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'I'his work was dedicated to the present King George IV, then Prince
Regent, and was accompanied with splendid maps. Col. Bouchette was
attached to the commission under the fifth article of the treaty of Ghent,
at the commencement, as principal surveyor on the part of the British.
He says, " the height of land on which the boundary is supposed to
pass run's to the northeast, and divides the waters that fall into the St.
Lawrence from those llowing into the Atlantic, and which height, after
running some distance upon that course, sends oK a branch to the east-
ward, that separates the head of the Thames, falling into Lake Temis-
couata and river St. John, and by that channel into the bay of Fundy,
from those that descend in a more direct course to the Atlantic.

" The main ridge, continuing its northeasterly direction, is intersected
bv an imaginary line, prolonged in a course astronomically due north
from the head of the river St. Croix, and which ridge is supposed to be
the boundary between Lower Canada and the United States ; at least,
such appears to be the way in which the treaty of 1783 is construed by
the American Government, but which ought to be more fairly under-
derstood, as follows, to wit: that the astronomical line, running north
from the St. Croix, should extend only to the first easterly ridge, and
thence lun westerly along the crest of the said ridge to the Connecticut,
thereby equitably dividing the waters flowing into the St. Lawrence
from those that empty into the Atlantic, within the limits of the United
States, and those that have their streams within the British Province of
New Brunswick- It is important, and must always have been in con-
templation, that an uninterrupted communication and connexion should
exist between all his Majesty's North American possessions; but by the
manner in which the treaty is insisted upon by the opposite party, a
space of more than eighiy-live miles would be placed within the Ameri-
can limits, by which the British Provinces would be completely secured ;
it would also prove the inconvenience of having the mail, from England
to (Quebec, carried over that distance of American territory, and which
may [)e deemed cither a matter of indulgence, or complained of as an
encroachment, according to the transfer of the times. SVilhin this tract
is also the Aladawaska settlement, consisting of nearly two hundred
families, all holding their grants from the British Government. Eng-
bnd, at all times high-minded and generous, never shrinks from the ful-
filment of her engagen)ents, even though, from the want of political
acuteness in the persons enijjloyed, they n)ay have been formed in a
manner piejudicial to her interests. But at the same time she has a
right, to rctpiire that the interpretation of them should not be overstrain-
ed or twisted from the obvious meaning and intent, by a grasping cupidi-
ty after a few miles of country which could be of little advantage to the
opposite party."

[ Senate Doc. No. 171. ] 115

The above extract has been made, because it shows the whole of the
British claim, as they have since made it, as well as the substance of all
the arguments they have urged in its support ; all which has since beert
done by them, whether in making surveys, collecting documents, or
making aiguments, for a period of more than five years, has not placed
their pretensions in a stronger light. If suhsecjuont occurrences have
given their claim any additional plausibility, it can only be altributed to
the agents having transgressed the authority given ihein by the treaty,
and discussed a claim which was not submitted. Here it is wholly un-
necessary to repeat the facts and documents hereinbefore (juoted or re-
ferred to — a mere recurrence to them, and placing them in opposition
to the British argument, shows, to use no harsher term, its total ab-

The argument seems to be addressed to the pride of the British, and
vanity of the Americans. As it relates to the British, the argument has
had its effect ; but as it relates to the Americans, it has been a little too
gross to deceive. If the discovery had been made more seasonably, it
might have acquired a temporary appearance of plausibility ; hut when
the subject had come before Parliament, and had also been under dis-
cussion by the commissioners and agents of the two Governments; and.
last of all, when the British commissioners had perseveringly sought the
territory, in every form, as a cession, from seventeen hundred and eighty-
two to eighteen hundred and fourteen, a period of thitty-two years, the
argument is not calculated to deceive, and ill accords with the character
always " high-minded and generous, and which never slirinks from the
fulfilment of its engagements."

The territory, from all our researches, never has been claimed as a
right by the British Government, or any of its commissioners or agents^
until 1817, after the commission under the 5th article of the treaty of
Ghent was organized ; but, on the contrary, as has been before showOp
the right has always been conceded to be in the United Slates. NoWj,
their claim, stripped of its verbiage, and translated into plain language,,
rests on this plain and simple proposition : the country lies between two
of our Provinces; it will be useful to us, nnt only by facilitating com-
munication, but it is important also in a military point of view ; we could
not obtain it by cession, though we were willing to give an equivalent ;
but we want it, and we will have it.

The State of Massachusetts, considering her right of sovereignty arid
jurisdiction co-extensive with her title, did not anticipate any disturb-
ance or intrusion, and did not consider herself under any necessity of
<jultivating her whole territory, or of keeping up a military force for iti?
protection ; relying upon the good faith which had appeared to manifest,
itself on the part of the British in the negotiations and discussions be—
tween them and the United States, and presuniing, also, that the Brittsb.
whenever they were found to have crossed her lineij, would disavow
the act and restore the country; she had, from time fo time, made grants
of her unappropriated lands, as the same were sought for public and
private purposes. She early granted Mais Hill to some of the soldieif
of the Revolution.

In September, 180G, Massachusetts conveyed two half townships, orte
to Deeilield, and the other to VVesttield academies, lying west of the

i/t) [ ; cniito I)oc. No. iTl. ]

townslnp of iMars Hill, pursuant to a suivoy ami plan made in conformi-
ty with the provisions ol" a resolve which iiad passed some time before.
Jn December, 18U7, she conveyed one township lyina; on both sides of
the Aroostook, and near the meridian line, irom the source of the St.
Croix, according to a selection, survey, and plan, made under a resolve
passed in .March, 180G. In January, 1808, she conveyed ten thousand
acres lying west of the aforesaid township, and on both sides of the
Aroos((>ok, pursuant to a survey and j^lan made under a resolve of
March, 180G. Had (he residue of tenitory been applied for, she would
have continued granting it, i:i large or small tracts, until she had grant-
ed the whole, piovided the object of the grants had met her approba-
tion. Hence she not only exercised sovereign power co-extensive with
her title, but also individual acts of sovereignty, and to what extent she
pleased. ^ , j

The restrictive system adopted by the Government of the United |
States, commencing about this period, checked the general business of
the country, and at the san^e time allayed the spirit of improvement and
settlement, and entirely put a stop to speculations in wild lands, and
there being no more applications for grants of wild lands, she had no
occasion to make them. The war succeeded, which still further check-
ed the progress of improvement and settlement, and several years w^ere
required to recover from the diversions occasioned by it ; hence, from a
coincidence of circumstances, no grants were made.

Entertaining no suspicion that any claim would be made by the Brit-
ish, or discussed by the agents, inconsistent with everything which had
transpired, and especially in all the correspondence which had preceded,
and in the treaty of Ghent itself, she could have had no reason to pre-
sume that claims would be made and urged which could infringe her
rights of sovereignty and jurisdiction. Hence she leposed in perfect
confidence, that the lines would be run and marked, and monuments
erected, according to her title, as it had always been understood by her,
and conceded by the British, and therefore made no inquiries to ascer-
tain the claims urged, or the progress of the commission. In 1819, she
passed the act of separation between her and the Distiict of Maine,
which was approved by Congress the next session, and Maine was ad-
initted into the Union as an independent State. By the act of separa-
tion, Massachusetts retained the fee simple of a moiety of the wild lands,
but the residue, and the entire sovereignty and jurisdiction, was vested
in Maine. Maine having thus become an independent State, and more
than three years having elapsed after the organization of the commission
under the 5th article of the treaty of Ghent, a time more than sutlicient
to have performed all which was submitted, and there being reports that
the British agent was vigilant, and the American remiss, and that sur-
veys were going on in (piarters wholly unanticipated, she of course be-
came anxious, and had reason to fear the subject was taking a direction
never in the contem[)l;>tion of the commissioners who negotiated, or in-
volved in the treaty itself. 'I'he (iovernor of the Slate noticed the sub-
ject in the fust message, which was delivered June 2, 1820, to both
branches of the Legislature. He says, "what progress has been made
under the 5th article of the British treaty in settling the eastern bound-
ary of the State against the Province of New Brunswick, and the north-

[ Senate Doc- No. 17 i. J I IT

ern boundary against that of Lower Canada, I am unable to inform you.
As this State and Massachu:;etts have so deep an interest in the settle-
ment of these boundaries, there would seem to have been a propriety in
the agent appointed on the part of the United States being taken from
one of these two States. S^ut, under existing circumstances, you will
consider whether the interest of the State docs not require from you
the adoption of such arrangements as are best calculated to afTord the
present agent such information in relation to this important subject as
the people in this State have it in their power to give."

The message was answered on the 12th of June, 18'i0, wherein it was,
among other things, lesolved, " That the Governor of this State be re-
quested to transmit to the President of the United States a copy of the
resolve, accompanied with such representations in relation to this sub-
ject as he shall think proper, and best calculated to elFect the object."
The request was complied with by the Governor, v.'ho, in July, 1820,
transmitted a copy of the resolve to the President, and, among other
things, observed to him : " When it is considered that Massachusetts and
Maine have tiie right of soil, that Maine has also a State jurisdiction,
that the people here have not the honor of an acquaintance either with
the commissioner or agent, and have not been advised of any reason for
the delay to the present time, it will not be considered a matter of sur-
prise that their extreme solicitude should be such as to render desirable
infoimation on the subject so generally interesting."

" It is not unknown to the people of this State that the British agent
has been very attentive to the business in which he has been engaged,
and that he has caused the country near the lines to be examined and
explored in the most particular manner; while it is not understood that,
comparatively, ;;.nything has been done on the part of the American
agent. With impressions such as these, the boundary being an extensive
one, it would be highly satisfactory to the people of this State, should
it comport with the views of the Executive of the United States, to des-
ignate a person to assist the present agent in his important duties, that
the boundary may not only be more expeditiously, but more satisfacto-
rily adjusted."

The substance of the reply which was made appeared in the next
message of the Governor.

This year, in the exercise of their general powers of sovereignty and
jurisdiction, the marshal of Maine, under a law of the United States,
took the census of the inhabitants settled on the St. John river, and its
tributary streams west of the meridian line from the monument at the
source of the St. Croix, and the south line of the Province of Quebec,
or Lower Canada.

In the autumn of the year 1820, an agent was sent by the Governor
and Council to explore the public lands upon the St. John, and its branches
west of the meridian line from the monument ; which service he per-

The Governor again, in his message which was delivered January 11th,
1821, to both branches of the Legislature, called their attention to the
subject of the preservation of the timber on the public lands; and, after
enumerating several places as the scenes of depredations, says: " It ap-
pears that trespasses within our acknowledged territory, particularly on

i 18 [ Si'nule Dor. No. I7I. |

Ihe rivers Aroostook, De Chute, Piesquillc, and Meduxnekeag, comniit-
teil by persons residing in the British Provinces, are very great. Ac-
cordingly, aiiangenionts have hitely been adopted, with a view to j)reveiit
sucIj piedalor} incursions in luture."

lie also states that he forwarded the resolve of the prior session of the
Legislature to the President and Secretary, transmitted a copy of the same
to the American commissioners, who, in reply, " gave a reasonable ground
of expectation that the final decision of the points in controversy respect-
ing those lines would have been made in October last." And, from in-
jorniation obtained iiom other sources, adds : " All reasonable hope of a
speedy adjustment seems therefore to have vanished."

The Governor after having received information that British subjects
were trespassing on the timber lands of Maine and Massachusetts, on the
Aroostook, appointed Benjamin J. Porter, Esq., with the advice of Coun-
cil, to proceed immediately to that place, and to notify the persons whom
he should find trespassing on the timber lands aforesaid, west of the line
which had l)een run by order of the commissioners appointed by the
United Stales and Gieat Britain, from the monument at the source of
the St. Croix to the line of the Province of J^ower Canada, that if they
would pay a proper consideration for the timber they had cut, and desist
from any further depredation on that part of our territory, he was autho-
rized to settle with them on those principles ; but if they declined, he was
tlirected to proceed to Iloulton plantation, and adopt the necessary meas-
ures, and obtain such assistance as, in his judgment, would be required
to take the trespassers and their teams, and bring them to Iloulton plant-
ation, and there keep them until the Executive could be advised of the
measures adoj)ted.

The agent, thus appointed and instructed, proceeded tQ the Aroostook,
.ind found liritish subjects tres})assing there, with whom he settled, and
received also the assurances requited, that they would not return, and
•would desist fiom cutting the timber.

TJie efl'orts thus far made not having produced the intended results,
ihe Legislature, January 16th, 1822, passed a resolve, requesting the
Senators and Representatives of this State in the Congiess of the United
States to collect infoiination touching the causes of the ditlercnces be-
tween the American and British commissioners under the treaty of Ghent,
respectii;g the boundary line between this Stale and the British Prov-
inces of l.,ower Canada ami Nova Scotia, and the extent and nature of
the claims set up by the said British commissioners. The resolve was
duly communicated. No progress was, however, made, and the object
of the resolve was not answered. In February, 18?2, an agent was ap-
poirued, with full |)ower to prc\ent trespassing upon the timber in the
jiublic lands, on the Aroostook, Madiixnekrag and Presfpiille rivers, and
their branches west of the mer idian line from the monument ; and he
entered immediately upon the duties of his agency, and visited the
places re(|uired, and accomplished the objects of his appointment. The
subject is again recurred to, January lUth, 1824, by the Governor in his
racssago, which led to no specific act on the part of the Legislature.
January 7tb, 1825, the (iovernoi- again calls the attention of the Legisla-
lure to Ihe subject of the nor ihea^^ter ri boundary ; stating, also, that he
lutd undersloo.lj from respectable sources, that depredations had been

[ Senate Doe. No. 1 7 I. J ll9

committed on our timber lands on the Aroostook and Madawaska, and
other streams emptying into the St. John ; and that, unless energetic
measures are speedily adopted on the part of the State, our valuable lim-
ber in that legion will be soon destroyed ; and that, from the represent-
ations, the depredations were committed by British subjects.

This led to an investigation, as far as the limited means possessed by
the Government of this State permitted, and a lesolve passed January
24th, 1825, among other things requesting the (iovernor of this State to
correspond with the Governor of the Province of New Biunswick, rela-
tive to the depredations which had been committed by British subjects
on the timber on the public lands of this State, west of the boundary line
between this State and the Province of New Brunswick, as heretofore
recognised, and to ascertain whether that Government had authoi ized any
persons to cut timber upon these lands or to settle thereon.

The land agent of Maine was instructed, in conjunction with such per-
son as should be designated by Massachusetts, or if none should be ap-
pointed, without that agent, forthwith to take effectual measures to ascer-
tain the extent of the depredations on the lands belonging to this State
and Massachusetts, or on lands belonging to this State ; by whom the
same have been committed, and under what authority, if any, such dep-
predations were committed.

Tiie Governor was also requested to forward each of the Senators and
Representatives in Congress from this State, a copy of the report of the
committee on the part of the Governor's message relative to depreda-
tions on the public lands ; and of the resolves, and also to request them
to take the necessary measures to obtain an early adjustment of the
northeastern boundary of this State.

The Governor enclosed and forwarded the same on the 25th of Jan-
uary, 1825. During the same session of the Legislature, February 22d,
1825, they passed a resolve respecting the settlers on the St. John and
Madawaska rivers : " Whereas, there are a number of settlers on the
undivided public lands on the St. John and Madawaska rivers, many of
whom have resided thereon for more than thirty years ; therefore. Re-
solved, That the land agent of this State, in conjunction with such agent
as may be appointed for that purpose on the part of Massachusetts, be,
and he is hereby, authorized and directed to make and execute good and
sufficient deeds, conveying to such settlers in actual possession, as afore-
said, their heirs and assigns, one hundied acres each, of land, by them
possessed, to include the improvements on their respective lots, they
paying the said agent, for the use of the State, five dollars each, and the
expense of surveying the same."

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, June Uth, 1825, did provide
by resolve, among other things : " Whereas there are a number of settlers
on the St. John and Madawaska rivers, many of whom have resided
there more than thirty years ; therefore. Resolved, That the land agent of
this Commonwealth, in conjunction with such agent as has been or may
be appointed for that purpose on the part of the State of Maine^ be, and
the same is hereby, authorized and directed to m.ike good and sutTicient
deeds, conveying to such settlers in actual possession as aforesaid, their
heirs and assigns, one hundred acres each, of land, by them possessed,
to include their improvements on their respective lots, they paying to


[ Senate Doc. Ko. i71. ]

the said agent, for the use of this Commonwealth, fiv'e dollars each, and
tiie expense of surveying the 5atne.''

The agents thus authorized did, in the autumn of that year, proceed
up the St. John to the IMadawaska settlement, and thence to the mouth
of the Marvumpticook, and surveyed, and conveyed, two lots ol land, on
the 3d of October, to John Baket and James Bacon, citizens of this State.
They had settled above the French neutrals on the St. John and its
waters ; and at the time when the settlements on the lots were com-
menced, there was no settlement within several miles of them. They
also posted up notices, stating their authority, and proposing to give deeds,
accoiding to the resolves under which they acted.

Tliis year Maine and Massachusetts, in continuing their surveys of the
the undivided lands, surveyed all which had not been previously done,
and convened two ranges of townships on the meridian lino, running
north from the monument at the source of the St. Croix, and above Mars
Hill, to a place within a few miles of the liver St. John. The twa
grants of .Massachusetts, made in December, 1807, to the town of Ply-
mouth, and in January, 180S, to William Eaton, on the river Aroostook,
according to surveys made in 1807, compose a pait of the ranges.

In a letter bearing date ]May 23d, 1825, from the British minister at
Washington to the Secretary of State (f the United States, in answer
to his of the 27th March preceding, complaining of the encroachments
of the inhabitants of New Brunswick, committed upon lands of Maine
and Massachusetts, in cutting and eaiiying away timber within the bound-
aries of those States; and the places where the trespasses were com-
mitted, weie also described in the accompanying papers to be on the
Aroostook and Madawaska rivers.

The British minister, in reply, states that he had made inquiries of
Sir Howard Douglas, the Governor of New Brunswick, and had been
assured by him that the charge, as far as the Government of the Prov-
inces was concerned, was unfounded, and that he should use his best
endeavors to put a stop to practices in themselves so disgraceful. It was
iuithei- stated by Sir Howard, "that in assuming the Government of New
Brun^\\•ick, he found that licenses to cut timber, and other acts of sov-
ereigtity, had long been exercised on the part of Great Britain over cer-
tain tracts of land in which the Bistook," ( Aroostook,) " and Madawaska
were included, heretofore well understood to belong to New Biunswick,
but subsequently claimed by the commissioners of the United States ap-
pointed to negotiate with the British commissioners for adjusting the
boundaiy line ol' the respective Provinces; to these claims no disposition
w as ever shown, on the })art of Great Britain, to accede."

It is not supposed that Sir Howard intended to misrepresent facts, be-
cause it would be entirely inconsistent with the honorable character
Avhich he is supposed to .sustain ; but acquitted of that charge, his rep-
resentations must lie attributed to ignorance of the subject, or want of
research into the premises. Compaie the hisloiy of the negotiation of
the provibional licaty of peace in 1782, the doings of the commissioners
Uhdei- the olii aiticle of tin,' frc.ity of 1791 ; more especially the argu-
ment of the British agent, and all the correspondence which preceded
the lr<aty of (ihent, wherein the Biitish commissioners so often and so
repeatedly ask the country, in which the Madawaska settlement is in-

[ Senate Doc. No. 171. | 121

eluded, as a cession, and are so often denied hy the American commis-
sioners, on the ground that they possess no authorty to make a cession,
and no further conimenl is necessary to show the falsify of his represent-

It is further said by Sir Howard : " In fact, by reference to documents
in the possession of the British colonial department, it appears that the
settlement at Madawaska, in the Province of New Brunswick, was made
under a grant from the Crown upwards of thirty years ago ; so late as the

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of StateMaine boundary--Mr. Greely, &c. .. → online text (page 15 of 56)