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in question, but conclude with recommending a settlement of the dispute by negotiation or compromise, rather than by war. They contain nothing either new or particularly worthy of remark, but have attracted some attention in this country in consequence of the Report being drawn up by Mr. Howard, of Baltimore, now a Senator of the State Legislature of Maryland, but who for some years past, and until the last year, was a member of Congress from Maryland, and Chairman of the Committee of Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives. Mr. Howard is an adherent of the defeated Van Buren party, and has lately been delivering public lectures to a Mechanics’ Institute at Baltimore, upon the subject of the Boundary dispute, in a tone of great animosity against Great Britain. I have, &c. (Signed) H. S. FOX.
Inclosure in No. 20.
Report of the Select Committee of Maryland, to whom were referred Resolutions of the States of Maine, Indiana, and Ohio, in relation to the North-Eastern
THE Resolutions of the State of Maine are as follows:– “Resolved, That the patriotic enthusiasm with which several of our sister States the past year tendered us with their aid to repel a threatened foreign invasion, demand our grateful recollection, and whilst this spirit of self-sacrifice and self-devotion to the national honour pervades the Union, we cannot doubt that the integrity of our territory will be preserved. “Resolved, That the promptness and unanimity with which the last Congress, at the call of this State, placed at the disposal of the President, the arms and treasures of the nation, for our defence, the firmness of the Executive in sustaining the action of this State, and repelling the charge of an infraction of the arrangement made with the British Lieutenant-Governor in March last, and charging back upon the British Government the violation of that agreement— their decision in demanding the removal of the British troops now quartered upon the disputed territory as the only guarantee that they sincerely desire an amicable adjustment of the Boundary Question, afford us confident assurance that this State will not be compelled single-handed to take up arms in defence of our territory and the national honour, and that the crisis is near, when this question will be settled by the National Government, either by negotiation or by the ultimate resort. “Resolved, That unless the British Government, during the present session of Congress, make, or accept a distinct and satisfactory proposition for the immediate adjustment of the Boundary Question, it will be the duty of the General Government to take military possession of the disputed territory; and in the name of a sovereign State, we call upon the National Government to fulfil its constitutional obligations to establish the line, which they have solemnly declared to be the true boundary, and to protect this State in extending her jurisdiction to the utmost limits of our territory. “Resolved, That we have a right to expect the General Government will extend to this member of the Union, by negotiation or by arms, the protection of her territorial rights, guaranteed by the federal compact, and thus save her from the necessity of falling back upon her natural and reserved rights of self-defence and self-protection—rights which constitutions can neither give nor take away; but, should this confidence of a speedy crisis be disappointed, it will become the imperative duty of Maine to assume the defence of our State and national
honour, and expel from our limits the British troops now quartered upon our
territory. “Resolved, That the Governor be requested to forward copies of these reso
lutions to the President and Heads of Departments, and to the Senators and
Representatives in Congress from this State, with a request to the latter to lay them before the respective bodies of which they are members, also to the Governors of the several States with a request to lay them before their several
The Legislatures of Ohio and Indiana have [. resolutions responsive to the above; expressing hopes that the dispute between the United States and Great Britain will be amicably settled, but tendering “the whole means and resources of the respective States to the authorities of the Union in sustaining onr rights and honour.” - Invited by the State of Maine to express an opinion upon a subject deeply interesting to that State and also to the United States, the Legislature of Maryland cannot do this with propriety unless after a careful examination into the merits of the case. The question is one which cannot be clearly understood, without a reference to numerous State papers, but which, when disembarrassed of the refinements which diplomatic subtlety has thrown around it, is easily intelligible. It is the intention of the Committee to give a succinct statement of the different views entertained by the Governments of the United States and Great Britain, without entering into the details of the arguments by which they are respectively sustained, for which a volume would be requisite instead of the ordinary limits of a report. Nothing, however, which is deemed material to a fair exposition of the case, will be intentionally omitted. Three maps are annexed to the Report, without which the Committee could not make themselves understood. The Second Article of the Provisional Treaty of Peace executed on the 30th of November, 1782, and the Second Article of the Definitive Treaty of Peace between the United States and Great Britain, executed on the 3rd day of September, 1783, use the same language in describing the boundaries of the United States, viz.:-‘‘From the north-west angle of Nova Scotia, viz., that angle which is formed by a line drawn due north from the source of the St. Croix river to the highlands; along the said highlands which divide those rivers that empty themselves into the River St. Lawrence from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean, to the north-westernmost head of the Connecticut river,” &c.; and after tracing the boundary round to the north and west, the description concludes with the eastern line as follows:—“East by a line to be drawn along the middle of the River St. Croix, from its mouth in the Bay of Fundy to its source, and from from its source directly north to the aforesaid highlands which divide the rivers that fall into the Atlantic Ocean from those which fall into the River St. Lawrence.” - y These lines have never yet been traced and marked upon the surface of the earth. The north-eastern corner of the United States, and north-western part of Nova Scotia offered few inducements to settlers, on account of the comparative unproductiveness of the soil. The people of Massachusetts and Maine moved to the fertile regions of the west, and those who desired to settle in the British dominions, passed on to Lower or Upper Canada. No practical inconvenience was, therefore, felt by the want of precise knowledge as to the actual position of the Boundary Line, except on the seaboard, where the population was more dense. To remove this difficulty, the Vth Article of the Treaty of 1794 recites, “that doubts had arisen what river was truly intended under the name of the River St. Croix, mentioned in the Treaty of Peace, and forming a part of the boundary therein described,” and provides for the appointment of three Commissioners who should “be sworn impartially to examine and decide the said question.” Both nations agreed to “consider such decision as final and conclusive, so as that the same should never thereafter be called into question, or made the subject of dispute or difference between them.” In execution of this Article a Board of Commissioners was appointed, who not only decided which was the true head of the St. Croix, but placed a monument there, which has, until the last few months, been admitted on all sides to be the place of departure in running the Eastern Boundary Line of the United States. The Report of Messrs. Featherstonhaugh and Mudge proposes to the British Government to rescind all its action under that Treaty, alleging that the Commissioners erred in their decision. Of that Report it will be necessary to speak more particularly hereafter, and it is alluded to here only to express the surprise which is felt that any public functionaries of the Government of Great Britain should deliberately make to that Government such a reckless proposal. It is now more than forty years since that monument was erected, under a guarantee from Great Britain that the decision should never thereafter be called into question, or made the subject of dispute or difference between the two nations. If the theory of Messrs. Featherstonhaugh and Mudge will not stand, K
consistently with the continuance of the monument, it is the theory and not the monument which must be removed. The Treaty of Ghent, signed on the 24th of December, 1814, in its Wth Article, after reciting that “neither that point of the highlands lying due north from the source of the River St. Croix, and designated in the former Treaty of Peace between the two Powers as the north-west angle of Nova Scotia, nor the north-westernmost head of Connecticut river had yet been ascertained, nor that part of the boundary line between the dominions of the two Powers which extends from the source of the River St. Croix, directly north, to the abovementioned north-west angle of Nova Scotia, thence along the said highlands which divide those rivers that empty themselves into the River St. Lawrence, from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean,” had been surveyed, provided for the appointment of Commissioners to ascertain and determine the points abovementioned, and cause the boundary to be surveyed and marked. If they differed in opinion, a reference of the disputed points was to be made to some friendl Sovereign or State, who should be requested to decide on the differences ...; might be stated in the Reports of the Commissioners. In the execution of this duty, the Joint Commissioners started from the monument which they found at the head of the St. Croix river, and proceeded to run the line due north, as called for by the Treaty of 1783. It is remarkable that in the performance of this important service, neither set of Commissioners was furnished with the instruments necessary to run the line with astronomical precision. They used only a surveyors’ compass, correcting it by such indecisive observations of the stars as they were able to make without the appliances of accurate philosophical instruments; and the line which they ran has been since proved to be entirely wrong. After proceeding in what they thought to be a due north course for about forty miles, they came to an insulated hill, called Mars Hill, where the British Commissioners insisted upon stopping; alleging that they had found the north-west angle of Nova Scotia, and also the highlands which divided those rivers that empty themselves into the River St. Lawrence from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean. They then turned westwardly, and traced a very crooked line around the heads of these streams which flow into the Aroostook river, which discharges itself into the St. John's, and those which fall into the Atlantic rivers. This line, they said, was the Northern Boundary of the United States; and separate Reports being made by the Commissioners to the two Governments, it was agreed on the 29th day of September, 1827, to refer the matter to some friendly Sovereign or State, and various stipulations were entered into for the purpose of facilitating the decision of the arbiter. Mitchell's map, which is annexed to this Report, is admitted, upon both sides, to be “the map by which the framers of the Treaty of 1783 are acknowledged to have regulated their joint and official proceedings,” and another map, also annexed to this Report, was “agreed upon by the contracting parties as a delineation of the water courses and of the boundary lines in reference to the said water courses, as contended for by each party respectively.” The King of the Netherlands, the selected arbiter, decided on the 10th of January, 1831, “that he could not adjudge either of the lines to one of the said parties, without wounding the principles of law and equity with regard to the other,” and proposed a new Boundary Line, running from the monument due north to the middle of St. John's river, up that river to the St. Francis, one of its branches, thence to its south-westernmost source, and thence due west to the line claimed by the United States. This proposition was, in June, 1832, declined by the American Government. Great Britain was willing to accept it, but, after some time yielded to the wish of the United States, that the question should be again open for negotiation. Since that time numerous diplomatic notes have been exchanged between the two Governments, a minute examination of which would lead the committee too far from the purpose which they have in view. Great Britain first assumed the ground that an attempt to find the Treaty line was declared by the arbiter to be hopeless; but afterwards agreed to the proposition of the American Government to institute a new survey, coupled, however, with a condition that the Commissioners should be instructed to consider the St. John's River, as not being one which emptied itself into the Atlantic Ocean. It was in vain that the American Government remonstrated against this, as requiring a preliminary abandonment of its whole argument; the condition was insisted upon, until the disturbances upon the frontier, in February, 1839, placed the peace of both nations in great peril. The latest exhibition of the state of the negotiation which the Committee can find in the papers within their reach, is a Note from Mr. Fox to Mr. Forsyth, containing the following extract:—
Mr. For to Mr. Forsyth.
“June 22, 1840.
“The Undersigned is accordingly instructed to state officially to Mr. Forsyth, that Her Majesty's Government consent to the two principles which form the main foundation of the American Counter-Draft, namely: first, that the Commission to be appointed shall be so constituted as necessarily to lead to a final settlement of the question of Boundary at issue between the two countries; and, secondly, that in order to secure such a result, the Convention by which the Commission is to be created, shall contain a provision for arbitration upon points, as to which the British and American Commissioners may not be able to agree. gree. The Undersigned is, however, instructed to add, that there are many matters of detail in the American Counter-Draft which Her Majesty's Government cannot adopt,” &c.
This prospect of a final settlement is far from being satisfactory. The “matters of detail” which “Her Majesty's Government cannot adopt,” may be spun out by diplomatic finesse to an inextinguishable length. All the practical good which Great Britain could derive from the ownership of the soil, she draws from its possession under the existing temporary arrangement between the two Governments. The road from the Capital of New Brunswick to Quebec, passes through the corner of the Disputed Territory, and the right of transit constitutes its chief value. As long, therefore, as Great Britain enjoys under a temporary understanding all the benefit which an ultimate settlement in her favour could bestow, it is her policy to protract the negotiation. She has all the advantages of success, without the hazard of loss. It is to be apprehended that “matters of detail” will be discussed until they become matters of substance. In the mean time, the population of the State of Maine is spreading over a portion of the disputed territory. The geological investigations of that State have shown that the Aroostook River waters some of the finest lands in the State. Roads are constructed from the seaboard northwardly into these fertile regions, and settlements are extending. The danger of border conflicts is annually increasing; armed bodies of men are near each other, with mutually exasperated feelings. Men who will live in the woods, enduring the severity of a northern winter, and follow a pursuit pregnant with danger to life, are apt to be constitutionally brave. This is the case with the lumber-men of Maine. They transport upon the snow to the banks of the frozen streams the lumber which they have prepared in the forest, and wait until those same snows, by their melting, swell the rivers sufficiently to float down their hardly acquired property to a market. This sort of life invigorates men's bodies and courage, but endangers the peace of a disputed frontier. A chance affray which may happen at any time would be likely to result in loss of life; and if blood once be shed it will be difficult, if not impossible, to assuage the popular feeling. With a strong desire to preserve peace on the part of the Governments and people of the United States and Great Britain, still they are in too much danger of accidental collisions between the inhabitants of this border, which they may find themselves unable to restrain. A war between the United States and Great Britain is an evil greatly to be deprecated. It would be an arduous, bloody, and long struggle. The Eastern States, instead of holding back, would upon this Boundary Question be the foremost in the fight. The whole northern frontier of the United States is in an inflammable condition, and would cheerfully respond to a call of their Government; whilst upon the seaboard, the modern improvements in war vessels and gunnery, would spread the horrors of war over our extensive Atlantic coast. The peculiar situation of Maryland must cause its Legislature to look with great anxiety upon any question which is calculated to jeopard the peace of the country. In a question of national honour there is no room for choice or hesitation; neither in the course which Great Britain has pursued in her negotiation with the United States, nor in the multitude of disciplined troops which she has spread over our northern frontier, nor in the establishment of a speedy communication by steam between England and the provinces; a communication which the good people of Boston have hailed with such pleasure, unobservant of the motives which have led to its introduction, can the Committee see any purpose but that of resolutely maintaining the supremacy of Great Britain over her North American provinces, and the enjoyment of the military road between Halifax and Quebec. In this attitude of things, the Legislature of Maryland look upon the prospect before us with deep interest. The geographical position of our State makes it more than commonly vulnerable; we have a right, therefore, to express our opinions frankly to the State of Maine and to the Federal Government. To do this with propriety, it becomes necessary to re-examine the Boundary Question carefully, and see whether national prejudices may not have influenced the opinion of the State of Maine as to her rights. The first mention of our northern boundary is found in the 2nd Volume of the “Secret Journal of Congress,” page 133, under the date of February 23, 1779, in a Report of a Committee, of which Mr. G. Morris was chairman:— “Your Committee are of opinion that the following Articles are absolutely necessary for the safety and independence of the United States, and therefore ought to be insisted on as the ultimatum of these States. 1. That the bounds of the United States be acknowledged and ratified as follows: Northerly by the ancient limits of Canada, as contended for by Great Britain, running from Nova Scotia south-westerly, west, and north-westerly to Lake Nessessing, thence a west line to the Mississippi; easterly by the boundary settled between Massachusetts and Nova Scotia; southerly, &c.” After discussing the Report of this Committee, Congress adopted (March 19, page 138,) a more precise description of the northern boundary, in which the north-west angle of Nova Scotia first makes its appearance, with even more perspicuity than is found in the Treaty itself. “Congress took into consideration the Report of the Committee of the whole, and agreed to the following ultimata:—l. That the thirteen United States, are bounded, north, by a line to be drawn from the north-west angle of Nova Scotia, along the highlands which divide those rivers which empty themselves into the River St. Lawrence from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean to the north-westernmost head of Connecticut River, thence, &c., and east, by a line to be drawn along the middle of St. John's from its source to its mouth in the Bay of Fundy, or by a line to be settled and adjusted between that part of the State of Massachusetts’ Bay, formerly called the Province of Maine, and the colony of Nova Scotia, agreeably to their respective rights, &c.” The offer here made of varying the boundary so as to make the St. John's River the line, from its source to its mouth, has been recently repeated to the British Government, but then, as formerly, declined. The alternative proposition was carried into effect, and Massachusetts and Nova Scotia left, by the Treaty, where their previously existing rights placed them. The north-west angle of Nova Scotia is assumed in this instruction as the starting point, and this was exactly conformed to by the Commissioners who negotiated the Treaty, except that they undertook to define what that angle was, and where it could be found. Their description of it was accurate, and coincident with the old boundaries of the two Provinces of Massachusetts and Nova Scotia; and both conform to the present claim of the United States. . It is perfectly clear that there must then have been, and must now be, a north-west angle of Nova Scotia somewhere. If Nova Scotia reached to the North Pole on one side, and the Pacific Ocean on the other, it would be difficult to get to the north-west angle, although there would still be one. But with an extent more limited than this, it is only necessary to pnrsue the northern and western boundaries until they meet, in order to find the angle. The specification, therefore, in the instruction of Congress, would, of itself, have been sufficient, without the superadded description in the Treaty; and this will appear from a reference to the limits of Nova Scotia as they existed at the commencement of the revolutionary war. But it so happens that the addition made by the Commissioners corresponds, even in language, with the then existing public documents and grants, and shows that they were entirely familiar with all those papers which have been drawn into the discussion at a more recent period. It may not be amiss to take a cursory glance at the characters and qualification of these Commissioners. -