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Report of the Commissioners to Indian Stream online

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li E F o m T


Nov. IRSfi.



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RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representa-
tives in General Court convened, That the State of New
' Hampshire should continue tlie possession of the Indian
I Stream Territory and maintain the jurisdiction of this State
over the same, until the question of boundaries now in dispute
\ between the United States and Great Britain affecting the lirn-
9 its of said Territory shall be finally settled, and His Excellen-
' cy the Governor be requested to render all necessary aid to
the executive officers of the county of Coos in causing the
laws of said State to be duly executed within the limits of said

Resolved, That the Executive be authorized to appoint
Commissioners to repair to Indian Stream and collect and
arrange such testimony as may be obtained to rebut and ex-
plain the charges and testimony obtained and preferred against
the authorities and citizens of this State by Lord Gosford,
Governor of the Province of Lower Canada.

Resolved, That the Commissioners so appointed be au-
thorized and directed to arrange and publish for the use of
liie Legislature, one thousand copies of such portions of the
documents and correspondence relating to our Indian Stream
difficulties as they may think proper.

Approved, Jane ]8, 1836.


To His Excellency the Governor of the State of New-

The undersigned, Comnfiissioners. appointed under a reso-
lution of the Legislature of New-Hampshire, approved June
18, 1836, " to "^repair to Indian Stream and collect and ar-
range such testimony as may be obtained to rebut and ex-
plain the charges and testimony obtained and preferred against
the authorities and citizens of this State by Lord Gosford,
Governor of the Province of Lower Canada," have attended
to that duty, and now make the following report:

The charges made by Lord Gosford are the three follow-
ing, viz.

1 . " The first and most serious is the irruption within the
limits of this Province (Lower Canada) of armed citizens of
the United States, under the command of, or countenanced
by an officer holding a commission in their militia, for the a-
vowed purpose of attacking and forcibly carrying out of the
Province, several of H. M's subjects."

2. *'The continued attempts of the State of New-Hamp-
shire, notwithstanding the repeated remonstrances of H. M's
Gov't, to exercise jurisdiction and to enforce its laws within a
territory, which, until it shall be formally adjudged to be part
of the U. S. under the treaty of 1783, must be considered as
still undetached from the original possession of Great Britain,
and its inhabitants consequently within the protection of her


3. "The military occupation, by the State of New-Hamp-
shire, of the territory in question."

The Commissioners, in order to present to your Excellen-^
cy and to the Honorable Legislature of the State a plain and
intelligible account of the controversy relating to the Indian
Stream territory, have given to the subject a more extended
examination than was necessary simply to rebut and explain
the charges of Lord Gosford. The following statement of
facts, it is believed, will clearly and unequivocally justify the
State of New-Hampshire in maintaining jurisdiction over this
territory, and show that all the acts of violence there commit-
ted, are to be entirely attributed to the attempt of certain in-
dividuals in Lower Canada to extend the authority of that
Province over the territory in question, since the pretended
award of the King of the Netherlands, the State of New-
Hampshire having exercised quiet, peaceable, and exclusive
jurisdiction over the same from the peace of 1783 to a period
subsequent to said pretended award. In the year 17S9, a
committee was appointed by the Legislature of this State for
the purpose of ascertaining the boundary lines between the
State of Maine, then Massachusetts, the Province of Lower
Canada, and this State. Tliis committee attended to the du-
ties assigned them, and established and marked by suitable
monuments, many of which are now remaining, a boundary
line of the State, including all the territory now in dispute, and
making the head of HalFs river our northwestern boundary mon-
ument. That the committee were right in their construction
of that part of the treaty of 1783, relative to this subjeet, is
manifest from the following reasons:

1. This is the only head of Connecticut river that inter-
sects with the highlands dividing the waters which fall into the
Atlantic from those which fall into the St. Lavvrence.

2. This is manifestly and notoriously, by far, the most north-
westermost head of Connecticut river, that claimed by the
British Government being manifestly the most NORTH-
EASTERN head of Connecticut River.

3. The Magalloway River, a branch of the Androscoggin,
takes its rise many miles North and West, not only of that
br^nph of the Connecticut claimed by the British as the North-

wcstermost head, but also Nortli and West of Indian Stream,
so that pursuing the highlands indicated by the treaty, one
would never arrive at the head waters claimed by the British
Government as those indicated by the treaty, but would have
to leave the highlands and cross the Magalloway river to at-
tain the object.

The above fact of the true source of the Magalloway river,
it is believed, is not noticed in any geography nor laid down
upon any map of the country. This may be easily accounted
for on account of its remote situation and unsettled state. It
is nevertheless an important fact, and one which goes far not
only to show that the British claim to jurisdiction over this dis-
puted territory is unfounded, but that by the words of the
treaty, New-Hampshire is entitled to a much larger territory
there, than we have ever yet claimed. Many of the first set-
tlements of this territory were by persons who fled there from
the neighboring States to avoid the payment of their debts, or
the criminal process to which their crimes had rendered them
amenable. As the population increased, the character of the
inhabitants improved ; and although at times some of them
claimed to belong to Vermont, and at other times to Maine,
and at other times to be within the jurisdiction of the United
States, but not of any particular State, and at other times to be
independent either of the U. S. Government or the Govern-
ment of Great Britain, yet the officers of the State of New-
Hampshire, from time to time, as occasion required, executed
divers processes issuing from the Courts of this State, upon the
inhabitants there, and although sometimes they met with such
resistance as was to be expected from the character of the in-
habitants, yet no coniplaint was ever made on account thereof
by the officers of the Province of Canada, or of any foreign
Government whatever. Indeed the oldest inhabitants in the
territory or the towns adjacent have no recollection of ever
having heard of any act of any other Government ever exer-
cised within the territory, save by the State of New-Hamp-
shire. The inhabitants have uniformly resorted to New-Hamp-
shire for die purpose of being united in marriage whenever
there was such a ceremony to be performed among them, and
in divers other ways, such as taking advantage of our bounty

laws for the destruction of certain wild animals, manifested
under whose protection they lived, and to what government
they supposed they owed allegiance. Affairs were in this quiet
posture at this place at the time of the pretended award of the
King of the Netherlands : and at a period subsequent to that,
one of those restless individuals,the bane of every well-ordered
society, who are never easy unless busied about the affairs of
their neighbors, claiming to be a magistrate of Lower Canada,
and to be acting by the direction of the Governor of that
Province, began to claim the territory as belonging to the Pro-
vince of Lower Canada. This claim was now asserted in va-
rious ways, such as sending pretended warrants in the name
of the King of Great Britain, into the territory. He also sent
a letter directed to various individuals there, requesting them
to assemble at the school house in one place on Saturday, and
another on Sunday, and when they were thus assembled he
met them and exhorted them to open resistance to the laws
of the State, and assured them of the protection of the Gov-
ernment of Lower Canada in so doing.

It is the opinion of the better disposed part of the commu-
nity there, that all the difficulties which have occurred at that
settlement within the three or four years last past, are to be
attributed to the mischievous interference of the individual al-
luded to, and from all the investigation which we were able
to make, we were unanimously of the same opinion.

If it be the fact that Hall's Stream be the Northwestermost
head of Connecticut river, and if the State of New-Hamp-
shire have exercised jurisdiction over this disputed territory
from the peace of 1783 to the present time, and these two
points are incontestibly proved by testimony taken by the
Commissioners, and accompanying this report, then the 2d
and 3d cause of complaint, as set forth by Lord Gosford, en-
tirely fail, for the military occupation, spoken of by him, and
the Attempted jurisdiction of the State of New-Hampshire,
are justified by every principle of the law of nations, as well
as by that protection which every Government owes to its

We now proceed to state all the facts relating to the first
charge of his Lordship, and we have thus inverted their or-

der because it seemed to us the most natural course, for if
we had no title to the soil, then our jurisdiction was usurped
and wrongful, our military occupation unjustifiable, and our
whole defence untenable. In October, 1835, William M.
Smith, a deputy sheriff of Coos county, had a writ put into
his hands for service against one John H. Tyler, an inhabit-
ant of the disputed territory. Smith, not knowing Tyler, and
also apprehending some resistance, procured one Richard I.
Blanchard and John Milton Harvey to assist him, and then
proceeded to Tyler's house for the purpose of making service
of the writ. Not having found said Tyler at his house, they
w^ent in pursuit of him agreeably to the directions which they
had received, and soon met said Tyler. Smith then request-
ed said Tyler to show him property, that it might be attached
on the writ, which he refusing to do, he was arrested by said
Smith, who was proceeding with said Tyler in custody, when
he was forcibly rescued from said Smith's possession by sev-
eral of the inhabitants.

Upon this, the individual before referred to as the occasion
of all the difficulties at this place, issued a warrant in the name
of the King of Great Britain, against said Smith, Blanchard and
Harvey, for attempting to execute process there, not issued by
authority of the King of Great Britain, and sent it into the settle-
ment for the purpose of having it served upon the individuals
against whom it had issued. This was done with a full
knowledge of the fact that this state had, by a resolution of
the Legislature, determined to maintain its jurisdiction over
the territory until the boundary line sliould be definitely and
satisfactorily settled.

By virtue of this pretended warrant, on the 22d day of Oc-
tober, A. D. 1S35, said Blanchard was taken from his own
dwelling house, by an armed body of men, with the express
and avowed purpose of carrying him into Canada for trial, on
the absurd charge of having assisted in serving a writ duly is-
sued by the competent authority of the county of Coos.

The news of this outrage was immediately spread through
the adjacent towns, and excited very great indignation against
its perpetrators. The inhabitants very generally, upon being
nonfied of the fact, expressed a determination not to suffcv


their fellow citizen thus to be taken from his home and car-
ried out of the state, without an attempt at least on their part
to rescue him. In pursuance of this determination several citi-
zens of the neighborhood went over the line dividing this state
from the Province of Lower Canada, for the purpose of inter-
cepting those who had said Bianchard in custody, and effect-
ing his release. This was effected without any violence, and
so far from being done under the direction of any military
officer, it was an entirely spontaneous assemblage of citizens
aroused by what they deemed a gross outrage upon the rights
of one of their fell'dw citizens, subject to the direction of no
military or civil officer of the state. How far this proceeding
is to be palliated or justified, the wisdom of the Legislature
may best determine. The facts are here stated. After said
Bianchard had been thus rescued, the individuals who had
turned out for that purpose, assembled at the store of Parme-
lee &L Joy, in Canaan, Vermont. Among the number was
William M. Smith, the deputy sheriff before spoken of, who
had previously arrested one John H. Tyler, and who had been
rescued from him in the manner before stated. He then of-
fered a reward of five dollars to any one who would deliver
said Tyler to him. A notion seemed very generally to pre-
vail, amongst those who were then present, that said Tyler,
having once been legally made a prisoner, by the arrest of
said Smith, might be retaken again wherever he could be
found. This Jolm H.Tyler was one of those who had said
Bianchard in custody at the time he was rescued in the
manner before stated. After Smith, the Deputy Sheriff, had
offered this reward for the recapture of said Tyler, several of
the individuals who had left their homes for the avowed and
express purpose of rescuing Bianchard, unadvisedly and im-
properly went over the line for the purpose of retaking Tyler,
they having at that time the impression that they were justified
in so doing. No sooner were these individuals over the line
than they were set upon in a furious, boisterous, and outra-
geous manner by the individual before^ referred to, as the
cause of all the difficulty at the Indian Stream settlement, and
the very individual who had issued the warrant by which Bian-
chard had been dragged from his home as before stated.


This individual came upon them while they were peaceably
and quietly demeaning themselves, having offered or threat-
ened violence to no one, and ordered them off the highway,
and attempted to make prisoners of them, and called upon those
who were with him to assist. The New-Hampshire citizens
not relishing the idea ofthus being made prisoners, resisted, and
being assaulted with great violence by the inhabitants of Cana-
da, their horses' bridles seized, and stones thrown violently at
them, defended themselves with such arms as they had with
ihem having taken them at the time they turned out for the rescue
ofBlanchard. We do not undertake to state with accuracy all
the particulars of the skirmish vvhich ensued upon this assault,
but we are confident in the assertion that the first violence of-
fered or threatened was that done to the citizens of New-
Hampshire, by citizens of Canada. The result was, that the
individual who commenced the brawl was violently seized and
brought over the line into Vermont and there detained some
hours, and finally set at large.

As to the assertion that the late Gov. Badger was connected
with a band of speculators clauning the territory of Indian
Stream as their private property, we are avrare of no rule of
courtesy or etiquette which requires us to call it by any mild-
er name i\\d,u falsehood.

The Commissioners, in conclusion, are happy in being able
to inform your Excellency and the Legislature, that the in-
habitants of this section of our state are now in as quiet and
peaceable condidon, as free from internal commotion, or for-
eign interference, as any portion of the state whatever. The
citizens there, who v^^ere friendly to the preservation of good
order and the wholesome administration of the laws, and who
had begun to apprehend that they were neglected, have been
assured that the protecting energies of the state are extended
to all within her borders, while the lawless and the vicious
have been made to feel that their remote situation affords no
sanctuary for crime.

We have no hesitation in saying that the people are noAV
contented and happy under the government of the State, and
that in future there will be no need of any farther a<d from the


Tfiilttia, to assist the civil officers in the due execution of their
respective duties.

The Conimissioners are of opinion that the measures adopt-
ed by the late Governor of this State, Hon. William Badger,
in relation to this subject, were wise and judicious, and that to
liis prompt and efficient interference to maintain the integrity
of the State and the dignity of the Laws, is to be attributed the
pregeiJt quiet condition of the inhabitants there.


RALPH METCALF, > Commissioners.


Nov. 23, 183G.

> 111


Hon. Isaac Hill to Hon. John Forsyth.

Senate Chamber, WashingtOQ;
Jan. 4, 1836.
Hon. John Forsyth.

Sir, — I have this morning received from the Adjutant Gen-^
eral of the State of New-Hampshire the accompanying letter
enclosing other letters showing the present condition of the
settlement at Indian Stream, situated in the northerly section
©fthat state, on the confines of Lower Canada, These com-
munications, after perusal, I wish may be returned.

It is manifest from these letters, as well as from other factr
transpiring, that the difFiculty would at once be settled, if the
malcontents had not a tolerable presumption that they will be
protected in their acts of meditated violence by the British au-
thorities in Lower Canada. If assurances may be obtained
that the aggressors, who are principally fugitives from tb«
States, shall not be countenanced by the British authorities,
the necessity for continuing an armed force by the State will
have been superseded. If such assurances cannot be obtaiu-
€d, will it not be the duty of the National Government at once
to protect the State of New-Hampshire and its citizens in the
rightful jurisdiction and possession which never, until recent-
ly, has been denied them ? An early answer is requested.
I am, respectfully, sir,

your ob't servant,



Hon. Isaac Hill to Hon. John Forsyth.

Senate Chamber, WashingtOHj
Jan. 6, 1836.
Hon. John Forsyth.

Sir, — I have this morning received additional letters from
Indian Stream, in Coos county, New-Hampshire, which I en-
close, and, after perusal, wisli to be returned with others here-
tofore sent.

You will perceive by these hist letters, that the course pur-
sued by the Canadian government is calculated to encourage
the malcontents in that region. It appears to me that the Na-
tional Executive has it in its power to put a stop to that in-
terference of the foreign government which is certainly new in
regard to this territory. The Canadian government has just
as much right to direct its magistrates to take depositions at
Lancaster, the shire town, as at Indian Stream in the same
county; and if it would be the duty of the Executive to inter-
pose Its power to prevent an invasion in one case, it will be in
the other.

I am, respectfully, sir,

your obedient servant,


Hon. John Forsyth to Hon. Isaac Hill.

Department of State,

^_ ^ Washington, 11th Jan. 1836.

Hon. Isaac Hill,

Sir. — Your letters of the 4th and 6th instant, transmittin*^
cenain papers relative to the present condition of the settle-
ment at Indian Stream, have been received. In returninc^
these enclosures, m compliance with your request, and tender-
ing my acknowledgments for the opportunity afforded me of
perusing them, I have to add, in answer to the suggestions con-
tained in your communications, that no necessity Ts believed to
exist, at present, for the interference of the General Govern-
ment, in the manner proposed, for the protection of New


i-Iampsblre and its citizens in the jurisdiction and possession
of tlie Indian Stream territory.

I am, Sir, respectfully
Your obedient servant,


Hon. John Forsyth to Gov. Badger,

Department of State,

Washington, Feb. 1836.
His Excellency William Badger,

Governor of the Slate of New-Hampshire.

Sir, — I have the honor to transmit to your ExcellencVj
herewith, the copy of a note addressed to this Department on
the 18th instant, by Mr Bankhcad, His Britannic Majesty's
Charge d'AfFaires at Washington, enclosing the copy of a let-
ter which he has received from tlie Earl of Gosford, His Maj-
esty's Governor General of Canada, with a variety of accom-
panying documents relative to a complaint preferred by His
Excellency against several citizens of the United States re-
siding in New-Hampshire, for an alledged outrage committed
on the persons of certain subjects of His Britannic Majesty,
and for a violation of British Territory.

lam directed by the President, in communicating to your
Excellency copies of the papers referred to, to ex[)ress his con-
fident expectation that you will be enabled to furnish to this
Department such facts and explanations regarding this matter,
as may prove entirely satisfactory to His Britannic JMajesty's
Government, and remove any misapprehensions that may ex-
ist in relation to it, on the part of the Canadian authorities.

As it is intended that no reply should be made to the sub-
stance of Mr. Bankhead's complaint, before the Department
is in possession of your Excellency's answer, I beg leave to
Invite your early attention to the subject.

1 have the honor to be, respectfully,

Your Excellency's obedient servant,



Lord Gosford to Mr BanJchead.

Castle of St. Lewis,

Quebec, 6th Feb. 18S6.

Sir, — It has become my duty to communicate to you the i
details of an outrage of a very grave character which has re-
cently been committed within the undoubted limits of this
Province by an armed body consisting principally of citizens
of New Hampshire, on two of His Majesty's subjects — one a
justice of the peace, and the other a peace officer, while in
the execution of their official duties. And I have to request
tliat you will take such steps as you may judge advisable to
obtain immediate redress from the justice of the Central Gov-
ernment of the United States for this infraction of the Law of
Nations, accompanied by acts endangering the lives, and vio-
lating the liberties of His M.'s Canadian subjects.

Before entering into the details of the case, it is proper to
inform you, that they were collected under a commission
which I appointed for the purpose, consisting of three gentle-
men who were expressly made justices of the peace, in order
that all the evidence might be taken (as it was) under the
sanction of an oath, was to render the information obtained
as formal and accurate as possible.

From the copies of the documents, which I have the hon-
our to transmit, and especial from the Report of the Com-
missioners No. 1, and the affidavit No. 5, of Mr Rea, you
will perceive that the origin of the present affair may be traced
to the assumption of jurisdiction by the State of New Hamp-
shire over the township of Drayton, or, as it is otherwise call-
ed, the Indian Stream Setdement, which has more than once
formed the subject of remonstrance with the Government of
the United States, through His Majesty's Minister at Wash-
ington. You will further perceive that on the J5{h October
last Mr Rea, who is a justice of the peace for the District of
St. Francis, residing in the township of Hereford in thisProv-
mce, issued his warrant, upon the sworn information of one
John H. Tyler, an inhabitant of the township of Drayton, for
Xhe apprehension of William Smith, John Milton Harvey (Am-
erieaa eitizens) and Richard I. Blanchard of Drayton, for


having arrested the said Tyler under the authority of the
Sheriff of Coos, New-Hampshire.

Under this warrant Blanchard only was arrested on the 22d
October, at his residence in Drayton ; and while the Consta-
bles were conveying him to IMr Rea's, he was forcibly rescued
m the highway by a body of armed men, citizens of New-
Hampshire. The Constables and others who had assisted in
the arrest, immediately proceeded to inform the Magistrate of

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Online LibraryNew Hampshire. Commissioners on Indian Stream terrReport of the Commissioners to Indian Stream → online text (page 1 of 6)