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these islands within their jurisdiction, and some Americans settled upon San Juan in 1853 ; but feeling insecure from Indian attacks they soon withdrew. A deputy collector of the United States has resided on the island during a part of the time, and is there now. By reference to Senate Doc. No. 251, it will be seen that in 1855 a collision of jurisdiction took place. The sheriff of Whatcom county levied taxes upon the Hudson's Bay Company's property, which the agent refused to pay, on the ground of his being a British subject, acknowledging no authority except that emanating from his own Government. The property was seized and sold for the payment of the taxes; and a claim for damages is now before the department, amounting to near three thousand pounds. I append herewith an extract from a report of Captain Alden, United States Navy, to the Superintendent of the Coast Survey, in 1853, by which it will be seen that as early as July, 1853, Governor Douglas assumed authority over Lopez Island, one of the Haro Group (). Until the line is definitively settled there is a constant liability to collisions of jurisdiction.
“ The first step in the encroachments of the British Government upon this part of the territory of the United States, if Mr. Bancroft be correct in his supposition, originated in the desire of the Hudson's Bay Company to possess these islands. The decided position taken by him in regard to the Canal de Haro for a time checked any attempt on the part of the British Government positively to claim Rosario Straits as the boundary, With much caution, and by careful approaches, this was at length attempted in 1818, but failed. The Government then, it seems, gave orders to Governor Douglas to consider the group of islands as part of the British dominions.
“In a previous part of this communication, I referred to the fact that the maps of the north-west coast, extant at the date of the treaty, represented that part of the space between the continent and Vancouver's Island, immediately north and south of the forty-ninth parallel, as free from islands, and, consequently, with but one channel; and called attention to the maps of a
(1) American State Papers, p. 87. I have not reproduced this extract, its purport is as above stated.
later date, on which the coast of Vancouver's Island is thrown further to the west, and an extensive archipelago substituted.
“ The chart of the Coast Survey published in 1854 is intended to represent the whole space between the continent and Vancouver's Island, in the vicinity of and south of the forty-ninth parallel, but principally the Canal de Haro and Rosario Straits, and the neighbouring archipelago. In executing this survey for the State Department, it does not seem to have occurred to the officers of the Coast Survey to make an exploration of the archipelago along the coast of Vancouver's Island, immediately south of the forty-ninth parallel. Its existence was, however, then becoming known, and since the discovery of coal at Nanaimo, on Vancouver's Island, a short distance north of the forty-ninth parallel, the Hudson's Bay Company's vessels generally take one of the inner channels in going from and returning to Victoria, thereby saving a great distance, and avoiding rough seas. Captain Alden, in the Active, on one occasion passed through one of the inner channels from Nanaimo, connecting with the Canal de Haro, as they all do, at about latitude 48° 40'. The sketch of the archipelago he obtained from the Hudson's Bay Company (to which I have already referred) was probably made by the captains of the two small steamers, and other small vessels belonging to the Company, which for many years have navigated these waters. You will observe on the Coast Survey chart that the inner channel is designated a channel for small steamers,' probably from the fact that none but small steamers had then sailed through it, or from the indisposition of the Hudson's Bay Company to encourage the exploration of the archipelago. It has been the general impression hitherto that the interior navigation was not well adapted to vessels of a large size, and such was the impression when I first arrived here. Indeed, little or nothing appeared to be known about the islands or channels between them. There are probably difficulties in the way of large vessels getting out of the inner channel into the open gult at the northern extremity, or at points between it and the Canal de Haro; the openings be
tween the islands nearest the Gulf of Georgia being narrow and the currents very rapid. Nevertheless, upon the discovery of gold on Fraser River, steamers of good size found passages through those islands, in going from Victoria to the mouth of the river by the Canal de Haro, that saved considerable distance, and were convenient in avoiding rough weather in the open gulf. There is a passage (about two or three miles in length), almost due south from the middle of the channel’ at the forty-ninth parallel, which would carry a line into the Canal de Haro, so as to obviate Captain Prevost's objection to the westerly bend in the course of the Canal de Haro at its northern extremity. But as the passage is narrow, less than half a mile wide, though perfectly safe and convenient, I did not think it a proper channel to propose for a boundary beween the United States and Great Britain, although its average width is very little less than the San Juan Channel at its entrance into the Straits of Fuca. With the exception of this passage, I had not, at that time, been within the archipelago, and had no further idea of the true character of its channels. The passage alluded to runs through what appears on the map as Saturna Island. I made a hurried exploration of the archipelago in the steamer Active in September last, and was surprised to find such wide and deep channels. The opening through which we emerged from the inner channel into the Gulf of Georgia, in the vicinity of the forty-ninth parallel, is not wide (about half a mile), and some years since, in passing through it, Her Majesty's steamer Virago, commanded by Captain Prevost, struck a rock. I saw enough, however, to satisfy me that the inner channels are sufficiently capacious for vessels of the largest size. I do not think there are any islands as large as some of those in the Haro Archipelago, but I may be mistaken. They are generally small, rocky, and barren, though highly picturesque in appearance. In the division of labour between the United States and British coinmissions, the survey of this archipelago devolved on the latter, and we found Captain Richards, with Her Majesty's surveying steamer Plumper, actively engaged upon it. Ile continued the work until the rainy season set in and closed his operations for the year. This survey will give a new aspect to the map of this part of the space between the continent and Vancouver's Island, though probably it will not cover a greater number of square miles than the archipelago as laid down on the Coast Survey chart. The large islands as there represented will be broken up into smaller ones, and greatly increased in number. The island of Saturna will be divided into three or more islands, embracing a splendid harbour large enough to accommodate the navy of Great Britain. The passage connecting the Gulf of Georgia and the inner channel, through which we passed in the Active (which we named the ‘Active Passage '), is between the small islands into which Saturna Island is disintegrated.
“Although a channel navigable for the largest vessels will undoubtedly be developed by the survey, it is not likely that it will, in all respects, be so situated as to answer the purposes of a boundary channel as well as the broad channel of the Gulf of Georgia, which averages twelve miles in width, at and south of the forty-ninth parallel. And yet if the letter of the treaty, and the motive which induced the departure of the boundary line from the forty-ninth parallel, be alone looked at, there can be no doubt that the inner channel may be claimed as the channel which separates the continent from Vancouver's Island, on the same ground with the Canal de Haro, viz., that it is the nearest channel to Vancouver's Island, and that the object of the line in the treaty was simply to avoid cutting off the southern end of Vancouver's Island, and to give the whole of it and its harbours, and nothing more, to Great Britain.
“But the Canal de Haro is not claimed alone on the ground of its being the nearest channel to the island ; although a legitimate construction of the treaty, the evidence of Mr. McLane is added to support it. It is also the main channel, and, in connection with the Gulf of Georgia, constitutes the main channel from the forty-ninth parallel to the Straits of Fuca. This channel is the true and natural boundary between the continent and Vancouver's Island, and undoubtedly is the channel understood between Mr. McLane and Lord Aberdeen, and intended in their general description of the line. Had the maps of that day represented the space between the continent and Vancouver's Island as it is now known, the Gulf of Georgia and Canal de Haro would have been designated by name in the treaty as the boundary channel, on the generally admitted principle' that they constitute the main channel,' although it would be conceding to Great Britain, in addition to
Vancouver's Island and its harbours,' an extensive group of islands south of the forty-ninth parallel.
“At the time they agreed upon the line, they were ignorant of, or at least our Government was ignorant of the existence of the archipelago in the vicinity of the forty-ninth parallel and immediately south of it. It, therefore, would be questionable policy to claim the channel west of the Gulf of Georgia. It would weaken the position already taken in regard to the main channel, though it may be brought with much force as an argument against the British Government, who, without the slightest show of right, have claimed the channel nearest the continent, and all the islands west of it, in the very face of the letter and spirit of the treaty; while the United States, in their attempts to carry the treaty into effect, have waived the rigid construction of the letter of the treaty, and even its plain and obvious meaning, by a liberal interpretation of it, as well as the intentions of the negociators, so as to make the main channel the boundary between the territories of the United States and Great Britain. In this respect the contrast between the course of the two Governments is most striking.
“I have the honour to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
" ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL, “ Commissioner North-west Boundary Survey. “ Hon. Lewis Cass, Secretary of State.”