War of the Rebellion: Serial 106 Page 0628 OPERATIONS ON THE PACIFIC COAST. Chapter LXII.

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ultimo. A communication of 31st ultimo from his headquarters says: "The general confides to General Alvord everything that it is proper should be done in the matter. " I send you herewith a copy of General Wright's letter* of the 9th of March last to the commanding officer at San Juan Island; also a copy of General Orders, No. 129, of the 129th of May lst from headquarters Department of the Pacific. + The latter is the only modification made by Geneal Wright of the instructions of the 9th of March. You speak in your letter of the assistance to be rendered the civil authorities, and whether a voting precinct should be sustained, &c. You may probably expect too much direct assistance. It is the duty of the military there, as everywhere else, not to interfere, as Geneal Wright says, with the civil authorities. If an offender directed to be arrested by competent civil authority should resist the arrest the sheriff should first call out the usual posse comitatus, and if that fails military assistance could then be invoked. It is for the preservation of the peace the military maty stop in. As to the collection of taxes upon American citizens, I suppose there will be no attempt to levy a tax on the land. As to whether taxes can be levied on the personal property of Americans on the disputed island, that is a matater to be decided by the civil and judicial authorities. The power possessed by the commanding officer to expel a resident on San Juan Island is absolutely necessary, though an odious one, and should be reserved for extraordinary occasions. Our magistrates should, of cour British subjects before their tribunals. Mr. Hamblet, it seems, dis summon a British subject before him, and that, too, in a land case. The act of Congress of 2nd of March, 1853, creating the Territorial government of Washington Territory, provided "that justices of the peace shall not have jurisdiction of any case in which the titelo to land shall in anywise come in question. " Thus Mr. Hamblet was guilty of a gross and criminal assumption of authority. If his offense endangered the peace, it would have been right to banish him, even if a magistrate. It is highly desirable that the question of boundary should be speedily settled, but while the Government is so absorbed by the present civil war a further postponement of the negotiations will probably occur. I can well imagine the multitude of puzzling and difficult questions which must grow out of the joint occupation, some of them embarrassing to yourself and others concerned. It seems to be the duty of patriotism at this trying crisis in our history to practice forberance and await patiently the progress of events. Pray make all proper allowance for the commanding officer under the difficult circumstances in which he is placed. The instructions of the 31st ultimo received from General Wright's headquarters say: "The general commanding has no objections to the civil authority exercising their proper functions on that part of the island over which the military commandant of our Government execises control, but they must not, in the present state of affairs, attempt to exercise authority over the northern half, that under charge of the English commandant. The residents in the southern half must behave themselves, and not make it a nest for gamblers and driking shops. "

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Brigadier-General, U. S. Volunteers, Commanding District.


*See Wright to Bisell, p. 343.

+See p. 463.