is
fertile. There are on it many prairies, and, as the woods have not
that thick matted undergrowth so common to the Oregon coast, is
easy of access in all directions. The causes before assigned are the
only reasons why it has not been before entirely occupied.
There is but a small band of Indians residing on the island—a part
of the Lummi tribe of Bellingham Bay. The Sanich and Cbwitchins,
of Vancouver's island, both large tribes, frequent it in great numbers
during the fishing season in summer. The Sanich are a tribe whose
winter camping grounds adjoin the town of Victoria.
As their land is of great value, and exceedingly desirable as a continuation of the water front of the town, the motion was made some 8 ISLAND  OF  SAN JUAN.
months since in the colonial legislature, and gravely discussed, to remove them from Victoria as seriously interfering with the interests I
of the community, and locate them permanently on the island of San
Juan.    It was  introduced and  urged  mainly by the speaker, Dr.
Helenchen, a son-in-law of the governor.    Parties of the Bella-Bellas,
Milbauks-chim-zi-ans, Hyder, Stickens,  and Tongas, constantly visit
the island.    The three last tribes  are the most dangerous of all,
though none are to be trusted; they live far to the north.    The
Hyders are from-Queen Charlotte island; the Stickens and Tongas
from the Russian possessions.    It is these northern Indians that keep, |
the whole upper part of the sound in a state of continual dread.   Their I
canoes are large, carrying generally from 20 to 30 paddles, some- |
times double that number, all being well armed, each canoe having J
an arm-chest, in which there is stowed a gun for each man, in addi-1
tion to the one beside him for immediate use.    They move rapidly 1
from point to point, await a favorable opportunity to commit a depre- J
dation, and then push at once for their homes.    What conduces in J
some manner to the protection of the settlers is, that the tribes of the I
sound are our outposts of alarm; between them there is always anl
open war, though, as the northern Indians are bold and remarkably .1
athletic men, having a singular resemblance to the Tartar race in I
complexion and appearance, they never attack them unless in much]!
greater numbers, and "only then when at a great disadvantage.
As they never have been punished for their depredations, each year I
they increase in boldness and numbers. The Stickens are the In- I
dians who committed the murders in Bellingham Bay in 1854, and a|
branch of the tribe called the Ka-acks, the murder of Colonel Ebey, I
in the summer of 1856.
The heads of the persons murdered are always carried off as trojJj
phies, around which, on their arrival amongst their tribes, are per- I
formed ceremonies similar to the scalp dance of the plains.
From the admirable manner in which the Hudson's Bay Company!
have managed the Indians—treating them with kindness, and at theI
same time with great firmness; just so sure as they committed an, f
outrage on persons or property, just so sure were they certain to be
promptly punished, never allowing that terrible delay of which our I
frontier settlers have so bitterly experienced its evils, to rob the ex-1
ample of its proper effect, but doing whatever they deemed justice required at once, and thoroughly,  thus insuring to their agents andI
employes,   even in  the  most distant  and  isolated  regions, entire; 2
security—one of their number could go anywhere through the most
warlike of the tribes or remain in their neighborhood unmolested,
whilst an American dared not trust himself in their vicinity, except by
deceiving them as to his nationality.    The Hudson's Bay Company
servants could remain in safety on San Juan: the Americans could
not.    The question resolved itself into whether the island was to be
abandoned or the settlers protected. ISLAND  OF  SAN JUAN.
[Pioneer and Democrat, Olympia, W. T., Friday, April 30, 1858.]
Reply to the report upon the claims for damages assessed by Governor
Douglas, Victoria, V. I.
Statement and valuation of sheep, the property of the Hudson's Bay
Company, forcibly seized and carried off, on March 30, 1855, by Ellis
Barnes, sheriff of Whatcom county, Washington Territory, aided and
assisted by the armed posse of said county, in the name and behalf of
the United States of America, and of losses resulting from the violent acts of the said Ellis Barnes, in consequence of the flocks being
driven into the woods, and there destroyed by beasts of prey, and
through other causes.
Carried off by Sheriff Barnes and posse, of Whatcom county :
£     s. d.
12 choice Southdown rams, at £20        240    8    0
8 Cheviot rams, at £20        160    0    0
6 Leicester rams, at £25        150    0    0
8 merino rams, at £25        200    0    0
Number of sheep missing in consequence of the flocks
having been driven into the woods :
156 Southdown ewes,   at 33s.  4c?       260    0    0
63 Southdown lambs, at 15s         47    0    0
86 Cheviot ewes, at 32s. 4c?        143    6    8
23 Cheviot lambs, at 15s         17    5    0
25 Leicester ewes, at 33s. 4c?         41 13    4
56 merino ewes, at 50s.  6c?       141    8    0
Cost of collecting and restoring flock :
Hire of 10 men for 8 days, at 12s. Gd per diem •        50    0    0
Hire of steam-vessel " Beaver," for protection of property under my charge       500    0    0
Pay of 8 men for 8 days, hired to protect the property
in my charge, at 12s.  6d. per diem         40    0    0
Incidental losses through .the derangement and suspension of business in consequence of Sheriff Barnes's violent acts    1,000    0    0
Total    2,990 13    0
San Juan, July 26, 1855.
I hereby certify that this is the signature of Charles John Griffin,
and that he is a person worthy of credit.
Governor of Vancouver's Island. 10 ISLAND  OF  SAN JUAN.
Hudson's Bay House, December 6, 1855.
My Lord : With reference to the deputy governor's letters of the
11th and 24th of July, and Mr. Hammond's of July 13 and August 2,
I have the honor to enclose a copy of a letter just received from Mr.
Douglas, governor of Yancouver's island, dated Victoria, September
28, 1855, covering an account of the damage caused to the Hudson's
Bay Company by the unjustifiable proceedings of the United States I
authorities in the isle of San Juan, together with a copy of the further I
correspondence on the subject between me, Isaac Stevens, governor of t
Washington Territory, and Governor Douglas.    I have to beg that I
your lordship will call upon the government of the  United States to j
reimburse the Hudson's Bay Company for the illegal acts of their :
I have, &c,
A.  COLYILLE, Governor.
Earl of Clarendon, K.  G., &c, &c, &c.
We publish the above bill of particulars that it may be seen by all |
acquainted with the facts what an egregious swindle has been at-1
tempted. We doubt whether, in the history of the many efforts to J
defraud the United States treasury, there has been a single instance J
characterized by such cool assurance as the present effort of Governor J
Douglas, of Vancouver's island ; he claims the sum of £2,990 13s., J
nearly $15,000, as damages on account of the seizure of Mr. Barnes,!
sheriff of Whatcom county, of certain sheep, to pay the taxes duel
from the persons and upon the property on San Juan or Bellevuej
A simple statement of the facts is all that is necessary to show the^j
fraud attempted and the falsehoods perpetrated in the bill rendered I
by the Hudson's Bay Company through their agents.
The first legislature of Washington Territory, on the organization I
of Whatcom county, included San Juan island within its boundaries) I
the question was not raised as to the legality of its being within our I
territory; every honest, sensible, disinterested man, even on the Eng- I
lish side, acknowledged that. In the adjustment of the Oregon dispute f
the parallel of 49° was adopted as the compromise; the line was de-1
fleeted on striking the Gulf of Georgia, so as not to separate theif
jurisdiction of Vancouver's  island.    The parallel  of 49° of north
latitude carried out as the boundary would have included within our I
limits the principal settlement on Vancouver's island, the most valuable
portion of that island.    The only just interpretation, therefore, that
can be given to the treaty—its clear intent and meaning—is that all
land south of 49°, with the exception of Vancouver's island, belongs
to the United States.    The question is not on the relative merits of
either one channel or the other; the nearest channel on Vancouver's
island, whether it is best (as it happens to be) or worst, is the line (9
separation, especially as, by all international law, islands not specially ISLAND  OF SAN JUAN.
designated and set apart are appurtenant to the adjacent continent
and not to another island.
The present English commissioner, a high-toned, honorable gentleman, especially appointed to examine and adjudicate the dispute in
the matter of the island, and not likely to surrender an iota of j
country's rights, at once, after an examination of the subject, will,
we doubt not, concede our claim to San Juan is a just one. Therefore the sheriff was simply performing his duty in collecting, according to law, the tax of his county, and in consequence the Hudson's Bay Company have no claim for damages ; on the contrary, are
still indebted to Whatcom county a considerable sum for arrears of
If they are within our domain they must abide by the law of the
land in common with every citizen of the United States. It cannot
be termed unjust, since it was not a special tax levied upon them. It
falls alike on all, whether national or foreign. If they were not willing to abide by it they had only to remove from within our borders
to be free from its action.
The question, and the only question, in the affair is, whether legally the sheriff was in the actual discharge of his duty. If he was,
then there was no damage; if he was not, then what amount of damage
was actually done ? That he was in the discharge of his duty, the
evidence is the fact of his being the duly elected and qualified sheriff
of Whatcom county, and that San Juan island is a part of that county.
But that the fraud may be seen in all its bearings, we will state the
amount of loss actually incurred. The sheriff took with him & posse
comitatus on proceeding to San Juan island to collect the tax due, as
he was informed its collection would be resisted. He therefore notified that, in pursuance of law, he should seize and sell sufficient property, to the highest bidder, to satisfy the demand. Previous to doing
so, however, desirous by every proper means to prevent difficulty,
he, and others with him, advised Mr. Griffin, the agent in charge, to
either bid the sheep in or pay the tax under protest; that the tax was
lawfully due, and as a public officer he was compelled to the course
he had taken; they appreciated the unpleasantness of his position,
and would do everything consistent with duty to free him from the
censure of his employers of the Hudson's Bay Company. Mr. Griffin
would have done so but from positive orders from the chief factor,
Governor Douglas, which he dare not disobey. His orders were to
resist the collection of the tax with all the force at his command. He
saw, however, it would be useless, as the sheriff was determined to
execute his duty at all hazards. Had Governor Douglas himself been
present (and it was a matter of regret that he was not instead of Mr.
Griffin) the result would have been the same. On Mr. Griffin refusing
to pay the tax, even under protest, he was asked where the flocks
were. He said they were on the other side of the island. The party
then left the sheriff, stating they would next morning seize the sheep
and sell them in the manner prescribed by law. They, however^returned about three o'clock in the morning and found near Mr. Grj-02" 12
house forty-five rams in a pen, which were immediately seized, and
about noon were sold to the highest bidder.
Whilst the purchasers were securing their rams, and had taken
some thirty-four of them to the boat, leaving one of the posse in
charge, some of the shepherds rode up and gave the "shepherd's
call." The rams, obeying the well-known signal, jumped the pen
and ran away.
The whole damage, then, if any, can only be the'thirty-four rams„. .
and nothing else. So far from the sheep being driven into the woods,- -
the flocks were neither seen nor sought for.
The claim for hire of the steamer "Beaver" is an item which in
itself is sufficient to stamp the whole affair as an unmitigated frauds \
The "Beaver," so far from being a hired steamer, is,  as every one I
knows, the property of the Hudson's Bay Company.    Besides which^J
she did not come to the island.    She steamed up, it is true; came out.4
two or three miles from Victoria harbor and then returned.    By that I
time, whoever was in .charge had come to the conclusion that it was
better not to interfere with a sheriff in the discharge of his duty.   ■
Since then Governor Douglas has been very profuse in his abuse,
terming all concerned "filibusters and sheep-stealers."    Were they I
so in his opinion, why did he not give orders for the '' Beaver'' tqVi
overtake them and capture them?    The truth is, the governor himself |
was more than doubtful of the propriety of his own course.
Hire of eighteen men sixteen days, at 12s. 6c?.—say three dollars i
per diem ! Another absurdity. The Hudson's Bay Company employ I
Indians at from two to three blankets per month. Their shepherd's!
pay is £17 per anum. Their bailiffs, as was shown by a contract I
lately exhibited in court at Olympia, only get £60 per annum. Mr;ll
Griffin, the agent, received but £100 per annum.
The lumping charge of £1,000 is only equalled by the keeper of a
tavern who entertained one of the Bonapartes in his travels, and who,I
the next morning, after footing up the bill as largely as possible, not I
making it reach beyond eighty dollars, put down ' j twenty dollars for
kicking up a grand fuss generally," with the idea all that would be
looked at was the aggregate, and not the items.
The statement of Mr.  Griffin was made by Governor Douglas's:
direction, and doubtless his own individual specification.    It was most i
probably merely signed by Mr. Griffin after being thus drawn up by
direction of Governor and Chief Factor Douglas.
Governor Douglas is a partner in the concern, and, as the claim
over and_ above the cost and expense of the thirty-four rams is a clear
profit, will be the largest gainer by the transaction.
Then, also, Mr. Colville claims on behalf of the Hudson's Bay'
Company. The Hudson's Bay Company is a trading company, and
by the very tenet of its charter is prohibited from agricultural pursuits. To obviate that difficulty the Puget' s Sound Agricultural Com*
pany was organized. Yet this claim is not on behalf of the Puget's
Sound Company—an agricultural and stock-raising association—but
of the Hudson's Bay Company.
The fact of the whole matter is, Governor Douglas, anxious to gain ISLAND  OF  SAN JUAN.
some little notoriety with his government, claims a part of the soil of
this territory as belonging to the British government; lands, under
cover of night, a flock of sheep on San Juan island, which, so far
from being a worthless island, as he represents, contains several thousand acres of fertile land, and which he himself had intended, in case
the claim was made good, to purchase for his own individual use.
The quiet occupancy is frustrated by the authorities of the county
collecting the claim for taxes. He then lays claim for damages. What
those damages are we have all seen; what Mr. Douglas alleges them
to be the written documents exhibit. We had always believed that
M dealing with Englishmen we had to deal with a frank, outspoken
people. If our opinion is correct, then Governor Douglas does not
in this affair exhibit the characteristic fair-play of an Englishman.
He says that the amount claimed is a less damage than would be
granted in a court of law. He seems to labor under the impression
that boldness of assertion will supply paucity of facts. So far from
it, if that bill of particulars was sworn to in any court, either in the
United States or England, it would render the individual so swearing
subject to the penalties for perjury, and all others connected therewith accomplices in the endeavor to obtain money under false
["Alta Californian."]
A. G. Dallas, chief officer of the Hudson's Bay Company's territory.
Alexander Grant Dallas, now residing in Victoria, and son-in-law
of Governor Douglas, has been for more than a year the chief officer
of the Hudson's Bay Company in America, and he governs a domain
almost as extensive as that of the United States. His powersare
almost absolute ; at least, they are very great. The following is a
copy of Mr. Dallas's commission :
To Alexander   Grant Dallas, esquire, hereby  appointed president of
By virtue of the charter to us given by King Charles the Second,
by his letters patent, under the great seal of England, bearing date
the second day of May, in the twenty-second year of his reign, we do
hereby appoint you, Alexander Grant Dallas, to preside at all councils
which shall or may be held within our Territory of Rupert's Land, or
within the territory comprehended under the grant of exclusive trade
with the Indians in parts of North America, and bearing date the
thirteenth day of May, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight,
as well as in all other places where trade is carried on by the said
governor and company, until you receive advice to the contrary.
You are therefore, in virtue of this commission, to do and perform
all such duties as are now or hereafter may be performed by a presi- -M
dent of council abroad. And we do hereby direct all our governors,
chief factors, chief traders, and all other servants, to obey all such
orders as you may think proper, under the authority of this commission, to give them, as president aforesaid. And you are to _observe
and follow such orders, from time to time, as you shall receive from,
the governor and Company of Adventurers of England, trading into
Hudson's Bay, or our successors for the time being.
Given under our common seal at our house in London, this 18tb:.
day of October, 1858.
Bv order of the governor, deputy governor, and committee.
[L. S.]
San Juan Island, W. T.,
November 30, 1859.
Sir : In answer to the complaint made by William Moore, of alleged ;
injustice received at the hands of the civil authority of Washington 1
Territory, and forwarded by Governor Douglas, on the ground thafc.^
the complainant is a British subject, I have to state that some sixteen^
months since this man was sick and destitute at Whatcom, and was |
taken care of by the authorities at that place at an expense to the*|
county of nearly three hundred dollars.    He then claimed to be an
American citizen, and so far from abandoning that claim, during the
latter part of July and the earliest part of August, when there was
serious apprehension of a collision, made himself extremely useful in
obtaining and conveying information with  regard  to the English'
movements.    It was on account of the services thus rendered that I
requested Colonel Casey that he should have the privilege of stopping
within the military reserve or confines of the camp for the purpose
of selling his vegetable and other commodities, which request was
granted on assurance being given that he would not sell any liquor
to the soldiers.   Shortly afterwards representations were made to me
from all quarters—the camp, the Hudson's Bay Company employes,
and the citizens—that Moore was selling large quantities of liquor, I
both to soldiers and Indians.    On a complaint made to that effect a
warrant was issued for his apprehension.    He was convicted mainly
on the evidence of his own partner.    After trial he was remanded to
the guard-house for sentence next day, at twelve o'clock, for safer;:
keeping.    His effects were taken in charge by the sheriff.    It was
entirely optional with the prisoner to pay the fine of fifty dollars and
costs, or to be subject to imprisonment for the usual number of days.
He chose the former, and was discharged.   The penalty amounted in
all to sixty-five dollars, and not seventy-five dollars, as he has falsely
sworn.    On his discharge he expressed his extreme penitence, and
showed its utter insincerity by engaging the very next day more
extensively in the traffic than before, and I was again called upon to
issue a warrant, to avoid the service of which he fled the island.
I have gone into details further than necessary, although the right ISLAND  OF  SAN  J [JAN.
of inquiry ceases from the fact that the man, to my own knowledge,
has for the last two years claimed to be an American citizen, in order
to show that the whole complaint was simply "a made up case."
The '' injustice'' in this matter is evidently against the law and
not the individual.
To those who have seen the intoxication prevalent amongst the
Indians on the island for the last few months, and the great trouble
and annoyance that has arisen entirely from that cause, the complaint
must seem more than an absurdity, and I cannot refrain from expressing my utter astonishment that Governor Douglas should have
forwarded it, the more so from the fact that there was an English
magistrate on the island, Major de Courcy; in addition, there were
also Captain Prevost, commanding H. B. M. ship "Satellite," and
Mr. Griffin, the agent of the Hudson's Bay Company, either of whom
could have furnished a true version of the affair ; indeed, the British
magistrate was the source from whence this complaint should have
originated, as he was placed on the island for the avowed purpose of
seeing that the rights of British subjects were not infringed upon.
I take pleasure here in stating that so far from captiously endeavoring to thwart my efforts in preserving quiet and order, Major De
Courcy has done whatever lay in his power to assist me. When a
similar complaint Avas made to him by a person engaged in the same
trade as Moore, he replied that "he came to the island for the purpose of seeing the laws enforced, and not to assist in breaking them
by throwing a shield around those engaged in illegal traffic."
In reviewing the transaction, all that I can blame myself with is
the mistaken leniency of not inflicting a penalty more in proportion
to the mischief created.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
His Excellency R. D. Gholson,
Governor of Washington Territory.
P. S.—As an evidence of how little just cause Governor Douglas
has to take exception to anj of my official acts, I enclose herewith
letters from Colonel Casey and Captain Pickett, the military commanders of the island.
This complaint seems as much a matter of astonishment to the
English officials' that I have alluded to as it is to myself. It is too
plainly put in as "a set-off" to that against the colonial authorities.
The governor is determined to make trouble if he possibly can effect it.
H. R. C.
San Juan, W. T., August 12, 1859.
Dear Sir : I take great pleasure in expressing my thanks for your
assistance during the past two weeks, and also that I consider our
present position without a conflict in a great measure due to your
urbanity and judicious management of what might have become serious ]6
affairs.    As a civil official you have been of material service, not only
in supporting me, but in maintaining the supremacy of the United
States over what is most undoubtedly our own soil.
Very truly, your obedient servant,
Captain 9th Infantry.
Hon. H. R. Crosbie,
San Juan,  W. T.
San Juan, W. T., November 15, 1859.
Since the 10th of August last, I have been in command of the United
States troops, who held the military occupancy of the island of San
Juan.    During this time H. R. Crosbie, esq., held the office of justice
of the peace on the part of the Territory of Washington.
Collision with the British naval forces, to arrive from the threatened I
conflict between the civil authorities of the island, has at times been
quite imminent.
That no such collision has taken place is, in my opinion, due, in I
part, to the prudent, conciliatory, and patriotic manner in which Mr.-1
Crosbie has performed the duties of his office. •
Lieutenant Colonel 9 th Infantry,
Commanding on San Juan Island.


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