Captain Lyman Bissel, Ninth Infantry, commanding on San Juan Island, asking for a report in detail as to the difficulties. He anticipated my wishes by the accompanying letter of the 16th ultimo* for you, forwarded through these headquarters, inclosing also a report from E. D. Warbass, a very respectable resident on the island. I have seen the Honorable B. F. Shaw, late member of the Legislative Council from Whatcom County. He confirms in every particular the statements of Captain Bissell and Mr. Warbass as to the character of the individuals who got up the resolutions forwarded to General Wright on the 1st of February. I am sure, from my own knowledge as well as the statements of Mr. Shaw, that the paper now forwarded tot he general commanding the department by Mr. Warbass and dated the 10th of March, 1863, is signed by the most respectable and substantial American settlers on the island. You will notice that these citizens approve of the course of Captain Bisell as best calculated to preserve "the friendly relations existing between the British and American posts and the settlers of the respective nations. " By the act of Congress of the 2nd of March, 1853, establishing the Territorial government of Wahsington Territory (see section 9), it is provided "that justices of the peace shall not have jurisdiction of any case in which the title to land shall in any wise come in question. " It was thus a gross assumption in Mr. E. T. Hamblet, the justice of the peace, to attempt to assume jurisdiction in land cases, and a still more criminal assumption for him to summon a British subject from the northeast end of the island to appear before him on the subject of his land claim, or for any other purpose. This latter proceeding was in contempt of the basis of joint occupation. Captain Bissel for this offense suspended him in his functionss as justice of the peace. I would have preferred to have expelled him from the island. I have given the subject thorough inve have respectfully to recommend that the general commanding the department authorize the commanding officer on San Juan Island to banish from the island any person fomenting any quarrel or misunderstanding between the British and American residents, or troops, or any one disturbing the peace and good order of the island, it being occasions imperatively requiring it. I will proceed to give my reasons for this recomendation:
This course was provided for in General Scott's "Project of a Settlemen," &c., accompanying his letter to Governor Douglas, dated 2nd of November, 1859 (see PAGE64, Senate Document Numbers 10, of 30th of January, 1860.) Admiral Baynes, in his letter [inclosed] of the 20th of March, 1860, to Captain L. C. Hunt, Fourth Infantry, commanding U. S. troops on San Juan, states that he placed Captain Bazalgette, of the Royal Marines, on the island "for the purpose of establishing a joint military occupation agreeably to the proposotion of Lieutenant-General Scott" (see PAGE17 of House Document Numbers 98, of 20th of June, 1860). This must be regarded as a distinct acceptance by the British Government of the above-named proposition of General Scott, and Admiral Baynes accordingly instructs Captain Bazalgette in his discretion "to send off the island by the first opportunity" any British subject committing offenses complained of by the officer commanding the U. S. troops. No corresponding power has ever been given to the commandant of the U. S. troops. I can see no proper objection to it an the anomalous state of things existing on the island, especially as there is evidence in these papers that vagabound are beginning to resort to the island as a
*See p. 402.