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avoided; and unless the Boundary Question should be soon settled, I apprehend that the people of Maine will again attribute the delay, as they have done on former occasions of excitement, to the British Government, and which is calculated to lead to excesses in a population so little amenable to authority.
I am bound also to observe to your Lordship, that a strong feeling exists not only amongst the Acadian settlers at Madawaska, but generally throughout the province, as to the inefficacy of the concessions made to the Americans, and the undue advantage they have taken of the conciliatory disposition manifested towards them; and I am strongly of opinion, that if the negotiations are likely to be protracted, the employment of the regular troops of both States would be a measure of wise precaution, and probably the only one that would effectually guard against a collision.
I have, &c., (Signed) W.M.G. COLEBROOKE.
P.S.SI inclose to your Lordship the extract of a letter from M. Langevin, the Catholic priest at Madawaska, to Sir John Harvey, which may be considered to convey the sentiments of the people with whom he is connected.
(Signed) W. M. G. C.
Extract of a Letter from M. Langevin to Sir John Harvey.
. Madawaska, 15 Juin, 1841. • QUANT aux affaires politiques, nous vivons tantôt dans l'espérance et tantôt dans la crainte de ce qui va se passer par rapport à la ligne; mais advienne ce que pourra, nous aimons mieux la guerre que de céder un pouce de terrain de Madawaska aux Américains.
Inclosure 8 in No. 28.
Government House, Kingston, June 8, 1841. I HAVE the honour to transmit to you herewith, the copy of a despatch addressed to me by the Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick, on the 11th último, together with a copy of my despatch to him of the 21st May, and an extract of my answer to his present despatch.
I trust that the further information which it was expected to obtain, and in anticipation of which I have hitherto delayed to address you, may show that some mistake exists as to the intentions of the people of Maine. Judging, however, from their former proceedings, it is but too probable that they are truly represented, and I therefore deem it expedient to possess you of these despatches, in order that you may, if possible, avail yourself of an opportunity to draw the attention, unofficially, of the United States' Government to the rumours which prevail of the intentions of Maine. They may perhaps, thus forewarned, be able to arrest such proceedings, should they be really meditated, and avert the necessity of any formal application, which would become indispensable under these circumstances.
They will readily perceive that Great Britain cannot acquiesce in any further encroachments by the State of Maine, or any further interference with Her Majesty's subjects on the banks of the St. John's. If, indeed, the people of Maine are permitted to extend their settlements in the Disputed Territory, as they have hitherto done, the claims of Great Britain will be virtually decided without the intervention of either Government; and against this result we are bound to take effectual precautions.
I have, &c., (Signed) SYDENHAM.
Government House, Montreal, May 21, 1841. I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's despatch of the 8th instant.
My official despatch of the 17th instant will have communicated to you my approval of the course pursued by the Warden of the Disputed Territory, in the case of Baker, to which reference is again made by your Excellency in your present letter. The offence committed by that person could not with propriety be passed over. He had already been made amenable to the laws of the province; and even under the limits assigned under Sir John Harvey's Convention, and maintained by him, there can be no doubt that he and those residing near him, fall under the jurisdiction of Her Majesty. In the event, therefore, of attention being given to any complaint he may prefer to the American Government, which I agree with you, however, in thinking unlikely, our answer is easy and direct..
But the case which you put as one of possible occurrence, namely, that of the implication of any of the American posse at Fish River, in similar offences demanding the exercise of his authority over any one of that body by the Warden in like manner, is one of a different character, and of a very delicate nature.
I entertain the most decided opinion, that the Americans ought never to have been permitted by Sir John Harvey to form that establishment which was in direct and open violation of the Convention made by himself; but it has been suffered, and thus the curious anomaly is presented of an armed posse, in the pay and under the authority of a Foreign State, being stationed within a district over which Her Majesty claims and has exercised jurisdiction. Whilst, therefore, it is true that the authority of the Warden extends, even according to the interpretation above referred to, over the fort at Fish River, it would, in my opinion, be extremely imprudent and unwise to call it in question unless we are prepared to carry it to its full extent, which would really be the removal of the American posse altogether. A case might arise of so grave a character, in the shape of insult or injury to Her Majesty's subjects along the St. John's, as would necessitate interference with this force and justify the collision which must attend it, but every endeavour should be used to avoid it, and certainly the offence contemplated as likely to call for it, is one of the last which would be a sufficient motive for what might be attended with such serious consequences.
I would, therefore, request your Excellency to enjoin the strictest caution on the Warden, with regard to his conduct in this respect, and to direct him in the special case in question to abstain from any interference with the American civil posse. Whilst it is incumbent upon him to afford protection to the inhabitants of the settlements in the event of their being aggrieved, and to prevent the assumption and exercise of jurisdiction over them by any American authority, it is no less desirable, under the peculiar state of the question, care, fully to avoid any step which may, without grave cause, renew agitation, or, above all, bring on a collision.
I take the opportunity of informing your Excellency that a portion of the
troops now at Madawaska will be withdrawn to the barrack at the Dégelée, in conformity with an arrangement desired by the Commander of the Forces, on military grounds.
Inclosure 11 in No. 28.
Kingston, June 8, 1841. I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's despatches of the 11th, 15th, and 27th of May, on the subject of the Disputed Territory, and the proceedings adopted by the Warden for its protection. I had abstained from answering you before, in expectation of receiving the further intelligence, which the concluding sentence of your despatch of the 11th of May led me to expect.
From my despatch of the 21st ultimo, your Excellency will have learned my views in regard to the exercise by the Warden of any authority over that part of the Disputed Territory now in possession of the State of Maine. I still continue to think that every exertion should be made not inconsistent with the national honour and the safety of Her Majesty's subjects, to prevent a collision ; but it is impossible to allow the people of Maine to carry out the scheme which you suppose to be in contemplation, without an entire sacrifice of British interests. I trust that the further information which Mr. Mc Lauchlan is seeking, will shew that some mistake exists as to their intentions, if not, I shall immediately, upon receiving your letter and further report, apply to Mr. Fox, with a request that he will at once appeal to the Federal Government to prevent acts on the part of Maine, which are contrary to the existing arrangements between the countries, and which, if persisted in, must inevitably lead to collision. I shall, without waiting for the report, inform that gentleman of the rumours which prevail, in order that he may take an opportunity of bringing them privately before the United States' Authorities, with a view to their prevention.
In the meantime, the instructions which were addressed by the Secretary of State and myself to Sir John Harvey will sufficiently point out to your Excellency the course to be pursued, to protect the inhabitants of the Madawaska settlement, and to keep open the communications between the Lower Provinces and Quebec.
. In regard to the cutting timber, the Warden should continue, as heretofore, to prevent any of Her Majesty's subjects from infringing in this way on the existing agreement, and any timber cut by citizens of Maine, should, without fail, be seized on its passage down the St. John's. It would probably be expedient to make known the intention of the British Authorities in this respect, as a means of deterring the American population from any proceeding of the kind.
Inclosure 12 in No. 28.
Government House, Fredericton, June 9, 1841. I HAVE the honour to inclose to your Excellency, for your information, the copy of a despatch which I have this day addressed to Lord Sydenham, with a communication I have received from the Warden of the Disputed Territory. ... I hope that early intimation may be given to me of any milit
lovements which may be intended upon the frontier of this province.
.. I have, &c., (Signed) W.M. G. COLEBROOKE.
Inclosure 13 in No. 28.
Fredericton, New Brunswick, June 9, 1841. I HAVE received this day a despatch from the Warden of the Disputed Territory of which I inclose to your Lordship a copy, and of my reply to it.
Your Lordship will have been prepared, by my previous communications, for the interference of the Americans with the settlers at the Madawaska, and I regret that a magistrate of this province should have been so far misled as to have entered into the transactions alluded to in complying with the demand of the land agent for the payment of dues on the timber.
I have referred to the Attorney-General on the subject; but it must have been known to the American Agent, that the licence to cut timber in the Disputed Territory could not exempt it from seizure, if attempted to be introduced into this province.
. I hope to receive instructions from your Lordship or Her Majesty's Minister at Washington, of any arrangement which may be made respecting the intended employment of troops on the frontier, and of the relief of the armed posse at the Fish River.
I have, &c., (Signed) W.M.G. COLEBROOKE.
P.S. I inclose copy of the Attorney-General's Report just received.
Inclosure 14 in No. 28.
May it please your Excellency,
Grand Falls, June 4, 1841. PERMISSION having been given by his Excellency the Governor and Council in March last, upon the recommendation of the Surveyor-General, for allowing the settlers of Madawaska, as well as other persons, to haul and take to market any old white pine timber in their possession, by paying a duty of 4s. to 5s. a ton into the crown-land office; it now appears, by a letter I have received from Mr. Coombs, a magistrate of Madawaska, a copy of which I have the honour to transmit to your Excellency, showing, that he has purchased from the settlers residing on the St. John's, above the block-house occupied by the American armed posse at the entrance of the Fish River, a quantity of timber, about 500 tons, part of which I find old, and part new, and for which he is obliged to pay to the land agent of the State of Maine 5s. per ton, previous to his being allowed to remove the same.
I am informed by Mr. Coombs, the indulgence granted by our Government to the settlers of Madawaska was previously allowed by the land-agent of Maine to that portion of the settlement above the Fish River, and further, that permission had not only been given to remove the old timber, but to manufacture new, through the woods where timber had been iujured by fire.
Mr. Coombs has also stated to me, that in a conversation he had a few days ago with the officer in charge at the Fish River, that the civil armed posse was shortly to be removed, and the block-house occupied by a military force; and that no jurisdiction, on the part of the Civil Authorities of Madawaska, would be permitted by the State of Maine beyond the Fish River. I find Mr. Coombs is of opinion, that the instructions recently received by the assessors of county rates from Her Majesty's Attorney-General, for assessing all the property through the settlement, which must include that in possession of the American armed posse, will lead to a collision between the two Governments, as, no doubt, some of the peace-officers, in the execution of their duty, will be arrested and sent on to Houlton or Bangor.
I have, &c., ...... (Signed) JAMES A. Mc LAUCHLAN.
Inclosure 15 in No. 28.
Madawaska, May 31, 1841. I HEREWITH inclose you a receipt from Captain Rines, Deputy landagent at Fish River, for 642) tons of timber, at 58. per ton duty, which was manufactured on lands occupied by, and purchased by me from, the settlers in the vicinity of Fish and St. Francis Rivers, the said timber being principally old timber, and the remainder made of trees partially burnt over whilst clearing land.
I, therefore, beg that you will lay this communication before Her Majesty's Government for consideration, and trust that I may be allowed to carry said timber to market free of any further duty.
I have, &c., (Signed) L. R. COOMBS.
Receipt of Captain Rines.
Fish River, May 29, 1841. RECEIVED of L. R. Coombs 642 dollars and 50 cents in full, for the stumpage of 642. tons of white pine timber, cut on the public lands in the vicinity of the St. Francis Rivers, by the settlers, viz. :
Messrs. Johnson and Savage
Total = 642) (Signed) STOVERT RINES, Deputy Land-Agent of the State of Maine.
Inclosure 16 in No. 28.
Sir W. Colebrooke to Mr. Mc Lauchlan.
Fredericton, New Brunswick,
June 9, 1841. I HAVE received your letter of the 4th instant, inclosing to me an application you had received from Mr. Coombs, a magistrate of Madawaska, dated the 30th ultimo, to be allowed to bring to market, free of duty, certain timber for which he had paid the American agent, but which he had purchased from the settlers residing on the St. John's, above the American block-house at the entrance of the Fish River, who had cut it, under permission given by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council in March last. You also inform me that certain instructions, recently received by the assessors of county rates from the Attorney-General, for assessing all property through the settlement, which, as you state, (must include that in possession of the American armed posse,) would lead to a collision between the two Governments. . I have referred to the Attorney-General for his explanation upon the foregoing subjects; but, as I conelude from the date of your letter, that you had not received my instructions of the 2nd instant, I need only refer you to them for your guidance ; it being obviously important, that the assessors should not be allowed to interfere in any measure with the Americans at the block-house, by proceeding to assess their property at that place.