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Britannia is expected to leave Boston the 1st of February) obliges me to postpone a reply to those parts of them which are not of considerable and immediate importance.
The President expresses himself gratified with the manner in which the Queen received you, to present your letter of credence, and with the civility and respect which appear to characterize the deportment of Lord Aberdeen in his intercourse with you; and you will please signify to Lord Aberdeen the President's sincere disposition to bring all matters in discussion between the two Governments to a speedy as well as an amicable adjustment.
The President has read Lord Aberdeen's note to you of the 20th of December, in reply to Mr. Stevenson's note to Lord Palmerston of the 21st of October, and thinks you were quite right in acknowledging the dispassionate tone of that paper. It is only by the exercise of calm reason that truth can be arrived at in questions of a complicated nature; and between States, each of which understands and respects the intelligence and the power of the other, there ought to be no unwillingness to follow its guidance. At the present day, no State is so high as that the principles of its intercourse with other nations are above question or its conduct above scrutiny. On the contrary, the whole civilized world, now vastly better informed on such subjects than in former ages, and alive and sensible to the principles adopted, and the purposes avowed by the leading States, necessarily constitutes a tribunal, august in character and formidable in its decisions. And it is before this tribunal, and upon the rules of natural justice, moral propriety, the usages of modern times, and the prescriptions of public law, that Governments which respect themselves, and respect their neighbours must be prepared to discuss, with candour, and with dignity, any topics which may have caused differences to spring up between them.
Your despatch of the 31st December announces the important intelligence of a Special Minister from England to the United States, with full powers to settle every matter in dispute between the two Governments; and the President directs me to say, that he regards this proceeding as originating in an entirely amicable spirit, and that it will be met on his part with perfectly corresponding sentiments. The high character of Lord Ashburton is well known to this Government, and it is not doubted that he will enter on the duties assigned him, not only with the advantages of much knowledge and experience in public affairs, but with a true desire to signalize his mission by assisting to place the peace of the two countries on a permanent basis. He will be received with the respect due to his own character, the character of the Government which sends him, and the high importance to both countries of the subjects intrusted to his negotiation.
The President approves your conduct, in not pursuing, in England, the discussion of questions which are now to become the subjects of negotiation here.
P A PERS
RELATIVE TO THE
SPECIAL MISSION OF LORD ASHBURTON
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
18 4 2.
Presented to both Houses of Parliament, by Command of Her Majesty,
PRINTED BY T. R. HARRISON.
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BOUNDARIES. No. 1. Lord Ashburton to Mr. Webster 2. Mr. Webster to Lord Ashburton 3. Lord Ashburton to Mr. Webster 4. Mr. Webster to Lord Ashburton 5. Lord Ashburton to Mr. Webster 6. Mr. Webster to Lord Ashburton Inclosure.
The Commissioners of Maine to Mr. Webster 7. Lord Ashburton to Mr, Webster 8. Lord Ashburton to Mr. Webster 9. Mr. Webster to Lord Ashburton 10. Lord Ashburton to Mr. Webster 11. Lord Ashburton to Mr. Webster 12. Mr. Webster to Lord Ashburton
1. Mr. Webster to Lord Ashburton . . . .
.. Two Inclosures.
1. Extract of a letter from Mr. Webster to Mr. Fox ..
2. Extract from the Message of the President to Congress. 2. Lord Ashburton to Mr. Webster .. 3. Mr. Webster to Lord Ashburton ..
BILL TO PROVIDE FURTHER REMEDIAL JUSTICE, &c. Mr. Webster to Lord Ashburton
... August 29, — 57 Bill to provide, &c. . .. .. .. .. ..
1. Mr. Webster to Lord Ashburton 2. Lord Ashburton to Mr. Webster
· LORD ASHBURTON AND MR. WEBSTER,
Lord Ashburton to Mr. Webstr.
Washington, June 13, 1842. ON considering the most effectual mode of proceeding to arrive at an amicable and satisfactory termination of the long-continued controversy respecting the North-Eastern Boundary, between the British Colony of New Brunswick and the State of Maine, I believe that I may confidently conclude from what passed in the preliminary conferences, which I have had the honour of holding with you, that we concur in the opinion that no advantage would be gained by reverting to the interminable discussion on the general grounds on which each party considers their claims respectively to rest. In the course of the many years that this discussion has lasted every argument on either side is apparently exhausted, and that without any approach to an agreement. The present attempt, therefore, of a settlement must rest for its success, not on the renewal of a controversy, but on proceeding on the presumption that all means of reciprocal conviction having failed, as also the experiment of calling in the aid of a friendly arbiter and umpire, there remains only the alternative of a compromise for the solution of this otherwise apparently insurmountable difficulty, unless, indeed, it were determined to try a second arbitration attended with its delay, trouble, and expense, in defiance of past experience as to the probability of any more satisfactory result.
It is, undoubtedly, true that should our present attempt unfortunately fail, there might remain no other alternative but a second reference, yet, when I consider all the difficulty and uncertainty attending it, I trust that all parties interested will come to the conclusion that the very intricate details connected with the case must be better known and judged by our two Governments than any diligence can make them to be by any third party, and that a sincere candid disposition to give reciprocally fair weight to the arguments on either side is likely to lead us to a more satisfactory settlement, than an engagement to abide by the uncertain award of a less competent tribunal. The very friendly and cordial reception given by you, Sir, as well as by all the authorities of your Government to the assurance that my mission here by my Sovereign has been determined by an unfeigned desire to settle this and all other questions of difference between us, on principles of conciliation and justice, forbid me to anticipate the possibility of the failure of our endeavours applied with sincerity to this purpose.
With this view of the case, therefore, although not unprepared to enter into the general argument, I abstain from so doing from the conviction that an amicable settlement of this vexed question, so generally desired, will be thereby best promoted. But, at the same time, some