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ont of the Boundary Question.
proposed convention for regulating the jurisdiction over the Disputed Terri. tory, pending the settlement of the Boundary Question. * As Sir W. Colebrooke reports to me that the people of Maine show every disposition to continue their encroachments on the territory, and as it is impossible for them to do so without an almost certainty of collision between them and the Authorities of New Brunswick, it would be exceedingly desirable, were it possible, to complete such a convention. It is also not improbable that the present Government might be better disposed than Mr. Van Buren's to agree to this measure.
I have, &c., (Signed) SYDENHAM.
Inclosure 2 in No. 27.
Mr. Fox to Lord Sydenham. (Extract)
Washington, July 27, 1841. I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordship's letter of the 13th instant, referring to the negotiation for regulating the temporary jurisdiction over the Disputed Territory. I have been for some time past in communication with the present Secretary of State, Mr. Webster, upon this subject; and I have now at length received from him a definite proposal which I have to submit to your Lordship’s consideration.
But, in the first place, I herewith inclose the copy of a letter (not, I believe, hitherto forwarded to you,) which I addressed to the late Secretary. of State, Mr. Forsyth, on the 17th of August of last year, transmitting to him an informal memorandum of the terms upon which I proposed that an amended arrangement should be concluded. The letter and memorandum were framed in conformity with my instructions from the Foreign Office, and with the opinions and wishes expressed in your Lordship's despatches to me upon the same subject, of March and June, 1840. Mr. Forsyth did not return. any written answer to my communication, but informed me verbally, that the President did not desire to enter upon any such negotiation at that moment; and so the matter dropped with the last administration.
When I first resumed the subject of the same negotiation with the present Administration, I found Mr. Webster not very desirous of moving in the business, at least not before the main convention for joint survey and arbitration should be concluded between the two Governments. But since he has communicated by correspondence with Maine, and personally with the Maine delegation in Congress, he is become more disposed to enter upon the subject; and he appears to hold more reasonable views on this question than I have been accustomed to meet with from Americans. It seems, besides, that the Government and leading people of Maine are now themselves desirous of withdrawing the armed civil posse from the Disputed Territory, and of replacing it by a force of regular United States' troops, if the change can be effected without the semblance of an abandonment of pretensions on the part of the State.
Mr. Webster delivered to me, on the 9th of June, the inclosed memo. randum bearing that date, being the draft of an official letter, which, by direction of the President, he proposed to address to me, and requested to have my observations upon the contents of it. I presented to him in reply the memorandum, also herewith inclosed, dated the 11th of June, in which I fully set forth our views and pretensions. Both these, I have to observe, are informal papers, and are to be considered, not as complete official notes, but only as the materials out of which an interchange of official notes shall hereafter be framed, if the terms can be agreed upon.
Mr. Webster made no further reply to me upon the subject until a few days ago, when he informed me verbally, that he had no objections to offer to the terms of my memorandum, excepting only to my declaration, that if the United States placed a force in Fort Fairfield, at the mouth of the Fish River, Her Majesty's Authorities might probably send a force into that part of the
waska settlements which lies to the south of the River St. John's. Upon
this particular point Mr. Webster very explicitly said, that it would be imposs sible for the United States to consent to the stationing of a British military force south of the St. John's; and that no terms could be agreed to if we insisted upon that point. He said that a small United States' force will be placed in Fort Fairfield, in lieu of the armed posse, and that we may then, on our part, place any force we please opposite to Fort Fairfield, on the north bank of the St. John's, and anywhere else along the north bank, facing those parts of the Madawaska settlements that lie to the south of the St. John's; and this, Mr. Webster professes to think, will enable us to give the desired moral protection to our Madawaska subjects on both sides of the St. John's, without risk of collision between the troops of the two countries, which risk of collision would, he thinks, be incurred, if a British military force should appear on the south bank of the river.
From all that has passed between Mr. Webster and myself, I do not think we shall be able to obtain better terms than the above, and I am anxious to learn, as soon as possible, your Lordship's opinion and wishes upon the subject. Many advantages will follow from the withdrawal of the lawless and insubordinate civil posse of Maine, and from the full latitude we shall enjoy of making whatever arrangements we please on the north of the St. John's, which is to us, geographically, the most important part of the territory. On the other hand, I am apprehensive that, under the proposed arrangement, attempts will still be made by the State officers of Maine to interfere with the jurisdiction over our Madawaska settlers, south of the St. John's; and I can scarcely see by what means, short of military force, this can be prevented. Mr. Webster declares that the United States' troops shall have orders not to support the civil officers of Maine in any attempt at jurisdiction within our Madawaska settlements ; but this, I fear, will not restrain the people of Maine; and we can hardly expect that the United States' troops should actively interfere to suppress the attempts of the civil officers of Maine to exercise their pretended jurisdiction. Upon the whole, this point of the exercise of jurisdiction in the southern portion of the Madawaska settlements is the most embarrassing part of the question; and upon this I particularly solicit your Lordship's opinion for my guidance. I have fully explained to Mr. Webster that I can make no final arrangement without your sanction and approval.
I have desired Mr. Moore to forward these despatches from New York to Kingston by a special messenger, who will wait your Lordship's orders. : Mr. Webster seems very anxious that I should be able te give him a definite reply before the departure from Washington of the Maine delegation at the close of the present extra session of Congress.
I have, &c., (Signed) H. S. FOX.
Inclosure 3 in No. 27.
Mr. Fox to Mr. Forsyth.
Washington, August 17, 1840. WITH reference to the negotiation pending between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of the United States, for the establishment of Commissions of Survey and of Arbitration, with a view to the final settlement of the boundary dispute; and, in consideration of the period which may, probably, elapse between the establishment of those Commissions and the final result of their labours, I am directed to invite the serious attention of the Government of the United States to the expediency of providing beforehand, by some temporary but distinct arrangement, against the danger of local vcollisions within the Disputed Territory, which might occur during the period
Teferred to. i Her Majesty's Government are of opinion, that such a measure is urgently called for, with a view ito prevent the friendly relations between the two countries from being interrupted by the indiscreet acts of local authorities, or the attempts of unauthorized and irresponsible parties... í Having already had the honour to communicate to you, at a personal conference, the views of Her Majesty's Government, and of the superior British Colonial Authorities, in relatian to the present subject, I herewith inclose an informal written memorandum of the substance of what I, then suggested, requesting that I may be favoured with a knowledge of the opinion and wishes of the President thereupon. If the basis of the proposed agreement shall be approved of, I shall be prepared to submit to your consideration some further points of detail, more especially with regard to the appointment of Commissioners, as referred to in the 3rd clause of the inclosed paper, and to the nature and extent of the duties to be assigned to them.
I avail myself, &c.,
(Signed) H. S. FOX.
THE fairest terms upon which the proposed arrangement can be con. cluded, appear to be, that each party shall be placed as nearly as possible in the situation in which they stood, when the agreement between Sir John Harvey and Governor Fairfield, in the spring of 1839, was entered into, care being, however, taken to supply the deficiency which has been found to exist in that agreement, with respect to the then existing limits of possession and jurisdiction, and also to obtain the guarantee of the General Government for the due execution of the conditions. The limits and terms of possession and jurisdiction were understood by the British Authorities to be," that the eivil posse of Maine should retain possession of the valley of the Aroog, took, the British denying their right; the British Authorities retaining possession of the valley of the Upper St. John, Maine denying their right." The correctness of this interpretation seems to have been confirmed by General Scott, through whose mediation the arrangement was concluded. The conditions, therefore, to be confirmed in a new agreement will be: . Ist. That whilst the State of Maine retains possession and jurisdiction over the Disputed Territory up to the valley of the Aroostook, that valley included, the British Authorities shall, on their part, retain possession and jurisdiction over the valley of the St. John; and, of course, that the State of Maine shall withdraw from the post taken up in contravention of this arrangement, at Fort Jarvis, on the Fish River.
2ndly. That all movements beyond these limits of armed force on either side, whether of regulars, militia, or armed posse, shall cease, as well as the erection of strong buildings, and the cutting of roads.
3rdly. That Commissioners shall be named by the two Governments to see that the stipulated conditions are duly carried into effect.
Inclosure 4 in No. 27.
Mr. Webster to Mr. Fox..
MEMORANDUM. ON mentioning to the President the substance of our last conversation, be expressed his satisfaction in learning that you were in daily expectation of receiving communications from your Government respecting the Convention now in progress for a joint commission' to settle the Boundary Question. He is anxious that the completion of this Convention, of which he finds not only the basis, but the main particulars already agreed to by the parties, should be hastened as much as possible. It would be very desirable that it should be concluded and submitted to the Senate at its present Session; so that, if ratified, Congress might immediately pass the necessary law for carrying it into effect.
However amicable may be the disposition of the two Governments, a
question of this kind, while it remains unsettled, keeps alive continual causes of excitement and irritation, creates frequent occasions on the one side or the other, and may give room for interests to spring up, such as may not a little embarrass both Governments hereafter. For these reasons, the President is most earnest in his desire, that, since a Convention for a joint commission is the measure already assented to, the parties may proceed to its completion with all practicable despatch.
This is deemed a fit occasion to recur to the subject of the occupation of the Disputed Territory, during the time which may elapse before the final decision on the title. Complaints have been made on both sides, of infringements of the arrangement entered into in the spring of 1839, between the Governor of Maine and the Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick, although happily no actual collision has hitherto occurred. The State of Maine has, to this time, kept up her civil posse, to protect the territory against lawless depredation. But the necessity of maintaining this posse involves the State in considerable expense; and since the principal question is now in a train for settlement, under the authority of this Government and that of Great Britain, the President thinks, that to those Governments, respectively, the entire care of protecting the territory should be confided, who would, of course, cause that duty to be performed by persons acting under their own immediate orders, and directly responsible to them. The President, therefore, proposes to relieve the civil posse of Maine, by placing small detachments of United States' troops in the two positions which portions of that posse now occupy. • The President understands, that occupation of any part of the Disputed Territory, under arrangements heretofore made, or now made, or to be made is not to be regarded, by either party, as giving any new strength to the title or claim of either, or as taking a military possession; but that such occupation is to be understood to have for its objects, as was stated by you in our last conversation, the peace of the borders, and the preservation of the property, for the benefit of whichever of the parties may be found ultimately entitled to it. It is not intended that any detachment of troops, on the part of the United States, shall be placed farther north than the spot now occupied by one part of the posse of Maine, at Fish River; it being understood that the detachments of British troops will be continued in their present position, on the left or north bank of the St. John's River. The distance of these positions from each other, and still more the discipline of the troops, will, it is trusted, prevent danger of collisions; while the positions themselves are so selected that trespasses on any part of the Disputed Territory may be prevented.
A respectful attention has been paid to a suggestion heretofore made by you, that the Authorities of the United States should occupy the valley of the Aroostook, and those of the British Government that of the St. John's. But this would be in some considerable degree indefinite, as it might not be easy to ascertain, without trouble and expense, the highlands which separate those valleys. But if the understanding be, that the British Authorities shall hold the possession of that part of the Disputed Territory which lies north of the St. John's, the United States, in the meanwhile, denying the British right to it; and the Authorities of the United States shall hold possession of the part south of the St. John's; the British Government, in like manner, denying the American right to it, an arrangement will be accomplished which promises quiet on the border, and the security of the territory against trespasses.
I have great pleasure in communicating to you, thus frankly, the motives which have led the President to relieve the civil posse of Maine, by the substitution of a small detachment of United States' troops, to take its place in the two positions which it now occupies.
June 9, 1841.
Inclosure 5 in No. 27.
· Mr. Fox to Mr. Webster.
. I HAVE no doubt that I shall receive before long the answer of Her Majesty's Government to the last project of Convention, &c., offered by the Government of the United States. I am certain that Her Majesty's Government will use no unnecessary delay; but it is nevertheless very possible that the present short session of Congress may close before the Convention can be concluded ; in any case, the Commission to be appointed under the proposed Convention could not now go into operation until the spring or summer of next year, 1842. It is to be hoped no evil will result from this delay; but, if any should, it must be attributed to the unexpected rejection, by the American Government, of the last previous Draft of Convention offered by Her Majesty's Government; which Draft was framed in exact accordance with the terms that were understood to have been already, agreed to by the United States....
With respect, in the mean time, to the provisional custody of the different parts of the Disputed Territory, (which forms the other portion of your letter,) Her Majesty's Government at home, and the Colonial Authorities of North America, have long been desirous to amend and place upon a more definite and satisfactory footing the temporary arrangement now subsisting. Her Majesty's Government would not, I believe, be averse from concluding . an arrangement, by which the several parts of the territory should be placed provisionally in the custody of British and United States' regular troops, respectively, within specified limits, and to the exclusion altogether of the armed civil posse of Maine now employed. I had several communications with Mr. Forsyth upon this subject, and delivered to him an informal memorandum, dated August 17, 1840, of the terms upon which I should consider myself authorized to assent to the arrangement. But the plan proposed in your letter, although satisfactory in some points, greatly exceeds those terms. I do not believe that Her Majesty's Authorities would consent to the stationing of an United States' force at the post called Fort Jarvis at the mouth of Fish River, Her Majesty's Government considering that that post was established by Maine in direct contravention to all the existing agreements, and in derogation to the authority and jurisdiction which have always been . held by Great Britain. Her Majesty's Government expect that the station at the mouth of Fish River shall be relinquished altogether, under any new arrangement that may be agreed upon: and I am under the impression, that if, without the assent of the British Government, an American force should be placed there, Her Majesty's Authorities will find themselves obliged to strengthen considerably the British military force within that part of the Madawaska settlements which lies to the south of the St. John's, for the protection of Her Majesty's subjects there residing; and these movements would occasion much risk of dangerous collision between the forces employed by the two parties.
With respect to the proposal of making the channel of the St. John's the temporary line of demarcation, it no doubt presents, geographically, many advantages; but, politically, it is open to objection, if strictly adopted. The Madawaska settlements, peopled wholly by British subjects, cover both banks of the St. John's for some distance along its course; and I apprehend that no temporary arrangement would be consented to by Great Britain, which excluded any part of those settlements from British jurisdiction and authority; such jurisdiction and authority having never ceased to be exercised there, The presence in any part of those settlements of an American force, would occasion conflicts of jurisdiction; and such conflicts, if supported or engaged in by the regular troops of the two parties, would lead to very serious consequences.
I offer you the above informal remarks upon the subjects treated of in your proposed letter to me. I should not feel authorized to reply to your