Thursday, November 8, 2007

Things Heat Up

Punch cartoon from Vouri's The Pig War

Following the “exceedingly annoying affair” of the sheep auction on the beach tensions continued to rise. Both British and Americans received instruction from further up their command counseling them to maintain the peace. Neither country however went so far as to suggest ceding territory as a means to secure the peace. To the contrary, both sides saw retaining San Juan Island as being in their respective national interest.

Not only that but northern tribes were sweeping south with increasing frequency in fierce raiding parties attacking both settlers and southern tribes taking slaves, guns, pots and scalps (remember Issac Ebey). The common adversary inspired some cooperation between the British and the Americans while at the same time bringing the military closer in. The United States established military posts at Bellingham Bay and Port Townsend and by 1856 Rear Admiral HW Bruce of Her Royal Majesties Navy relocated his Pacific fleet from Central America to Vancouver Island.
references: Baily-Cummings Powder-Keg Island, Vouri's The Pig War

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