HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,
San Francisco, March 9, 1863.
Captain LYMAN BISSELL,
Ninth Infty., Commanding Camp Pickett, San Juan Island, Wash. Ter.:
(Through Brigadier General B. Alvord, commanding District of Oregon:)
CAPTAIN: I have received from Mr. I. E. Higgins, the postmaster at San Juan Island, a copy of the proceedings of a meeting of the citizens of the island held on the 1st of February, 1863. I do not understand the real object of the meeting. The resolutions are somewhat engimatical, particularly the second. However, to settle this business, for the present, you can say to the American settlers on the portion of the island undert the jurisdiction of the United States that they will not be intefered with by the military authorities in any manner whatever. The civil authorities, if duly appointed or elected under the laws governing the Territory of Washington, will be permitted to exercise their legitimate functions. But it will be borne in mind that the question which arose between the commissioners of the two Governments (United States and Great Britain) as to the ownership of the island is still in abeyance, and until finally settled we are bound in good faith to adhere rigidly to the arrangements entered into between Lieutenant-General Scott and His Exellency Governor Douglas. The joint occupation then agreed upon and approved by our Government will be maintained. For this purpose the U. S. troops are posted on the island to afford protection to our citizens, but to entitle them to such protection they must settle and remain within that portion of the island under our jurisdiction. However strong may be my conviction that our claim to the island is just, and that it will ultimatly be so acknowledge by the British authorities, yet, having agreed to this joint occupation pending the negotiations, I will not permit that arrangement to be intefred with. Communicate to the residents within our limits on the island my views on this subject.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, U. S. Army, Commanding.
Copy of a portion of the resolutions at the meeting of citizens of San Juan Island, above referred to.
First. We will be governed by the laws provided us by the Legislative Assembly of Washington Territory and the United States, and that we will at all times cheerfully recognize the lawfully consituted authorities of the Territory, and when necessary aid them in the discharge of their duties.
Second. That we cannot concur with Captain Bissell, in thinking that he is our Governor, or that he has the power to authoritze us to make laws by which we will be governed, it being evident to us that according to the arrangement made by General Scott and Governor Douglas the military were placed here to exercise a police supervision over the civil authorities of their respective Governments, and to aid the civil authorities of those Governments in enforcing the laws upon their respective subjects and citizens, or in protecting them in their lives, property, and all the rights to which they ae entitled.
Third. That any citizen of the United States who has or may preempt a land claim on this island and preform acts upon it that show occupancy in good faith shall be protected by us in his rights if interfered with during his absence.