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acts of Parliament of the fourteenth of George 3d, and sundry maps*
and depositions. His argument, and the facts and documents upon
which he Ibunded it, clearly admits and demonstrates that the only un-
certainty was, as to \\hat river was intended by the ii\er St. Cioix
and thai from the source of the river which the commissioners should
decide and designate according to the treaty of 1794, the eastern bound-
ary line of the United States and the western boundary of the Province
of Nova Scotia must commence, and continue due north to the high-
lands, to wit : the highlands between the river St. Lawrence and the
Restigouche or the St. John, according as the source should be fixed
farther east or farther west. He expressly admits that the line due
north from the St. Croix will, in any event, cross the liver St. John to
the highlands, between that and the river St. Law rence, to wit : the
lands which divide the streams which flow into the St. Lawrence from
those which fall into the Atlantic, f

'i'he discussion was closed in 1798, and the time had not then arrived
when, from " cxipidity^''^ or a desire to establish a line from which they
could attack the United States in the rear, while their navy should attack
them on the seaboard, when they were determined to acquire by effron-
tery or sophistry the territory which they had sought in vain as a cession.

The commissioners, on the 25th of Oetol)er, 1798, made the declara-
tion under their hands and seals, deciding what, and decribing the river
also, which was truly intended by the river St. Croix, in the treaty of
\lf*>i.\ Prior, however, to their making their final declaration, ihey had
agreed, and were about making it tiie final declaration, that the river
Schoodic, from its mouth at Joes Point to the Lake Genesagranagum-sis,
now called the Round Lake, being the lowest of the western Schoodic
lakes, was the river St. Croix of the treaty ; which declaration they did
not make, but by the agreement or consent of the agents of the United
States and Great Britain, and the advice of the British minister. § They
adoj>ted the branch called the Cheputnctecook, to its source, as a part
of tiie river which they were to decide and designate. If the British
Government gained no advantage in the decision oi the commissioners,
as, from the evidence submitted, the commissioners might well have de-
cided that the Magaguadavic was the river St. Croix intended by the
treaty, they did in fact gain a most decided and important advantage in
the ado])tion of the source of the Cheputnctecook, instead of the source
of the other hianch of the Schoodic river, where it issues from the Lake
Genesagrariagtnn-sis, being the first lake on the western branch of the
Schoodic, above its junction with the Cheputnctecook. By an inspec-
tion of the map, it will apj)ear that the British have gained a tract of
land, by a change of the declaration of the commissioners as to the
source of the river St. Croix, of more than one hundred and forty miles

• See Appendix. f Appemlix 11. \ Api)eiiiiix 12. § Aj)pcii(Jix 13.



[Senate Doc. No. 171.] 101

in length by more than ten miles in breadth. These facts are not named
because tlicie is any disposition, on our part, to violate the good faith
pledged in the treaty and the decision which was thus amicably made.
The Biitish, if they be, as they declare themselves to be, "a great, hon-
orable, and magnanimous nation," ought equally to abide the decision
and its consequences in good faith, more especially as they gained so
much by the result. Here every real doubt or dilliculty of any import-
ance was settled and removed ; and nothing remained but to run and
mark the line and erect its monuments. Trifling difl'erences in survey-
ing the line, might occur, arising from the variation of the needle, and
from the peculiar situation of the land on the line of the Government of
Quebec, at the northwest angle of Nova Scotia, one of which would
tend to change the longitude, and the other the latitude of the angle,
possibly a mile ; but not in any instance to a distance of any importance
to either Government. Some trifling diflerences might also arise in sur-
veying the line between the Government of Quebec and Massachusetts,
in running the line southwesterly from the northwest angle of Nova
Scotia, as to the precise points which divide the waters, and the lines
which should connect those points ; but all such differences are within
a very narrow compass. That the only subject of doubt or difficulty of
any importance was, what river was truly intended by the river St.
Croix, is not only conceded by the treaty of 1794, but is demonstrated by
the documentary evidence produced by the agent of his Britannic Majes-
ty, to wit : the patents, charters, proclamations, and acts of Parliament,
and his arguments founded upon these documents ; his arguments being,
in fact, founded upon this plain and simple proposition : that the lines de-
scribed by the treaty of 1783 were, and were intended to be, the lines
which had before been established between the Province of Massachu-
setts Bay on the one hand, and the Provinces of Quebec and Nova
Scotia on the other.*

When the subject is again recurred to by the respective Governments,
it is not treated as a subject involving anything more than possible diffi-
culties of trifling importance. Hence, in a convention between his
Britannic Majesty and the United States, which was dated the 12th day
of May, 1803, but which was not ratified by the United States, instead
of reciting that, whereas doubts have arisen, &c., as in the treaty of
1794, says : " Whereas it has become expedient that the northwest an-
gle of Nova Scotia, mentioned and described in the treaty of peace be-
tween his Majesty and the United States, should be ascertained and
determined ; and that the line between the source of the river St. Croix
and the said northwest angle of Nova Scotia should be run and marked,
according to the provisions of the said treaty of peace." And again,
when the subject is recurred to in a paper delivered to Lord Harrowby,
September 5th, 1804, the following language is used : " By the treaty of
1783, between the United States and Great Britain, the boundary between
those States and Nova Scotia and Canada is fixed by a line which is to run
along the highlands bounding the southern waters of the St. Lawrence."
The same subject is once more recurred to by our ministers at the court
of St. James, in April, 1807, and the same language is used in a pro-

♦ Appendix 11.



102



[ Senate Doc. No. 171. ]



posed article on the same subject, as was used in the unratified conven-
tion of 1803, before recited.

'i'iie subject is not again recurred to between the respective Govern-
ments until lS14,in the corresijondciicc \>hich jjrcceded, and in the fifth
article of the treaty o( Ghent. Jn order to airive at a full and perfect
knowledge of the facts, to the end that the just and true interpretation
of the filth article of the treaty of Ghent may more fully appear, a par-
ticular examination of the correspondence which preceded it, between
the ministers of the respective Governments of the United States and
(ircat Britain, connected with the great chain of evidence of tide, and
implied, and direct, and positive concessions of the British, is deemed
impoitant. The coriespondence touching the subject in discussion is
as I'ollows :

In the piotocol made by the American commissioners of the two first
conferences held with the British commissioners, the third point pre-
sented by the commissioners on the part of the British, as subjects of
discussion, is " the revision of the boundary line between the territories
of the United States and those of Great Britain adjoining them in North
America."*

In the protocol of conference of August 8, 1814, among the subjects
stated for discussion by the British commissioners, the third is " a revis-
ion of the boundary line between the British and American territories,
vith a view to prevent future uncertainty and dispute."!

lii a letter dated Ghent, August 12, 1814, from the American commis-
sioners to the Secretary of State,:]: the British commissioners stated
three subjects, as those upon which it a|)peared to them that the discus-
sions would be likely to turn, and on wiiich they were instructed. The
third subject stated is, " A revision of the boundary line between the
United States and the adjacent British colonies." With respect to this
j)oint, they expressly disclaimed any intention on the part of their
Government to acquire an increase of territory, and represented the
proposed revision as intended merely for the purpose of preventing
uncertainty and dispute. In a letter dated Ghent, August 19, 1814, from
the American commissioners to the Secretary of State, the third subject
slated by the British commissioners is, " A direct communication from
Halifax and the Province of New Brunswick to Quebec, to be secured to
(^reat Britain. In answer to our question, in what manner was this to
be eflc'cted ? We were told that it must be done bv a cession to (Jre,at
Britain of that portion of the District of Maine, (in the State of Massa-
chusetts,) which intervenes between New Brunswick and Quebec, and
j)revents theii- direct communication. "§

In a note of the British commissioners, dated Ghent, August 19, 1814,
they say : " As they are desirous of slating every point in connexion
Avith the subject, which may rcasonaldy inllucnce the decision of the
American plenipotentiaries in (he exercise of their discretion, they avail
themselves of this oppf)rtu/iity to repeat, what they have already stated,
that (ir(;at Britain desires the revision of the frontier between her North
American doniiniona and those of the United States, not with any view

* state I'jpcrs, vol. 9, patj..- 327. f lb. 33J. * lb. 320. § lb. 332.



[ Senate Doc. No. 171. J 103

to an acquisition of territory^ as such^ hut for the purpose of securing
her possessions^ and preventing future disputes.^^*

Then follows a proposition that the military possession of the lakes
shall be left in the hands of the British ; then the note proceeds, " if this
can be adjusted, there will then remain for discussion the arrangement
of the northwestern boundary between Lake Superior and the Missis-
sip[)i, the free navigation of that river, and such a variation of the linz
of frontier as may secure a direct communication between Quebec and
Halifax.''

In a letter dated Ghent, August 24, 1814, from the American to the
British commissioners, they say : " The undersigned further perceive,
that under the alleged purpose of opening a direct communication be-
tween two of the British Provinces in America, the British Governmeat
require a cession of territory forming a part of one of the States of the
American Union^ and that they propose, without purpose specifically al-
leged, to draw the boundary line westward, not from the Lake of the
Woods, as it now is, but from Lake Superior. It must be perfectly im-
material to the United States, whether the object of the British Govern-
ment, in demanding the dismemberment of the United States, is to acquire
territory, as such, or for purposes less liable, in the eyes of the world, to
be ascribed to the desire of aggrandizement. Whatever the motive may
be, and with whatever consistency views of conquest may be disclaimed,
while demanding for herself or for the Indians a cession of territory
more extensive than the whole island of Great Britain, the duty marked
out for the undersigned is the same. They have no authority to cede
any part of the territory of the United States ; and to no stipulation to
that efll'ect will they subscribe."!

In a letter dated Ghent, September 4, 1814, from the British to the
American commissioners, they say : " With respect to the boundary of
the District of Maine, and that of the northwestern frontier of the United
States, the undersigned were not prepared to anticipate the objections
contained in the note of the American plenipotentiaries, that they were
instructed to treat for the revision of their boundary lines, with the state-
ment which they had subsequently made, that they had no authority to
cede any part, however insignificant, of the territories of the United
States, although the proposal left it open for them to demand an equiva-
lent for such cession, in territory or otherwise.

" The American plenipotentiaries must be aware that the boundary
of the District of Maine has never been correctly ascertained ; that the one
asserted at present by the American Government, by which the direct
communication between Halifax and Quebec becomes interrupted, was
not in contemplation of the British plenipotentiaries who concluded the
treaty of 1783, and that the greater part of the territory in question is actu-
ally unoccupied. The undersigned are persuaded that an arrangement
on this point might be easily made, if entered into with the spirit of con-
ciliation, without any prejudice to the interests of the District in ques-
tion. As the necessity for fixing some boundary for the northwestern
frontier has been mutually acknowledged, a proposal for a discussion on
that subject cannot be considered as a demand for a cession ol territory,

♦ State Papei-F, vol. 9, p. 339. t Jt»- 381.



101 [ J-eiiate Doc. No. l7l ]

unless the United States are prepared to assert there is no lin>it to the

territories in that direction, and that, availing themselves of the p;eo-
graphical error upon which that part of the treaty of 1783 was founded,
thej will acknowledge no boundary whatever, then, unquestionably,
any proposition to fix one, be it what it may, must be considered as de-
manding a large cession of territory from the United States."*

In a letter dated Ghent, September 9, 1814, from the American to the
British commissioners, the American commissioners say: " With regard
to the cession of a part of the District of Maine, as to which the British
plenipotentiaries are unable to reconcile the objections made by the un-
dersigned with their previous declarations, they have the honor to ob-
serve, that at the conference of the Sth ultimo the Biitish plenipotentiaries
stated, as one of the subjects suitable for discussion, a revision of the
boundary line between the British and American territories, with a
view to prevent uncei tainty and dispute ; and that it was on the point
thus stated that the undersigned declared that they were provided with
instructions from their Government; a declaration which did not imply
that they were it)structed to make any cession of ten itory in any quarter,
or to agree to a revision of the line, or to any exchange of territory
where no uncertainty or dispute existed.

"The undersigned perceive no uncertainty or matter of doubt in the
treaty of 1783, with respect to that part of the boundary of the District
of Maine which would be affected by the proposal of Great Britain on that
subject. They never have understood that the British plenipotentiaries
who signed that treaty had contemplated a boundary different from that
fixed by the treaty, and which requires nothing more, in order to be
definitely ascertained, than to be surveyed in conformity with its pro-
visions. This subject not having been a matter of uncertainty or dis-
pute, the undersigned are not instructed upon it, and they can have no
authority to cede any part of the State of Massachusetts, even for what
the British Government might consider a fair equivalent."!

In a letter dated Ghent, September 19, 1814, from the British to the
American commissioners, they say : " With respect to the boundary of
the District of Maine, the undersigned observe, with regret, that al-
though the American plenipotentiaries have acknowledged themselves
to be instructed to discuss a revision of the boundary line, with a view to
prevent uncertainty and dispute ; yet, by assuming an exclusive right,
at once to decide what is or not a subject of uncertainty and dispute,
they have rendered their powers nugatory or inadmissibly partial in their
operation."!

In a letter dated Ghent, September 26, 1814, from the American to
the British commissioners, they say : " The undersigned are far from as-
suming the exclusive right to decide what is or what is not a subject of
uncertainty or dispute with regard to the boundary of the District of
Maine. But until the British plenipotentiaries shall have shown in what
respect the part of that boundary which would he affected by their pro-
posal is such a subject, the undersigned may be permitted to assert that
it is not."

The treaty of 1783 described the boundary as "a line to be drawn

♦ Slate Fapen, vol. 9, p. 381. f \h. 398. ^ lb. p. 400.



[ Senate Doe. No. i7 1. | 1O3

alone; the middle of the rivor St. Croix, from its mouth, in the bay of
Fundy, to its t^ource, and from its source directly noith to the highlands
which divide the rivers that fall into the Atlantic ocean from those which
fall into the river St. Lawrence, and thence along the said highlands to
the northwesternmost head of Connecticut river." " Doubts having
arisen as to the St. Croix designated in the treaty of 1783, a provision
was made in that of 1794 for ascertaining it ; and it may be fairly infer-
red, from the limitation of the article to that sole object, that, even in the
judgment of Great }3ritain, no other subject of controversy existed in re-
lation to the extension of the boundary line from the source of that river.
That river and its source having been accordingly ascertained, the un-
deisigned are prepared to propose the appointment of commissioners by
the two Governments, to extend the line to -the highlands, conformably
to the treaty of 1783. The proposal, however, of the British plenipo-
tentiaries was not to ascertain, but to vary, those lines in such a manner
as to secure a direct communication between Quebec and Halifax ; an
alteration which could not be effected without a cession by the United
States to Great Britain of all that portion of the State of Massachusetts
intervening between the Province of New Brunswick and Quebec, al-
though unquestionably included within the boundary lines fixed by that
treaty. Whether it was contemplated on the part of Great Britain to
obtain a cession with or without an equivalent in frontier or otherwise,
the undersigned, in stating that they were not instructed or authorized to
treat on the subject of cession, have not declined to discuss any matter of
uncertainty or dispute which the British plenipotentiaries may point out
to exist, respecting the boundaries in that or any other quarter, and are
therefore not liable to the imputation of having rendered their powers on
the subject nugatory or inadmissibly partial in their operation."*

In a letter dated Ghent, Octobers, 1814, from the British to the Amer-
ican commissioners, they say: "The British Government never requi-
red that all that portion of Massachusetts intervening between the Prov-
ince of New Brunswick and Quebec should be ceded to Great Britain,
but only that small portion of unsettled country which interrupts the
communication between Halifax and Quebec, (there being much doubt
whether it does not already belong to Great Biitain."!) In the letter
dated Ghent, October 21, 1814, from the British to the American com-
missioners, they say : " On the question of boundary between the domin-
ions of his Majesty and those of the United States, the undersigned are
led to expect, from the discussion which this subject has already under-
gone, that the northwestern boundary, from the Lake of the Woods to
the Mississippi (the intended arrangement of 1803) will be admitted with-
out objection.

" In regard to other boundaries, the American plenipotentiaries, in
their note of August 24, appeared, in some measure, to object to the prop-
osition then made by the undersigned, as not being on the basis of w^i
possidetis. The undersigned are willing to treat on that basis, subject
to such modifications as mutual convenience may be found to require ;
and they trust that the American plenipotentiaries will show, by their
ready acceptance of this basis, that they duly appreciate the moderation

* state Papers, vol. 9, p. 405. f lb. p. 415.



106 f Senate Doc. ^'o. i7l. ] .

of liis Majesty's Government, in so far consultinc; the honor and fair pre- 1
tensions of the United States, as, in the relative situation of the two
countries, to authorize such a pioj)osition."*

In a letter dated Ghent, October 21, 181 1, from the American to the
British commissioners, they say : " Amongst the jj;eneral observations
which the undersigned, in their note of August 24th, made on the prop-
ositions then brought forward on the part of the British Government,
they remarked that those |)iopositions were neither founded on the basis
of uti possidetis, nor that of status ante bellum. But so far were
they from suggesting the xiti possidetis as the basis on which they were
disposed to treat, that in the same note they expressly stated tl)at they
liad been instructed to conclude a peace on the principle of both parties
restoring whatever territory they might have taken. The undersigned
also declared in that note that they had no authority to cede any part of
the territory of the United States, and that to no stipulation to that effect
would they subscribe. And in the note of the Sth of September, after
having shown that the basis of uti jossidetis, such as it was known to
exist at the commencement of the negotiation, gave no claim to his Brit-
annic Majesty to cessions of territory, founded upon the right of conquest ;
they added that, even if the chances of war should give to the British
arms a momentary possession of other parts of the territory of the
United States, such events would not alter their views with regard to
the terms of peace to which they would give their consent.

" The undersigned can only now repeat those declarations, and de-
cline treating upon the basis of uti possidetis, or upon any other princi-
ple involving a cession of any part of the territory of the United States,
as they have uniformly stated they can only treat upon the principle of
a mutual restoration of whatever territory may have been taken by either
jjarty. F^om this principle they cannot recede ; and the undersigned,
after the repeated declarations of the British plenipotentiaries, that Great
Britain had no view to the acquisition of territory in this negotiation,
deem it necessary to add, that the utility of its continuance depends on
their adherence to this principle."!

In a letter dated Ghent, October 25, 1814, from the American com-
missioners to the Secretary of State, they, after stating that an article had
been reduced to writing, securing merely an Indian pacification, had
been agreed to be accepted, subject to the ratification or rejection of the
(ioveinment of the United States, say: "But you will perceive that our
request for the exchange of a project of a treaty has been eluded, and
that, in their last note, the British |)lenipotentiaries have advanced a de-
mand, not only new and inadmissible, but totally incompatible with
their uniform previous declarations, that Great Hritain had no view in j
this negotiation to any ac(|uisition of territory. It will be perceived that
this new pretensiorr was brought forward immediately after the accounts
had been received that a British force had taken possession of all that
part of the State of Massachusetts situated east of IV'nobscot iiver."|

It having been shown, in the first part of this report, what the lines
between Massachusetts and Nova Scotia, and Massachusetts and the
Province of Quebec, as formed and established by the Government,

♦ State Papers, vol. 9, p. 427. t *•>• P- '♦^S. * lb. p. 375.



[ SeiKUf Doc. No. 17(. ] 107

were, prior to the provisional treaty, and the definitive treaty of peace
; of 1783, and tlio investigation which took phice, and the care and dili-
gence with which the subject was examined by the commissioners of
I both Governments and the cabinet of Great Britain, and that it was the
1 intention of both Governments to adopt the lines above mentioned, as a
!| part of the boundary of the United States; and that the treaty itself, in
] describing the boundary, contains almost the precise language which the
' British had often used in relation to the same lines ; it having also been
j shown that the only ditficulty in relation to the line arose from the un-
I certainty as to what river was truly intended by the river St. Croix, and



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of StateMaine boundary--Mr. Greely, &c. .. → online text (page 13 of 56)