« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
the pleasure of the President of the United States has been made known on the subject. I can, however, frankly assure your Excellency that the same motives which have induced me to listen to the appeals of my own countrymen will be exerted in causing the rights of Her Majesty's subjects to San Juan to be held inviolate.
“I have the honour to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
“W. S. HARNEY, “Brigadier-General, United States Army, Commanding.
“His Excellency James Douglas, C.B., “ Governor of Vancouver's Island and its Dependencies,
“ Vice-Admiral of the same, &c." About this period Colonel Casey (1) was ordered by General Harney to reinforce the United States troops on the island, and on the 7th of August the General wrote to the senior officer of the United States navy, “commanding squadron on the Pacific coast” requesting him to order to Puget Sound such force as he could render available to assist in the protection of American interests in that quarter. On the 8th of August General Harney wrote the following despatch to the Adjutant-General :(?)
“Head-quarters, Department of Oregon,
Fort Vancouver, W.T., August 8, 1859. “ COLONEL,—In connection with my report of yesterday's date, I desire to state that the island of San Juan has for months past been under the civil jurisdiction of Whatcom County, Washington Territory. A justice of the peace had been established on the island, the people had been tazed by the Company, and the taxes were paid by the foreigners as well as Americans. An Inspector of Customs, a United States officer of the Treasury department, had been placed upon the island, in the discharge of his proper duties. The British authorities
(1) American State Papers, p. 158. () Idem, p. 160.
at Vancouver's Island were aware of all these facts, and never attempted to exercise any authority on the island, except clandestinely, as reported yesterday in the case of the pig which was killed.
“When Governor Douglas heard of the arrival of Captain Pickett's command at San Juan, he appointed a justice of the peace and other civil authorities at Victoria, and sent them over in the British ship of war Plumper, to execute British laws on the island. Captain Pickett refused to permit them to act as such, and I have sustained him in his position. I believe I have now fully and fairly explained all the facts which have any bearing upon the occupation of San Juan Island, which was made an imperious necessity by the wanton and insulting conduct of the British authorities of Vancouver's Island towards our citizens. “I am, Colonel, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. S. HARNEY,
“Brigadier-General Commanding. “ Colonel S. Cooper, Adjutant-General, United States
Ariny, Washington City, D.C.”
Colonel Casey landed on the island on the 10th of August,(1) and was directed to reinforce his command with four companies of artillery, if he conceived necessity required it.
The Colonel described his landing on the island, and subsequent proceedings, in the following highly characteristic letter :(9)—
“Camp Pickett, San Juan Island, W.T.,
“ August 12, 1859. “CAPTAIN,- I have the honour to report that, in obedience to orders received from department head-quarters, I left Fort Steilacoom on the steamer Julia on the 9th instant (the morning after the receipt of the order), with my command. In a short
(1) American State Papers, pp. 163, 164. (2) Idem, p. 164.
time after leaving we were met by the steamer Active, on her way to Fort Steilacoom, for the purpose of communicating to me the state of affairs on the island. I was strongly and solemnly advised by Captain Alden, in view of the momentous consequences that might arise, not to land any troops on the island, as this would be prevented by the British steam-ship of war, Tribune, who, with her fires constantly kept up, was lying with her broadside on the landing.
“ Although fully appreciating the terrible consequences of a hostile collision with our quasi enemy, which would probably be no less than involving two great nations in war, I did not, under the circumstances, however, consider myself at liberty to disregard my orders, and accordingly resolved to land under the guns of the frigate. The commencing hostilities should be on their side. We left Port Townshend about twelve o'clock the night of the 9th, expecting to reach San Juan early on the morning of the 10th. The fog, however, came up so dense, that we did not make the island of San Juan until about seven o'clock the morning of the 10th.
“ After hugging the shore for a few miles, I was informed by the captain that we were but a short distance from Captain Pickett's camp, and that it was difficult to get along, on account of the fog, and that, moreover, the tide was so low that he would not have been able to have gotten up to the wharf at the landing for several hours.
“ Findinig ourselves in a smooth place near the land, with the coast so depressed at the point as to make the ascent from the shore easy, I landed the troops and howitzers, with orders to the senior officer to move them to Captain Pickett's camp.
“I proceeded on the steamer around to the wharf, taking with me my adjutant and a small guard for the howitzer ammunition and other public property.
“I found the Tribune lying as has been described. They did not interfere with the landing of our freight; whether they would have interfered with the landing of the troops I cannot say. It is Captain Pickett's opinion that they would.
“Before I had landed from the steamer I received a message from Captain Pickett, by one of his officers, requesting my presence at once in camp. The captain pointed out to me a British war steamer, ascertained afterwards to be the Satellite, which he was under the impression was about taking a position to shell the camp. The camp is situated on a narrow neck of land opposite to the harbour, and distant about twothirds of a mile. The Tribune, lying in the harbour, had on board several hundred men, composed of Marines, Royal Artillery, and Sappers and Miners. He expected the land attack from the harbour side, and was prepared to fire upon them with his howitzers, and then spike them, deliver fire with his musketry, and retreat to the woods. Not having time to form any well considered plan of my own with regard to the state of affairs, I did not countermand the directions that Captain Pickett had given, seeing the danger of a collision at any moment, which would inevitably lead to war between two mighty nations connected by so many common bonds, and, whichever way it might terminate, would be eminently disastrous to the cause of civilisation and the interests of humanity.
I resolved to make an attempt to prevent so great a calamity. I sent an officer aboard the Tribune, with a request that Captain Hornby, the commander, would call on me at my camp
for the purpose of a conference. “ The message returned to me by Captain Hornby was that he was much engaged at that time, and would come if he could conveniently, but would be happy to see me on board his vessel. However, in a few hours the Captain came, accompanied by Captain Prevost, the British, and Mr. Campbell, the United States Commissioner.
“I informed Captain Hornby that I had landed that morning with a force of United States troops, and explained to him the reason why I had not landed at the wharf under the guns of the frigate.
“I also said to him that I regretted that Captain Pickett had been so much harassed and threatened in the position he had occupied. I inquired of Captain Hornby who the officer highest in command was, and where he was to be found. He
said it was Admiral Baynes, and that he was then on board the flag-ship Ganges, in Esquimault harbour. I intimated a wish to have a conference with the Admiral, and that I would go down to Esquimault harbour the next day, for the purpose of the interview. Both the Captain and the British Commissioner seemed pleased. The next day, accompanied by Captain Pickett (both of us in full uniform), and Mr. Campbell, I went down to Esquimault, on the steamer Shubrick. We anchored near the Ganges. I sent to the Admiral, by an officer, the note marked A. I received in reply the note marked B. The note marked C was taken on board by Captain Pickett, and handed to the Admiral in person. The Captain was courteously received by the Admiral Governor Douglas was present in the cabin. After reading the note the Admiral handed it to the Governor. The Governor inquired if I knew he was on board the ship. The Captain replied that he had no reason to suppose I did, but that I had not sought an interview with him, but with the Admiral. The Captain informed the Admiral that the steamer was then firing up, but that I would be happy to wait, should he then desire to give me the conference. It was declined; but the Admiral reiterated his desire that he would be happy to see me on board the ship. I was of opinion that I had carried etiquette far enough in going twenty-five miles to see a gentleman who was disinclined to come one hundred yards to see me.
“ The proposition which I intended to have made the Admiral was this: to calm the rising excitement on both sides among the people, and to give time for the intentions of the home Government to be made known in regard to the matter, I intended to propose that in case he (the Admiral) would pass his word on honour that no threats should be made, or molestation given, by the force under his command, for the purpose of preventing Captain Pickett from carrying out the orders and instructions with which he is intrusted, I would recommend to the commanding General the withdrawal of the reinforcement which had landed on the island under my command, and that affairs should so remain until the sovereign