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proposal definitively and officially, until I have received the opinion of the Governor-General Lord Sydenham, with whom I shall immediately communicate upon the subject.
June 11, 1841.
Mr. For to Viscount Palmerston.—(Received August 29.)
My Lord, Washington, August 8, 1841. I HAVE the honour herewith to inclose copies of a series of communications, with their respective inclosures, which I have recently received from his Excellency the Governor-General of British North America, and from the Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick, upon various incidental matters connected with the present state of the Disputed Territory. The first part of these communications was referred to in my despatch to your Lordship of the 27th of June; they are now continued up to the 27th of July, which is the date of the last letter that I have received from the LieutenantGovernor of New Brunswick - I have, &c.,
(Signed) H. S. FOX.
Inclosure I in No. 28.
Sir William Colebrooke to Mr. Foa.
- Government House, Fredericton, Sir, New Brunswick, May 10, 1841.
1 HAVE the honour to inclose, for your Excellency's information, copies of two letters which I have had occasion to address to Lord Sydenham, relating to the prosecution before the magistrates at Madawaska, of a man named Baker and another, who have been convicted of having enticed some soldiers of the 56th Regiment to desert, and also coucerning our relations with the Americans of the State of Maine in respect to the Disputed
Territory. I h & ave, &c. (Signed) W. M. COLEBROOKE.
Inclosure 2 in No. 28.
Sir W. Colebrooke to Lord Sydenham.
Government House, New Brunswick, My Lord, Fredericton, May 1, 1841.
I HAVE the honour to inform your Lordship that I have this day received a report from Mr. McLauchlan, the Warden of the Disputed Territory, that he had arrested a person named Baker, and three others, with a charge of having enticed several soldiers to desert from the detachment of the 56th Regiment stationed at the Madawaska; that he had brought them before himself and another magistrate, and had fined Baker, on conviction, 201., who paid the money, and was discharged, though declining, as an American citizen, to acknowledge the jurisdiction.
I have called on Mr. McLauchlan to make me a special report of these proceeds, and to repair to Fredericton to afford explanations in a case which gives occasion to reference from the Authorities in Maine, the residence of Baker being near the Fish Rivers.
I have, &c.,
(Signed). W. M. COLEBROOKE.
Inclosure 3 in No. 28.
Government House, My Lord, Fredericton, New Brunswick.
REFERRING to my letter of the 1st instant, I have the honour to inclose to your Lordship, copies of two letters addressed to me by the Warden of the Disputed Territory. Being in expectation of his arrival with a further report of his proceedings in the case of Baker, I did not enter into the circumstances of the case, in reference to which, so far as I am informed, the conduct of the Warden has been judicious. It appears that Baker, an American of the United States, is the same person who was brought to trial in the Supreme Court of this province, in the year 1828, and found guilty of sedition in an attempt to subvert the British Authority in the Disputed Territory. He has continued to reside in the same situation, about seven miles from the block-house erected on Fish River by the Americans, during the last year, and where, I am informed, a small number of persons from the State of Maine are still maintained. Baker and three other persons residing with him, were arrested by a warrant from Mr. McLauchlan, on the 21st ultimo, and tried on the 25th before himself and another magistrate, on a charge of assisting seven soldiers of the 56th Regiment to desert. He pleaded not guilty, and declined to make any defence, on the ground that, as an American citizen and on American territory he did not acknowledge the jurisdiction of the Court. Baker and his servant were convicted and discharged on payment of the fine imposed. As the deserters took their route through the American post, it is probable they were assisted by the American posse; and if evidence to this effect had been obtained, it would have been equally the duty of the Warden to have apprehended those persons in the exercise of the undoubted jurisdiction with which he is invested. It is to this circumstance that I would wish to draw your Lordship's attention. After the correspondence which took place between His late Majesty's Government and the Government of the United States, in respect to the case of Baker, it is not probable that his complaint of the issue of the present proceedings against him will be attended to by the General Government at Washington, although it may be noticed by the authorities in the State of Maine, from whom he is understood to hold a commission; but if any of the armed posse should be apprehended for an infraction of the laws, it might give rise to renewed excitement, especially if the Warden should have occasion to require the assistance of the troops in support of his authority. Not anticipating any immediate occurrence of this nature, and expecting shortly to see Mr. McLauchlan, I do not think it necessary to give him any instructions in addition to those of Sir John Harvey, of the 25th of February. It is, however, impossible to answer for the conduct of the people of Maine, who are ready to avail themselves of any opening to advance their pretensions, and to embarrass the British Government during the pending negotiations, which I cannot but hope will be brought to a satisfactory issue in the course of the present summer. I have, &c., (Signed) W. M. G. COLEBROOKE.
Inclosure 4 in No. 28. - o - - Sir W. Colebrooke to Mr. For.
Government House, Fredericton,
- New Brunswick, May 15, 1841.
IN reference to my letter of the 10th instant, I have the honour to
transmit to you the copy of a further communication which I have addressed
to Lord Sydenham, upon the subject of our relations upon the frontier, and the claims of Her Majesty's subjects in the Madawaska settlement.
- I have, &c.,
Inclosure 5 in No. 28.
Sir W. Colebrooke to Lord Sydenham,
My Lord, Fredericton, New Brunswick, May 11, 1841.
MR. McLAUCHLAN, the Warden of the Disputed Territory, arrived in town yesterday from Madawaska, and has communicated to me the proceedings in the case of Baker and others, referred to in my letter to your Lordship of the 8th instant. From the minutes of the Warden, taken before himself and another magistrate, it appears that Captain Ryan, who is in charge of the American armed posse stationed at the mouth of the Fish River, was present at the house of Baker when the deserters were in it. The apprehension which I expressed, that the Americans might be implicated in acts which would subject them to the penalties of the law, has been strengthened by the circumstance. . . From the report of the Warden, of the 9th of November, on the subject of the town meeting held by the Americans in the settlement, it appears Captain Ryan publicly declared himself to be invested with authority as a magistrate; and Mr. McLauchlan considers that, if required to act in support of his own authority when any of the party might commit acts of aggression, he would be resisted in a manner to render it necessary to require the support of the troops: a proceeding which would doubtless revive the hostility of the people of Maine, and lead to collision with them. Mr. McLauchlan informs me he has reason to believe that it is intended by them, during this present summer, to run a road to the banks of the St. John, between the Great and Little Falls, and that elections will be held in the settlement, as in the last year. He delays, however, to report officially on the subject, until he has acquired more precise information; but threats have been held out to him that, in the event of his interference with such a proceeding, he would be arrested and sent to Augusta. It is certain that the land-agent is selling lands in the Restook; that the settlement of the country is in progress by the Americans, and will be accomplished with a rapidity which would render it extremely difficult, if not impracticable, to disturb them. Although Mr. McLauchlan has of late effectually checked the cutting of timber in the Disputed Territory by the people of the province, he was lately informed by the land-agent, that he was about to grant licenses to the Americans to cut what he called “burnt timber,” to which the Warden objected, alleging that it would lead to the burning of the woods and the cutting of the timber, on the plea that it was burnt; and considering that the alleged grounds for the employment of an armed posse in the Disputed Territory, was to prevent the destruction of the timber by Her Majesty's subjects, this proceeding must be regarded as indicating that other views are contemplated in the occupation. - Under all these circumstances, it is important at this time to consider of the measures to be taken for the maintenance of pacific relations between the two countries, pending the negotiations which are in progress.
In the consideration of the subject, I have referred to your Lordship's letters to Sir John Harvey. - - In that of the 23rd of November last, you have stated that your instructions from Her Majesty's Government are not to permit Maine to occupy or possess land to the north of the St. John's, and to maintain in perfect security the communication by the Madawaska, between Fredericton and Quebec, and that whatever is indispensable for the purpose must be done; and in your Lordship's letter of the 4th of July, you distinctly declared, that Her Majesty's subjects on both sides of the St. John's River were entitled to the protection of the troops stationed at the Madawaska. On the 20th of February, the Warden applied to Sir John Harvey for instructions for his guidance, not having received any instructions subsequent to the arrival of Her Majesty's troops in the settlement; to which Sir John Harvey replied, on the 20th of February, as follows: “That it was not the intention of Her Majesty's Government to relinquish, during the pending negotiations, any part of the jurisdiction over the Madawaska settlements; secondly, that the settlement was considered as extending up the River St. John as far as any inhabitants have been located and established, and would continue to be so considered; and thirdly, that in the event of an American armed posse entering the Madawaska settlement, either above or below the Fish River, it would be the duty of the Warden to put himself in communication with the officer in command of the Queen's troops, who had received instructions for his guidance.” The Warden was directed to apply for special instructions on any occasion which might call for interference out of the line of his ordinary duties as Warden and a magistrate. As the jurisdiction of the Warden had been exercised for so long a time over the whole Disputed Territory, and as it is still exerted in preventing Her Majesty's subjects from cutting timber in it, and as this prevention was the plea on which the American armed posse was first introduced, to limit now the jurisdiction of the Warden to the banks of the Fish River, would risk a renewal of collision of the posse with our lumberers, who, on any relaxed vigilance of the Warden, would probably renew their operations. The temptation is strong, from the fact that the most valuable timber is drawn from the Disputed Territory. If the Americans should cut the timber, the people of the province would complain of being excluded, but as the whole would necessarily be transported by the St. John’s River, where it would be liable to seizure, there is no immediate occasion for interference. From the position of the armed posse at the confluence of the Fish River and the St. John's, the duties of the Warden in protecting the inhabitants of the Madawaska settlement will require much circumspection. In the erection of their block-house, called Fort Jarvis, they cleared land adjoining the improvement of one of the Madawaska settlers, which he claimed; and if, in opening the projected road, they should further proceed to encroach on the lands of the settlers, much embarrassment would ensue, as I find that, in contemplation of the adjustment of the Boundary, when the question was referred to the King of Holland, the British Government had discontinued granting lands to the settlers, who have, however, continued to colonize on both banks of the St. John's as far as the St. Francis, or sixteen miles higher than the American block-house, the settlement having become populous. Grants of land on both banks appear to have been made to the first settlers in 1786 and subsequently; although the difficulty, under actual circumstances, of defining the boundaries of ungranted lands on the south side of the Fish River may be an obstacle to conferring titles for their occupancies to those who have taken up lands without grants, I anticipate that, without such confirmation, the further encroachment of the Americans may be looked for, and their proceedings in settling the lands on the Restook will fully justify the British Government : in securing the interests of their subjects who have so long been settled at the Madawaska, and whose conduct has entitled them to protection. It may be further observed, that by an act passed by the Legislature of this province in 1833, the Madawaska is distinctly recognized as a town or parish of the count . of Carleton, and is declared to embrace all that part of the “county whic lies to the northward of the towns or parishes (of Perth and Andover) on both sides of the River St. John, and to be called known, and distinguished by the name of ‘Madawaska.’” The advance, therefore, of the American armed posse to the St. John’s, at the mouth of the Fish River, and which immediately followed the removal of the 11th Regiment, has been extremely embarrassing, and it may be apprehended, will lead to their continued assertion of a right of jurisdiction along the right bank, which the British Government, in justice to its subjects, will be bound to resist. In the Warden's report of the proceedings at the town meeting, in November last, he noticed the peaceable conduct of the Acadian settlers, who took no part whatever with the Americans; and although their appeal for protection against those proceedings had been delayed to obtain signatures, it manifests the feeling to which the conduct of the Americans has given rise. It will therefore become a question how far the maintenance of pacific relations on the frontier will be practicable, unless the General Government of the United States may be prepared to co-operate, as before, with Her Majesty's Government in arresting the encroachments of the State of Maine, which are calculated to produce collision; and if this should be impracticable, to employ a body of regular troops to control the irregular force which is not wholly withdrawn, and may at any time be augmented. The regular troops, if stationed at the Restook, and Her Majesty's troops
at the Madawaska, would afford a guarantee for the strict observance of
existing engagements between the two Governments pending the negotiations, which does not at present exist, and which could, under no circumstances, be left to depend on the irregular forces of the State of Maine, even if their disposition to encroachment had not been fully manifested. . As soon as the country is open, and the roads are practicable, I propose to proceed to Madawaska, and to inspect the frontier line, when I will again address your Lordship on these important subjects. I have, &c., W. M. G. COLEBROOKE.
Inclosure 6 in No. 28.
Government House, Sir, Fredericton, June 2, 1841.
WITH reference to my letter to your Excellency of the 18th ultimo, I do myself the honour of inclosing to you the copy of a further communication which I have this day addressed to Lord Sydenham on the subject of our relations with the Americans on the frontier. I have, &c., (Signed) W. M. G. COLEBROOKE.
Inclosure 7 in No. 28.
Sir W. Colebrooke to Lord Sydenham.
My Lord, Fredericton, New Brunswick, June 2, 1841.
I HAVE had the honour to receive your Lordship's letter of the 21st ultimo, marked “Confidential,” and, in pursuance of your request, I have given instructions to the Warden of the Disputed Territory, enjoining on him and the other magistrates of the division, the observance of the strictest caution in the exercise of their jurisdiction where the American posse may be concerned. ... I inclose a copy of these instructions, referring to those of Sir John Harvey; but I must candidly avow to your Lordship, that in a review of the proceedings since 1838, I can feel no assurance that a collision with them can be