페이지 이미지


and the Province of New Brunswick. In doing this, reference must be had to the extent and value of the Territory in dispute, but, as a general rinciple, we cannot do better than keep in mind the intention of the }. of the first Treaty of Peace in 1783, as expressed in the preamble to the provisional Articles in the following words:– “Whereas reciprocal advantages and mutual convenience are found by experience to form the only permanent foundation of peace and friendship between States,” &c. I have on a former occasion explained the reasons which have induced the British Government to maintain their rights in this controversy beyond any apparent value in the object in dispute, to be the establishing a good boundary between our two countries, so as to prevent collision and dispute, and an unobstructed communication and connexion of our colonies with each other. Further, it is desired to retain under the jurisdiction of each Government respectively such inhabitants as have been for a length of time so living, and to whom a transfer of allegiance might be painful or distressing. • - . These are shortly the objects we have in view, and which we must now see to reconcile to a practical division of the Territory in dispute. Great Britain has no wish of aggrandizement for any general purpose of increased dominion, as you must be satisfied by the liberality with which I have professed myself ready to treat questions of boundaries in other quarters, where no considerations of particular convenience or fitness occur. I might further prove this by calling your attention to the fact, that of the land likely to come to us by any practical settlement, nine tenth parts of it are, from its position and quality, wholly worthless. It can support no population, it grows even little timber of value, and can be of no service but as a boundary, though from its desert nature an useful boundary, for two distinct Governments. In considering on the map a division of the territory, in question, this remarkable circumstance must be kept in mind, that a division of acres by their number would be a very unequal division of their value. The southern portion of this territory, the valley of the Aroostook, is represented to be one of the most beautiful and most fertile tracts of land in this part of the continent, capable of the highest state of cultivation and covered with fine timber, while the northern portion, with the exception of that small part comprised within the Madawaska settlement, is of the miserable description I have stated. It would be no exaggeration to say that one acre on the Aroostook would be of much more value than ten acres north of the St. John. There would be, therefore, no equality in making a division of acre for acre. But although I remind you of this circumstance, I do not call on you to act on it. On the contrary, I am willing that you should have the advantage in this settlement, both in the quantity and the quality of this land; all I wish, is to call this fact in proof of my assertion that the object of Great Britain was simply to claim that which was essential to her, and would form a convenient boundary, and to leave all the more material advantages of this bargain to the State of Maine. I now come to the more immediate application of these principles to a definite line of boundary, and looking at the map with reference to the sole object of Great Britain as already described, the line of the St. John from where the north line from the St. Croix strikes it, up to some one of its sources, seems evidently to suit both parties, with the exception which I shall presently mention. This line throws the waste and barren tract to Great Britain and the rich and valuable lands to Maine, but it makes a good boundary, one which avoids collision and probable dispute, and, for the reasons stated, we should be satisfied with it if it were not for the peculiar circumstance of a settlement formed on both sides of the St. John, from the mouth of the Madawaska up to that of the Fish River. The history and circumstances of this settlement are well known to you. It was originally formed from the French establishments in Acadie and has been uninterruptedly under French or British dominion, and never under any other laws. The inhabitants have professed great apprehensions of being surrendered by Great Britain, and have lately sent an earnest petition to the Queen deprecating that being done. . Further, this settlement forms one united community, all connected together and living some on one and some on the other side of the river, which forms a sort of high road between them. It seems self-evident that no more inconvenient line of boundary could well be drawn than one which divides in two an existing municipality; inconvenient as well to the inhabitants themselves as to the authorities under which they are to live. There would be evident hardship, I might say cruelty, in separating this now happy and contented village, to say nothing of the bickerings and probable collisions likely to arise from taking in this spot the precise line of the river which would, under other circumstances, satisfy us. Indeed, I should consider that such a separation of these industrious settlers, by placing them under separate laws and Governments, a most harsh proceeding, and that we should thereby abandon the great object we should have in view of the happiness and convenience of the people, and the fixing a boundary the least likely to occasion future strife. I dwell on this circumstance at some length, in justification of the necessity I am under of departing to this inconsiderable extent from the io line of the River St. John. What line should be taken to cover this difficulty I shall have to consider with you, but I cannot in any case abandon the obvious interests of these o It will be seen by an inspection of the map that it is not possible to meet this difficulty by making over to Maine the northern portion of this settlement, as that would be giving up by Great Britain the immediately adjoining communication with Canada, which it is her principal object to preserve. These observations dispose of those parts of this question which immediately concern the State of Maine, but it may be well at the same time to state my views .# the adjoining boundary of the States of New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York, because they made part of the reference to the King of the Netherlands, and were, indeed, the only part of the subject in dispute upon which a distinct decision was given. The question here at issue between the two countries was as to the correct determination of the parallel of latitude and the true source of the Connecticut River. Upon both these points decisions were pronounced in favour of Great Britain, and I might add, that the case of America, as matter of right, was but feebly and doubtingly supported by her own authorities. I am nevertheless disposed to surrender the whole of this case, if we should succeed in settling, as proposed, the boundary of Maine. There is a point or two in this line of boundary where I may have to consider will you, with the assistance of the surveyors acquainted with the localities, the convenience of the resident settlers; as also what line may best suit the immediate country at the head of Connecticut River, but substantially the Government of America shall be satisfied, and this point be yielded to them. - - This concession, considered with reference to the value of the land ceded, which is generally reported to be fertile, and contains a position at Rouse's Point much coveted in the course of the controversy, would, under ordinary circumstances, be considered of considerable importance. The concession will, however, be made by Great Britain without reluctance, not only to mark the liberal and conciliatory spirit by which it is desired to distinguish these negotiations, but because the case is in some respects analogous to that of the Madawaska settlement before considered. It is believed that the settlers on the narrow strip which would be transferred to Great Britain by rectifying the 45th parallel of latitude, which was formerly incorrectly laid down, are principally from the United States, and that their opinions and habits incline them to give a preference to that form of Government under which, before the discovery of the error in question, they supposed themselves to be living. It cannot be desired by Her Majesty to acquire any addition of territory under such circumstances, whatever may be the weight of her rights; but it will be observed that the same argument applies almost exactly to the Madawaska settlement, and justifies the reservation I am there obliged to make. In these days the convenience and happiness of the people to be governed will ever be the chief guide in transactions of this description between such Governments as those of Great Britain and the United States.

Before quitting this, subject I would observe, that it is rumoured that Major Graham, in his late survey in Maine, reports some deviation from the true north of the line from the head of, the St. Croix towards the St. John. I would here propose also to abide by the old line long established, and from which the deviation by Major Graham is, I am told, inconsiderable, without at all doubting the accuracy and good faith of that very distinguished officer. - In stating the important concessions I am prepared to make, on a final settlement of these boundaries, I am sensible, that concessions to one state of this Union are not always to be made available for the satisfaction of any other; but you are aware that I am treating with the United States, and that for a long line of important boundaries, and that I could not presume to enter on the question, how this settlement might operate on, or be, in any way compensated to, the different States of the confederacy. I should, however, add my unfeigned belief, that what I have proposed will appear reasonable with reference to the interests of the State of Maine, considered singly ; that the proposition, taken as a whole, will be satisfactory to the country at large I can entertain no doubt. s , , I abstain from noticing here the boundaries further west which I am prepared to consider and to settle, because they seem to form part of a case which it will be more convenient to treat separately. , . : “... . . In the course of these discussions much anxiety has been expressed, that Maine should be assured of some means of communication by the St. John, more especially for the conveyance of her lumber. This subject I. am very willing to consider, .# sensible of the great importance of it to that State, and that the friendly and peaceful relations between neighbouring countries cannot be better secured than by reciprocally providing for all their wants and interests. Lumber must, for many years, be the principal produce of the extensive valley of the Aroostook, and of the southern borders of the St. John ; and it is evident, that this article of trade being worth anything must mainly depend upon its having access. to the sea through that river. It is further evident, that there can be no such access under any arrangement, otherwise than by the consent of the Province of New Brunswick. It is my wish to seek an early opportunity of considering with some person well acquainted with the commerce. of that country, what can be done to give it the greatest possible freedom, and extent, without trenching too much on the fiscal regulations of the two countries. -- - - r: , . But in the meantime, in order to meet at once the urgent wants and wishes of Maine in this respect, I would engage that, on the final settlement of these differences, all lumber and produce of the forest of the tributary waters of the St. John, shall be received freely without duty, and dealt with in every respect, like the same articles of New Brunswick. I cannot now say, positively, whether I may be able to go further, but this seems to me what is principally required. Suggestions have at times, been thrown out of making the Port and River of St. John free to the two countries, but I think you will be sensible that this could not be done without some, reciprocity for the trade of St. John's in ports of the United States, and that in endeavouring to regulate this we should be embarking in an intricate question, much and often discussed between the two countries. It cannot also fail to occur to you, that joint rights in the same harbours and waters must be a fruitful source of dissension, and that it behoves us. to be careful not to sow the seeds of future differences in the settlements, of those of our own day. . . . - - * -- - I have now stated, as I was desired to do, my views of the terms upon which it appears to me that this settlement may be made. . It must be sufficiently evident, that I have not treated the subject in the ordinary; form of a bargain, where the party making the proposal leaves himself something to give up. The case would not admit of this, even if I could bring myself so to act. It would have been useless, for me to ask what I, know could not be yielded; and I can unfeignedly say that, even if your vigilance did not forbid me to expect to gain any undue advantage over ou, I should have no wish to do so. The Treaty we have to make will {. subjected to the scrutiny of a jealous and criticising public; and it

[ocr errors]

would ill answer its main purpose of producing and perpetuating future

harmony and good will, if its provisions were not considered by good and

reasonable men to make a just and equitable settlement of this long

continued controversy. Permit me, Sir, &c.,


No. 6.
Mr. Webster to Lord Ashburton.

Department of State, My Lord, - Washington, July 8, 1842.

YOUR notes of the 13th and the 21st of June were duly received. In the first of these, you correctly say, that in our conferences on the Boundary Question, we have both been of opinion, that no advantage would be gained, by resorting at this time, to the discussion at length of the grounds on which each party considers its claim of right to rest. At the same time you deem it expedient, nevertheless, to offer some observations calculated, in your judgment, to repel a supposed allegation or suggestion, that this controversy began only in 1814; that, up to that period, the American claim was undisputed; and that the English claim, as now set forth, is founded merely on motives of interests. Nothing is more natural, than that your Lordship should desire to repel an imputation which would impeach the sincerity and good faith of your Government, and all the weight which justice and candour require is given to your Lordship's observations in this respect. It is not my purpose, nor do I conceive it pertinent to the occasion, to go into any consideration of the facts and reasonings presented by you, to show the good faith and sincerity of England in the claim asserted by her. Any such discussion would be a departure from the question of right now subsisting between the two Governments, and would be, more especially, unfit for an occasion, in which the parties are approaching each other in a friendly spirit, with the hope of terminating the controversy by agreement. Following your Lordship's example, however, I must be permitted to say, that few questions have ever arisen under this Government, in regard to which a stronger or more general conviction was felt, that the country was in the right, than this question of the North-Eastern Boundary. To say nothing of the sentiments of the Governments and people of the States more directly interested, whose opinions may be supposed capable of bias, both houses of Congress, after full and repeated consideration, have affirmed the validity of the American claim, by a unanimity experienced on very few other subjects; and the general judgment of the whole people seems to be the same way. Abstaining from all historical facts, all contemporaneous expositions, and all external arguments and circumstances, I will venture to present to your Lordship a very condensed view of the reasons which produce, in this country, the conviction, that a boundary line may be ascertained, run, and delineated with precision, under, and according to the words of the stipulations in the Treaty of 1783; that no doubt can be raised by any part of that stipulation which other parts of it do not remove or explain; and that a line, so run, would include all that the United States claim. This view is presented by a series of short propositions. 1. The north-west angle of Nova Scotia is the thing to be sought for and found. 2. That angle is to be ascertained by running a line due north from the source of the St. Croix River, till that line reaches the highlands; and when such north line intersects the highlands there is the angle; and thence the line is to run along the said highlands, which said highlands divide those rivers which empty themselves into the River St. Lawrence, from those that fall into the Atlantic Ocean. The angle required, therefore, is an angle made by the intersection of a due north line with highlands, from one slope of which the rivers empty themselves into the River St. Lawrence and from the other into the Atlantic Ocean. 3. Supposing it to be matter of doubt, whether the St. John and the Restigouche are rivers falling into the Atlantic Ocean, in the sense of the Treaty, then the rule of just interpretation is, that if one element or one part in the description be uncertain, it is to be explained by others which are certain, if there be such others. Now there is no doubt as to the rivers which fall into the St. Lawrence; they are certain, and to their sources the north line is to run, since, at their sources, the highlands required by the Treaty, do certainly exist; and departing for a moment from the rule just prescribed to myself, I will remind your Lordship, that the joint commissioners and the agents of the two Governments in 1817, in giving the surveyors instructions for finding these highlands, directed them, in terms, to proceed upon a due north line, “until they should arrive at some one of the streams connected with the River St. Lawrence,” and then to explore the highlands from that point to the north-westernmost head of Connecticut River. It is indisputable that a line run according to these instructions thus given by the commissioners and agents of both Governments, would give to the United States all that they have at any time claimed. 4. It is certain, that by the Treaty the Eastern Boundary of the United States, from the head of the St. Croix, is to be a due north and south line; and it is equally certain, that this line is to run north till it reaches highlands from whose northern water-shed the rivers flow into the St. Lawrence. 5. These two things being, one mathematically, and the other physically, certain in themselves, and capable of being precisely marked and delineated, explain or control the uncertainty, if there be uncertainty, in the other part or element of the description. 6. The British argument, assuming that the Bay of Fundy, and more especially the Bay of Chaleur, are not the Atlantic Ocean within the meaning of the Treaty, insists, that the rivers flowing into these bays, are not, therefore, in the sense of the Treaty, rivers falling into the Atlantic ; and, therefore, the highlands to which the United States claim, have not that southern or eastern water-shed which the Treaty calls for; and, as it is agreed, nevertheless, that we must somewhere find highlands and go to them, whose northern waters run into the St. Lawrence, the conclusion is, that the different parts of the description in the Treaty do not cohere, and that, therefore, the Treaty cannot be executed. 7. Our answer to this, as is obvious from what has already been said, is twofold. 1. What may be doubtful in itself, may be made certain by other things which are certain; and, inasmuch as the Treaty does certainly demand a due north line and does certainly demand the extension of that line to highlands, from whose northern sides the rivers flow into the River St. Lawrence, these two clear requirements make it plain, that the parties to the Treaty considered, in fact, the rivers flowing from the south or east of the said highlands to be rivers falling into the Atlantic. Ocean; because they have placed St. Lawrence rivers, and the Atlantic rivers, in contradistinction to each other, as rivers running in opposite directions, but with their sources in the same highlands. Rivers fed from these highland fountains running north, or north-west, are rivers emptying themselves into the St. Lawrence; and rivers arising from the same fountains and running in an opposite direction, seem to be as clearly meant to be designated by the character of Atlantic rivers. And as, strongly corroborating this view of the subject, allow me to call your Lordship's attention to two facts. 1. The coast of the Atlantic Ocean from Penobscot River, northeasterly, and the western shore of the Bay of Fundy, which is but a continuation of the coast, and is in a line with it, is very nearly parallel to the course of the River St. Lawrence through the same latitudes. This is obvious from the map. 2. The rivers which, from their sources in the same ridge, flow

« 이전계속 »