United States. Dept. of State.

Maine boundary--Mr. Greely, &c. .. online

. (page 20 of 56)
Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of StateMaine boundary--Mr. Greely, &c. .. → online text (page 20 of 56)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

respect will be commanded, now, from great deference, proffered in an-
ticipation. Wishing to act in full coincidence with the vie\\s entertain-
ed by the federal administration, the State must be bound to believe in
a mutual regard, and to endeavor to avoid anv embarrassing applica-
tions on her own part; but it may not be unsuitable for her to expect a
degree of confidence in return.

All that forbearance which ihe occasion requires will, as I may safely
assure you, be exhibited by this State. While her extensive and vaUia-

162 [ Senate Doc. No. 17 I. ]

ble tracts of wild land, which might olheiuisc soon be improved, remain
unsettled ; while her jMOj^ress in \\ ealth and power is checked in a most
disastrous manner, at the period niost I'avorable to giving an impulse to
her prospeiity ; while many inipoiiant resources are loft dormant during
the pendency of the dispute as to her property and jurisdiction; while
a liontier, which niiy.ht soon be made sdong, remains unfortified by the
freemen anxious to occupy it, she will, I doubt not, forbear, on the re-
quest of the General Covernment, until the imperious call of duty shall
summon her to occupy her inheritance. Seeking to promote, by all
suitable concessions, the amicable adjustment you refer to, she will only
wiihdiaw her deference and submis'sion when a claini, unjust in itself,
m.y seem to expose a portion of her territory to incorporation with a
Piovince. With this spirit of foibearance, she has sought inlormation
only as to an interest vital to herself, as well as important to the country,
without any purpose calculated to excite distrust, with only such patriotic
views as have rendered the refusal to comply with her request a subject
of th.at species of surprise which a friend, predetermined to take no of-
fence, leels when he is not treated with coriespondent confidence.

IMaine, sir, was with great dillicuity introduced into the Union ; but,
if 1 recollect rightly the arguments which were used, she was introduced
as a sovereign and indej)endent State.

As a free, sovereign, and independent republic, n^r.y we not be per-
mitted to iiave communication with tlic authorities of the Union ; or do
they mean that we shall submit imj)licitly to their direction, however
wise it may be, at the same time that they declaie their conviction of
the j)ropriety of withholding information? The general concerns of the
Union are, of coui'se, communic;.ted only to the whole, but that which
relates to a particular con^.munity, where its daily intercourse demands
infoimation, seems to warrant the request I have made, and which I am
reluctantly impelled to lenew, with this modification, that any communi-
cation made in return \\i\[ be received, if so re(juired, subject to a le-
striction on publicity beyond a communication to the Legislatuie, in the
usual terms of confidential conimunicalions- If the Piesident will not
consent to this, we must yield, v.ith the deference we owe to the station
he liolds, to the claims he has on our afiections and confidence, to the
information he possesses, and the prudence he displays, to any extent
within which the absolute and indefeasible rights of Maine may not be
compromitted. Will you permit me to add, that as to all beyond that,
this Stale may probably chiim the right to use her moral and })hysical
eruMgies, as she may be directed by the future emergencies; and I am
sure, if her good will shall impel lier, with jjowei- enough to sustain her
right to soil anil jurisdiction, wherever she may probably claim them
aj;ainst any proljable foreign and airogint assumption ; especially with
the aid of the; (Jeiieral Government.

I do not wish to weary youi- patience by urging the j^articular argu-
ments which might sustain my proposition. It is true, sir, tliat Maine is
iHit the only State interested. The Union is interesled, and each Slate
is .'-everally inlerestefl, in having a powerful comn-.unity on our north-
eastern boundary, which may, like New York in the last, be the pride
and defence of the nation in the next war. Whenever again there shall
be a struggle between the navies and armies of this republic and Great

[ Senate Doc. No. 171. ] 153

Britain, the position of Maine will require activity, strength, and confi-
dence. She will he exposed to a large portion of danger and suifering,
and will he, i ho])e and helieve, resolute to actjuire the glory to which
such exposure, with unimpaired means, will invite her.

Politically peninsulated, with three foreign Governments pressing upon
her horders, with the high amhition in9i)ired, and the high resj)onsibility
created, by her destination, can it be believed that she will relinquish
her lesources, sulVer her landmarks to be removed, and yield to a most
presumptuous arrogation of a foreign Power ? I trust you will more
highly appreciate her intelligence and spirit than to imagine that so de-
grading and pernicious a surrender can be consented to by her.

But, is she authorized even to consider this question, and to determine
the extent of her municipal jurisdiction, and that of the territoiial limits
within which she will exercise it } W a mandate of the Executive of the
United States, under an act oi the treaty-making power, is, upon princi-
ple, imperative, she ought to be silent and passive ; but if not, however
coniidently she may rely upon her safety, as guarded by wisdom and
patriotism, she ought to announce her wishes and her principles.

While, under treaties with Great Britain, the boundary in disj)ute has
been settled, the difficulty has occurred only as to the application of the
rule, in those treaties contained, to the surface of the ground. The right,
to the full extent of the first treaty, is perfect. It was not created by
that treaty, but its existence was prior to it ; and no surrender could have
then been made without the consent of the proprietor and the sovereign.
No surrender was made, and there is not a moral or political, in other
words, a governmental force, sulficient to change the true, honest, deter-
mination of the landmark. And there is nothing but sophistry, and that
ignoble spirit of compromise, which exists not in this republic, which
will consent to the obvious and monstrous falsehoods to which ambitious
and artful jiretensions have led the enemies of Maine.

In regard to the sentence which you have extracted from the report
of the joint select committee, as it contains a sentiment approved by the
Legislature, and acquiesced in by the people, I shall trouble you with a
brief comment in regard to it. It rests upon the idea, before suggested,
that Maine, with Massachusetts, has a perfect title in the disputed terri-
tory, and that the former State has a vested, indefeasible, jurisdictional
control over it, the exercise of which it may irresponsibly apply. It is
a proposition, which has been demonstrated by yourself so clearly as to
have commanded general respect, that the abstraction of the territory
of the United States cannot be made by the treaty-making or executive
power. Much more, then, must the domain of a State, within its ac-
knowledged limits, be sacred, and much more and more is it evident
that neither department of the Federal Government, nor all, can be the
exclusive and final arbiter as to the ascertainment of a boundary already
established in description ; because, if one department, or all, have this
powei-, they may ascertain the line falsely, indirectly cede our State,
converting it into a British dependency, and thus, by the arguments I
had the invaluable satisfaction of hearing applied in another case, vio-
late the constitution. If, therefore, the committee have fallen into error,
it has not been in the princijjle of their judgment as to the rights of this
State, abstractly considered, but in their view of the extent of our ter-

15 1 [ Senate Doc. No. 171. ]

litory, and of tlic application of our authority over it. They, in fact,
substantially assert, that the treaty of 1783, in connexion with original
j^iants, and subsequent and correlative circumstances, established and
deliiicd our bounds, so as to j)reclude just complaint of our public acts,
within the scope of those lef;itimate powers which, at the discretion of
the State, it may, within those bounds, anywhere apply. The doctrine
of the committee can only be refuted by proving that the national au-
thoiity is exclusive as to the adjustment of our exterior boundary ; but
let it be recollected that the present case only admits the ascertainment
of a line by a rule prescribed, and not the creation of one arbitrarily, or,
iii other words, by arbitrament. A right was vested in a third party be-
fore the Union existed, and has been confirmed by it since. In short,
the committee, it is believed, may be considered as claiming such respect
as may be attached to those who have truly exhibited the sentiments of
this community.

Anxious, as in my situation 1 cannot avoid being, for the preserva-
tion, during my continuance in oflice, and always after, of the rights of
the State, 1 must express my alarm at a portion of Mr. Gallatin's letter.
He says, " an umpire, whether a king or farmer, rarely decides on strict
principles of law; he has always a bias to try, if possible, to split the
dilFerence," &c. And yet I am informed that there has been in progress
an arrangement of the preliminary points for constituting such an um-
pire. I cannot hut hope that no arrangement will be ellected which
will endanger the half, from tlie mere circumstance of a wrongful claim
to the whole, under the pitiful weakness which is liable to split the dif-
ference between right and wrong.

Let me add, in this particular pait of my letter, most respectfully, but
solemnly, the sentiment, that Maine is bound to claim at the hands of
the Federal Government the protection of the integrity of her territory,
the defence o( her sover(!ignty, and the guardianship of her State right.-.
She is called upon to urge this, that she may be rather permitted to rest
on the parental care of the Union, than driven to any independent
agency, in any form, in relation to this concern.

That you may not be surpiised that the State, after having fruitlessly
sought information, should have determined on its course without it,
give me leave to say, that while she cannot be presumed to be informed,
in all particulars, as to the relations of a deeply interesting character in
which she is placed, she is called upon to judge as to othcis, and is not
without the premises necessary to coriect conclusions.

Whatever intelligence she might have been })ermitted to receive as to
her relative situation, she would, as she will hereafter, cheerfully co-
operate with the (ieneral (jovernmcnt to |)revent an assumption of our
territoiy, lo what(.'ver extent, by the King of Groat Britain.

In exe(;uting the resolve of the Lcgislatine, it will be convenient to
me to possess a sclunlule of those documents which may be communi-
cated. I will, therefore, hope the favor of being furnished with such an
index, for the direction of my iiujuirics.

[ Senate Doc. No. 17 1. ] 155

No. 17.

Letter from the Secretary of State of the United States to the Governor

of Maine.

Washington, May 7, 1827.

Sir : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your excellen-
cy's letter of the 18th ultimo, and to itifoim you that I have suhmitted
it to the President. The solicitude which is lelt by your excellency
and the Legislature of Maine, in regard to the settlement of our north-
eastern boundary, so interesting to that State, and so important to the
whole Union, is perfectly natural, and justly appreciated by the Presi-
dent. And he is entirely disposed to comtnunicate any infoimation in
the possession of the Executive of the United States on that subject,
which can, in his opinion, be communicated without the danger of pub-
lic detriment. Accordingly, when, at the session of Congress before
the last, an application was made at this Department, by the Senators
from Maine, for copies of all the papers, maps, and other documents re-
ported by the commissioners who were appointed under the fifth article
of the treaty of Ghent, it was stated to those gentlemen, that the copies
would be furnished, whenever requested, with the exception of the re-
ports and arguments of the commissioners, transcripts from which, con-
sidering their peculiar character, in the then state of the question, the
President did not think it expedient to allow to be taken. The Sena-
tors from Maine availed themselves of the permission, and obtained
copies of some of the maps. Copies of all the papers reported by the
commissioners, which are very voluminous, would lequire the services
of two or three copyists for many weeks ; but the labor of preparing
them would be cheerfully encountered, for the accommodation of the
State of Maine.

The negotiation with Great Britain is still pending, but there is rea-
son to expect that it will soon be brought to some conclusion, peihaps in
a shorter time than would be requisite to copy and transmit the papers
reported by the commissioners to your excellency. The President con-
tinues to think that the public interest requires that the communication
of transcripts of the reports and arguments of the commissioners, even
under the limitation proposed by your excellency, should be postponed
for the present, and until it can be made without the risk of any injuri-
ous effect upon the state of the negotiation. Your excellency's experi-
ence in public affairs will enable you to make a just estimate of the
reserve and delicacy which ought to be observed in all negotiations with
foreign Powers, involving subjects of deep national interest. This con-
sideration has such weight that it is the uniform practice of Congress,
as no one knows better than your excellenc}^ to annex a qualilication to
the calls which are, from titne to time, made for papers relating to the
foreign negotiations of the Government. There would not be the small-
est objection to an exhibition to the inspection of your excellency, or
confidentially, to any person that you might think proper to designate, of
all the papers, without exception, reported by the commissioners. I ab-
stain from a particular notice of many of the topics of your excellency's
letter, not fiom the least want of respect, (on the contrary, I entertain

If) 6 [ Senate Doc. No. 171. ]

the hiuliest, personally and olTicially,) for your excellency, but from a
])eisuasion that the discussion of tliein is without utility. It has been
ihoutiht most piofitable to limit my answer to the specilic requests con-
tained in your letter.

I transmit, herewith, in conformity with your wish, a list of the papers
leported by the commissioners, copies of any of which may be procu-
red, for the use of the State of Maine, whenever desired, with the ex-
rcj)tiun which has been slated.

No. 18.

A list of books, papers, t^c, relative to the fifth article of the treaty

of Ghent.

Journal of Conunission. — Vol. 1.

Claims of Agents. — Vol. 2, contains claim of the agent of the United
States. 1st. Men)orial concerning the northwest angle of Nov.i Scotia,
and the northwesternmost head of Connecticut river, kc. By the agent
of II. B. Majesty. 2d. Memorial concerning the same. By same.

Answers of Ageiits. — Vol. 3, contains a reply to the memorial of the
agent of the United States, fded 8th June, 1821, exiiibiting the line of
the boundary of the United States, from the source of the river St. Croix
to the Iioquois or Cataraguy.

Answer of the agent of the United States to the claim, and opening
argument of the agent of H. B. Majesty. Read, August 10, 1821.

Replies of the Agents. — Vol. 4, contains the reply of the agent of the
United States to the answers of the agent of H.B. Majesty to the claim
and opening argument of tiie agent of the United States, kc. Read,
Septeuiber 27th, 1821.

Observations upon the answers of the agent of the United States, to
the chum and opening argument of the agent of H. B. Majesty, &c.
By the agent H. B. Majesty.

General Appendix. — Vol. 5, contains reports of the surveyors and
astronomers, and documents referred to in the arguments of the agents.

ApiJendix to British Agent's Reply. — (Duplicate) Report of Commis-
sioner C. P. V'an Ness.

Report of the commissioner of II. B. Majesty, addressed to the Gov-
ernment of the United States.

Api)endix to the re])ort of II. B. Majesty's commissioners.

No. 10.

NumbiTH referreil lo in Ihe Niimliers referred to in llie

Unitcil .St:ite-i :ir>,'iiriiLiU-.. Drltisli ur};iimciits.

1 . Mr. Johnson's survey of l!ie line, north fiom the St. Croix, \ |

in 1817. S

2. Col. Bouchell's survey of the same line, 1817. .2

[ Senate Doc. No. 171. ] 157

3. IVfr. .Tolinson's further survey of the uortli line and adjacent )

country, in ISIS. S

4. INfr. Odell's further survey oftlie north lino. II

5. Capt. Partridge's section of the country from Point Levi to ~|

ilallowell, IMaine, 1819, of the different heights through ! ^
the Grand Portasie of Madawaska on St. .John river, of [
INlars Hill. ^ J

G. Suivey of the Restook section of the same, and of Mars Hill. 5

7. Mv. Odell's survey of the Restook, with a sketch of the )

country, as viewed from Mars Hill and the vicinity of V G
the Iloulton plantation. )

8. Mr. Hunter's survey of the Alleguash river. 6

9. " " " of the Penobscot, first part. 7

10. " " " of the Penobscot, second part. 8

11. ISfr. Burnham's survey of the branches ot Connecticut liver. B

12. Dr. Tiarks's survey of Connecticut river and its tributary ) ^

streams. S

13. Mv. Burnham's survey of Mcmkeswee, Green rivers, and ^ g

Beaver stream. S

14. Mr. Burnham's survey of Toladie river and Grand Portage. 10

15. Dr. Tiarks's survey of Toladie and Green rivers. 11

16. Mr. Loring's survey of Penobscot river. 12

17. " " " of Moose river. 13

18. Mr. Campbell's sketch of the height of land annexed to iSIr. ) .^^

Odell's report of the survey of 1819. )

19. Mr. Hunter's survey of the river St. John. 14

20. Mr. Loss's survey of the river St. John. lo

21. Mr. Partridge's survey of the Chaudiere, the source of the ) .^

Dead river, and the east branch of the Connecticut. )

22. Mr. Carlile's survey of the head waters of the Chaudiere and } .^

Kennebec livers. S

23. Mr. Burnham's survey of the river Quelle, and of the source ^ .^

of Black river. S

24. Mr. Carlile's survey of the rivers. 19

25. Mr. Burnham's survey of the sources of the Metjarmette, ) cq

Penobscot, and St. John rivers. )

26. Mr. Carlile's survey of the same source. 21

27. Col. Bouchett's barometrical section of the line north fiom ) ,-, ■>

the St. Croix. ^ ^ ""

28. Extract from Carrigan's map of New Hampshire. C

" from Mitchell's map of Connecticut river. 1)

Col. Bouchett's, concerning the parallel line. E

29. Extract from Mitchell's map, as first filed by the British


30. Plan of the former survey of the latitude of forty-five degrees

north, in 1774.


Map of the country explored in the years 1817, ISIS, 1819, and 1820,
by order of the commissioners under the 5th article of the treaty
of Ghent.

158 [ Senate Doc. No. 171. ]


A. Map (»r Connecticut river, by Dr. Tiarks.

I). Streams tiibutary to Connecticut river, by Mr. Burnhani.

C. Kxiract lioni (,'anigan's inaj) of New Hampshire.

D. Extracts iVom ISIitchell's map, sliowing the heads of Connecticut


E. Col. Bouchett's plan, showing:; the dilTerent lines considered as the

parallel of -15^ north.

F. Mr. Campbell's sketch of tho height of land, annexed to Mr. Odell's

report of tl.e survey of 1819.

G. Mr. OJell's plan of the survey of the Restook, with a sketch of the

country as viewed, hill and the vicinity of Houlton.
II. Extract from Mr. OdilPs plan of the due north line, explored in

I. General extract from Mitchell's map.
K. Corrected copy of san-ie extract.

Filed August 14, 1821.

S. HALE, Secretary.


This atlas (containing the copies of m.ips and parts of maps and plans,
with the exception of ihe last Mitchell's map, \vliich was filed as thereon
staled) accompanied the answering argument of the agent of H. B. Maj-
esty, filed on the 14th of August last.

No. 20.

Letter from the Governor of Maijie to the President of the United

States, dated

Portland, May 19, 1S2T.

Sir : The situation in which this State is placed, in consequence of
tlie unexecuted provision of the treaty of Ghent lelative to its north-
eastern f)oundary, imposes upon me a duty which I am not permitted to
compromise by my feelings of respect for yourself, and the high authority
with which you arc invested. However discouraging may have l)een
the correspondence 1 have had with the Secretary of State, 1 cannot de-
cline a course deliberately determined upon, or admit the belief that a
representation relating to the wellare of Maine can be unwelcome. It
is not the C()mparatively light concern of a passing favor, or the import
of a transient measure, that I am about to urge ; but it is that of making a
iiKMuoiial for considcralion and recorci, as to ihe demesne ami jurisdiction
(tf thi-! member of the Union.

Obliged to (lepfMul principally for information upon rumor, the tenacity
of knowledge, which is power, has in)t, however, concealed the fact that
i!ie British Government has made a claim enibracing a large tract of
country adjacent to the Province ol New Brunswick. InformaticMi from
\ai ious sources cannot fail to have produced on your mind a just impres-
sion ol the importance coiiiinunicaled to that teiritory in (efcrcrice to
value and jurisdiction, by its quiliiies of soil, its variety of native pro-

[ Senate Doc. No. 171. j 159

ductions, its streams, its situation, and all those properties calculated to
render it not only a strong interior barrier to invasion, but iVuitiul of the
means of prosperity to our luaritinie frontier. The State of Maine
claims the |)ropriety in an undivided moiety, and the entire jurisdiction,
as far as consistent with the paramount power of the United States, in
relation to that extensive tract. Having learned that ihe title thereto
is involved in the details of a diplomatic arrangement, conducted under
the sanction of the execiitive department of the Federal Government,
Maine, although not consulted, yet bound, from deference, to pay a due
lespect to reasons the nature and force of which she is, from a studious
and mysterious reserve, rendered unable to comprehend, believes she
ought to present her expostulations in regard to any measures threatening
her with injury.

The Secretary of State has informed me that the disputed claims to
land along our northeastern boundary are to be submitted to arbitration.
By arbitration, I understand a submission to some foreign Sovereign or
State, who will decide at pleasure on the whole subject ; who will be
under no absolute obligations or etlectual reotraint, by virtue of the
treaty of 178o; whose conscience will not be boynd to impartiality and
justice by the solemn sanction of an oath ; and whose feelings may nat-
urally be biased against a republic accused of inordinate ambition, and in
whose peace and prosperity there is an interesting lesson and example
for nations.

The treaty-making power of tiie United States on one side, and his
Britannic Majesty on the other, engage to consider the decision of the
arbitrator final and conclusive. Let me say that to a surrender of terri-
tory, involved as a possibility, it will, I trust, be made evident that there
is another party, not to be an indifl'erent spectator of its own delaceration.
The mind, in contemplating our prospects, is carried to the couits of
Europe, and led to scan the tril)unals to which you may refer this sub-
ject. It would be unsuitable for me to comment on the dispositions or
talents of loreign Sovereigns or States; but it is not in cold blood that i
can anticipate the committing tiie destinies of Maine to an irresponsible
arbiter, to be found in a distant land, and necessarily unqualified to act
in the case. The character of this arbitership has been portentously
exhibited by Mr. Gallatin in that letter in which, on the authority of
intelligence from New Brunswick, he most erroneously ascribed an
interposition, by the agents of Massachusetts and Maine, as to a compro-
mise of our boundary. Sutfico it to say, that the proposed arbitration
will jeopardize, without her consent, and against her will, the rights of

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of StateMaine boundary--Mr. Greely, &c. .. → online text (page 20 of 56)