United States. Dept. of State.

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

. (page 21 of 56)
Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of StateMaine boundary--Mr. Greely, &c. .. → online text (page 21 of 56)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Maine ; and allow me to add, that if called upon to tnake the required
sacrifice, she will be comj)elled to deliberate on an alternative \vhich
will test the strictness of her piinciples and the firmness of her temper.
The acknowledgment of the motiier country, and the exercise of the
inherent power of the people, formed Massachusetts into a body j)olitic,
originally independent of the present Union, and of every foreign Gov-
einment. All the territorial and jurisdictional rights which she could
acquire were absolutely her own, and remain so to this day, (;xce]^ting
so far as she has granted them to the United States or to Maine. 'I'he
treaty of 1783, containing the acknowledgment of her emancipation, and
exaltation to self-government, was not with the States, exclusi\ely, as a



IGO [ Senate Doc. No. 171. J

federal body, hut partially at least as independent communities; that
is to say. il" in some poinis ol' view they appeared as Jbiming a national,
in oilier tlit-y were re;i;arded as hein^ an allied association. Hence the
acknowledfitnent of inile|)endence applied distinctly to each State, as did
also the relincjuishment by the Kin^ of Cii eat Britain of "the propriety
and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof." It is necessary
to notice, that at the period of the negotiation of the treaty of peace, the
•confederation, to a slight extent, and in reference to a few objects, drew
the States into concert, and gave them a unity of character; but the
most superlicial examination sbows that the confederacy had not a com-
mon interest in territory or territorial lights, and that the recognition of
these bore upon the ancient colonies oidy as they held under their
ciiarters, or as the fruits of their wisdom and valor, in fee simple and
absolute sovereignty.

When, by the ratihcalion of the conventions of the States, Massachu-
setts suirendcied to a superintending agency a portion of her power, she
yielded no right to dispose of her soil, or to abstract any pai t of it iVom
her jurisdiction. She impaited no authority to enter into new engage-
ments, or, what may be equivalent, to modify the means of enforcing an
existing provision of an original compact, made in jiart with herself, nor
to cxj)ose, without her own consent or that of her successor and repre-
sentative, to the fate of foreign arbitrament, her dearly puichased and
sacred rights. On the contrary, Maine, now standing in the place of
I)or parent republic, may deem the filth article of the treaty of Ghent" as
having led to a course endangering her rights, and rendered more pain-
ful and alarming by her exclusion from a j)roper intercommunication and
legitimate consideration, as a party in the case,

vN'hatever character appertained to the confedcriition, or to those wiio
entered into that holy league, it is manifest that the States were not
identitied and confounded with the b'nion in relation to the question here
presented, under the oiiginal treaty of peace and limits. 1 must, theVe-
fore, respectfully urge, that however the policy and principles of the
executive de[)artment of the Federal Government may dictate the impo-
sition upon Maine of silence and forbearance, and however plainly may
be indicated the disposition to treat the subject as if merely national,
she will not observe any procedure by the United States and Great
Britain, for the severance of her territory and the abrogation of her author-
ity, without a sensibility too serious to be passive. She holds that her
domain is not the subject of partition.

I pause, to render more obvious the relevancy of these remarks. Of
two principles on which it dejiends, it may be sullicient to state but one.
Tlic |)owei' of subjecting to arbitration, with an absolute right in the ar"-
biter to form and establish a terr itoi ial limit, is etprivalent to the [jower
of ceding territory. The arbiter' is the legal substitute and mutual agent
of the parlies, in (his case assumed to be the United States and Great
Britain ; his acts are their- acts, and there is a positive pledge to an un-
conditional obedience to his behest. It is the delegation of the sove-
reignty of a des|)ot. The eJlVct may Ik- the cession of all Maine, or of
ordv a |)art ; but if of .uiy, the (Jover riimrit of the United States will
participate, by an un^uribor iz^.'d submission, in the injustice of the
umpire.



[ Senate Doc. No. 171. ] 16 i

It is not controverted that the control of our foreign relations belongs
to the United States, as to objects which have arisen under the constitu-
tion or existing laws ; but in regard to rights acquired by an independent
party, and interests in property vested by acts anterior to the existence
of that compact, the interposition by the Federal Executive, without an
express grant of power, seems to be gratuitous. No statesman will as-
sert that the treaty-making power is competent to an act transcending
the scope of the combined trusts of the Government.

I advert to principles familiar to your mind, because it is my duty to
present the opinions here entertained. What, then, is the authority, or
agency, which, it may be assumed, would produce no remonstrances from
the State the most deeply concerned ? Not surely that which admits of
what is termed by Mr. Gallatin splitting the difference, nor of conceding
property which does not belong to the United States, nor curtailing a
jurisdiction above their rightful control. Whatever may be urged to the
contrary, it is confidently asserted, not only that the provision of the
treaty of 1783 is imperative, but that it describes our boundary with a
precision which shames the British claim, and, connected with the making
of that claim, casts a shade over the lustre of the British character. By
negations we may sometimes arrive at an affirmative. I say, then, that
the boundary on the surface of the earth does not rest along the Penob-
scot, which the British, then perhaps contemplating that vast empire
they anticipated in North America, insidiously and surreptitiously seized
during the late war. That boundary cannot be established there. It
does not rest where the British minister has presumed to place it. The
making the claim does not determine its justice ; nor the obstinacy of
persisting in it create with this powerful nation the necessity of a con-
cession, which will as surely be followed by a more enormous one, as it
is certain that the Roman empire was ignominiously subjugated through
the base spirit of submission to incipient wrong. Enough has been said
to meet the obvious and natural inquiry, what is expected of the Govern-
ment, or, may I not say, what is demanded of it? It knows the demerit
of the British claim ; it is conscious of the rights of Maine ; and here-
after it cannot be said that her views have not been exhibited. She
might therefore be forever justified in the exercise of her jurisdiction
and sovereign State rights over the disputed ground. Her faith is not
pledged, nor is that of the Union, to permit any reduction of her actual
territory ; and there is no artifice of construction or force of authority to
break off that great component part of her domain now assailed, and to
bind her judgment to acquiescence. The cession would be nugatory ;
and if, for a time, she should be compelled to submit to it, the abeyance
produced by power will not preclude the right of resumption which
justice may at some period award.

It has been urged that this concern is so exclusively national, that
Maine is obtrusive in presenting her views to the consideration of the
Executive. It is, nevertheless, believed that she is under high obliga-
tions vigilantly to supervise her interests, freely to assert her rights, and
not to yield readily to the discouraging but perfectly natural inclination,
to see in her conduct the humblest deference, and an entire, unquestion-
ing, improvident obedience- She commits no intentional error, and
communes with the frankness which belongs to her independence, her
11



lb'2 [ Senate Doc. Nu. 171. ]

character, and her station with her sister republics and with the Union.
In doing so she evinces her respect for their integrity, intelligence, and

f»atriotism ; and she avoids, by a prudent forecast, that danger of col-
ision bred from present distrust, and that querulous and exasperated
temper usually exhibited when the evils of measures are experienced,
and when causes are appreciated by their effects.

Repeating to you the expression of my regret that you have been
pleased to refuse that information contemplated by a resolution of the
State, I shall, nevertheless, continue to hope for the preservation, under
the protecting care of Government, of that now exposed territory, des-
tined, under any proprietor, to be soon occupied by a numerous popula-
tion, engaged in all the pursuits which sustain human life and adorn hu-
man nature



No. 21



Letter from thu Oovernor of Maine to the Secretary of State of th%

United States.

Portland, April 29, 1827,

Sir I am induced, by considerations which I deem important, to avail
myself of your obliging offer, to obtain copies of all the papers in your
office, relative to the boundary between this Stale and New Brunswick,
which the President may permit to be transmitted. This request applies
to maps, with the exception of the map already furnished of the country
explored in the years 1817, 1818, 1819, and 1820, by order of the com-
missioners under the fifth article of the treaty of Ghent, by Hiram Burn*
ham. United States surveyor.

I have the honor also to solicit transcripts of the arguments of Mr,
Chipman and Mr. Sullivan, as agents under the commission for deter-
mining the true St. Croix; and of the arguments of Mr. Austin and Mr.
Chipman, under the fourth article of the treaty of Ghent, together with
the report of the commissioners in both cases.

Excuse me for adverting to the punctilio of expense, which I shall
wish to see liquidated.

I have made a communication to the President on the subject of our
Northeastern boundary, which you will perceive from its nature was ne-
cessarily directed immediately to him



No. 22.



Letter from the Secretary oj State of the United States to the Qovernor

of Maine.

Washington, June 9, 1827.
Sir ; The President has received the letter which your excellency-
addressed to him, under date the 29th ultimo , and I am'charged by him
to convey to you his assurances that your observations on the interesting



[ Senate Doc. No. 171. ] 163

subject of our Northeastern boundary shall receive attentive and re-
spectful consideration. I beg leave .to add, that, in no contingency is
any arbitration of the difference between the United States and Great
Britain, relative to that boundary, contemplated, but that for which pro-
vision has been solemnly made by treaty. It would afford great satis-
faction to the President if a resort to that alternative for quieting the
dispute could be avoided, by obtaining from Great Britain an explicit
acknowledgment of the territorial claims of Maine in their whole extent.
Candor, however, compels me to state that the prospects of such an
acknowledgment, at the present time, are not encouraging.



No. 23.



Letter from Daniel Brent, Esq., of the Department of State oftht United
Slates, to the Governor of Maine.

Washington, June 15, 1837

Sir ; I was directed by the Secretary, before his departure from this
city, a few days ago, on a visit to Kentucky, to have copies prepared of
the books, &c., requested in your letter to him of the 29th of May,
and to transmit them to your excellency, with all possible despatch ; and
I have just collected together the manuscript books containing the argu-
ments of Mr. Chipman and Mr. Sullivan, agents under the commission
for determining the true St. Croix, and those containing the arguments
of Mr, Austin and Mr. Chipman, agents under the 4th article of the
treaty of Ghent, together with the reports of the commissioners in both
cases, fourteen in number, and averaging, each, about two hundred and
fifty pages of close writing on foolscap paper ; transcripts of these being
particularly noticed by you as wanting. Added to those, the arguments,
reports, and papers, including the maps under the 5th article of the treaty
of Ghent, which come, it would seem to me, within the scope of your
request, embrace a mass of writing nearly as voluminous as that of these
books. I take the liberty, under these circumstances, of troubling your
excellency with this communication, to apprize you of the extent of the
transcripts which appear to be thus required, and of the delay which
must, of consequence, attend the execution of your excellency's commis-
sion, as it is at present understood by me.

I beg leave, however, to state, that the subject is involved in so much
obsurity, from the prolix and complicated arguments, reports, and re-
plies of the several commissioners, agents, astronomers, and surveyors,
that 1 do not like to venture upon making a selection for the copyists,
though I feel fully persuaded that this might be advantageously done, to
<he great abridgment of their work, and to the expediting of the fulfil-
ment of your wish. The Senators from your State, Messrs. Holmes and
Chandler, have seen the books, and, as well as I recollect, were furnish-
ed with copious extracts from them ; and perhaps they might favor this
Department, through your excellency, with some suggestion leading to
3 convenient curtailment, which should, nevertheless, be entirely com-
patible with your excellency's object in reference to the copies required
by you.



164 [ Senate Doc. No. 171. ]

No. 24.

Letter from the Governor of Maine to Daniel Brent, Esq., of the De-
partment of State of the United States.

Portland, July 14, 1827.

Sir : ! had the honor to receive your letter, referring me to the Hon.
Messrs. Holmes and Chandler, as to reducing the amount of the draught
I had made on the prolfered kindness of the Secretary of State. I have
availed myself of all possible benefit from your suggestion ; but am. still
disposed to accept, without reservation, the favor he so politely tender-
ed ; which is done with the greater sense of obligation, because that fa-
vor cannot embrace the principal objects first contemplated, and is there-
fore rendered more valuable as to the residue. It is also believed that
Maine ought not to lose the opportunity of placing among her archives
all those documents which she can obtain relating to a concern so im-
portaDt as that of a third of her territory.



Extract of a letter from the Governor of Massachusetts to the Governor
of Maine, dated Executive Deportment cf Massachusetts,

Boston, July 2, 1827.
*' I beg also to avail myself of this opportunity to acknowledge the re-
ceipt of several interesting communications from your excellenc}* in
reference to the Northeastern boundary, which will receive the most re*
spectful and faithful consideration. My own opinion of the importance
of the general views which you have, in detail, and with great force,
presented on this subject, has been heretofore expressed in official com-
munications to the Legislature of this Commonwealth, and in a corre»
Bpondence had with the Department of State of the United States."



No. 25.



Ltttfr from the Governor of Maine to the Secrctbry qf State of the

United States.

Portland, September 3, 1827.
Sir : Since I had the honor of addressing you on the subject of the
Northeanern boundary of this State, facts have been placed within my
knowledge which, more imperatively than any other, urge me to solicit the
attention of the President to the situation in which we are placed. It is
now rendered evident that the representation made to you, and convau-
nicated in your letter of the 27th of INIarch last, that the British Go\ ern-
ment has abstained from the performance of any new acts wliich might
be construed into an exercise of the rights of sovereignty or soil over the
disputed territory, was entirely incorrect. That representation, connected
■with the recommendation by the President, has undoubtedly had much
influence with Maine in producing a forbearance which will probably be



[ Senate Doc. No, 171. J 165

objected against her, in comparison with the opposite course by Great
Britain, as containing an implied acknowledgment of the rightfulness of
the jurisdiction which has been exercised for years, by a foreign Power,
in the manner and to an extent which I beg Uravc now to exhibit, as pre-
sented to me by credible testimony. Along the St. Jolm's river, following
it up westwardly from the junction of the Madawaska, is a very flourishing
settlement, containing a considerable number of peaceably disposed and
industrious inhabitants. Among these is a proportion of American emi-
grants, some of whom hold their lands under deeds from Massachusetts
and Main*, and the others, or nearly all of them, are anxious to obtain
titles in the same way. The latter at present occupy as tenants at suffer-
ance, and neither recognise the lands as being crown lands, nor do they
voluntarily submit to British authority. These persons the Government
of New Brunswick treats in all respects as aliens, denies their right to hold
real estate, assesses upon them the alien tax, and refuses to permit to them
the transmission of their produce as American. I forbear to speak of
many acts of violence and petty vexation of which they also complain.
The other inhabitants are uniformly treated as British subjects, and new
acts of jurisdiction, even to requirement of military duty, are as frequent-
ly exercised as the ordinary operations of a municipal control require.
Before expressing to you the sentiments which should be connected with
the exhibition of these facts, allow me to ask your attention to the sacrifice to
which Maine is submitting, while her formidable adversary is thus Indus-
triously fortifying his positions. She owns, as it is believed, as clearly as
she owns any other portion of property, a tract of not less than six millions
of acres, which, with the exception of about a million and a half, situated
northeastward of the St. John's and Madawaska, is generally valuable
for spil and timber, so that the latter along one river has been estimated
to be worth §180,000, which is only equal to an average of ^150 per
square mile. The use of these vast resources is forbidden to her by the
circumstance that a claim is made upon it by a foreign Power, and by
the respect she entertains for the President's recommendation of a mutual
forbearance ; yet that Power is, in the mean time, applying its jurisdiction
in the same manner as if the representations of its minister created no
pledge and no obligations to sustain their correctness. While it is natural
that the same Power should seek to render the Province of New Bruns-
wick wealthy and powerful, by the prize it hopes to win, it miglit have
"been expected that there should be no repugnance between its acts
and declarations. The case which will be presented must, as you
perceive, necessarily require of Maine a consideration of the duties she
ov/es to her citizens, not left in the condition of neutral subjects without
government, as has been supposed, but actually subjugated.

To allow our lands to remain uncultivated, and our public improve-
raenls to be postponed through a State necessity, is a sacrifice capable of
being endured, compared with that of seeing dominion usurped over those
who owe us allegiance, and to whom protection is duo. It has been the
doctrine of the Government, and of a great portion of the people of the
United States, at times when Great Britain was heretofore prosecuting
claims against this country, more extensive, but not less unjust than the
present, that an injury to a single citizen inflicted a wound upon the body
politic; and that an evil inflicted upon a pyrt, demanded the making a
common cause for its remedy.



166 [ Senate Doc. No. 171 ]

In such a sentiment, believed to be now as fully as ever entertained, I
find my apology for this renewed appeal for protection of the interests of
Maine'against^he reduction of its territory, and the oppression of its citi-
zens through foreign interposition.

Availing myself of the present opportunity to offer the President a
further view of this subject, which I omitted purposely on former occa-
sions, it is tiattering to be able to bring in aid the analogy of the opinions
understood by the nation to have been uniformly entertained by oiu- states-
men and jurists in the case of the Mississippi. It being assumed that the
protection solicited will be yielded, and that the property demanded can-
not be surrendered in any lorm, or under any mode of procedure, except
as superior force may compel submission to a cession of State territory, it
IS natural to advert "to the value of the property at stake. That value
is so enhanced as to place it beyond calculation, when we apply the doc-
trine applied to the navigation of the Mississippi, that the ownership of
the head-waters of rivers gives the right of free navigation to their sources.
The doctrine, subject to some modification of a political and fiscal charac-
ter, has the same application under the laws of nature and nations, in ref-
erence to our neht of navigation through the St. John's, as this nation al-
ways demanded for it in connexion wUh the great question with Spain
which called it into view. Let me entreat you, then, to look at once to
the exciting cause of the cupidity of Great Britain, and the anxiety of
Maine as to this profiigate claim. The materials for ship-building on the
disputed territory mav be called inexhaustible, and the soil is so fertile
that the Madawaska settlement exports many thousand bushels of grain
The towns near the bay of Fundy, both on the Schoodic and St. John's,
under the exclusive policy of Great J3ritain, derive immense annual profits
from ship-building ; and they look with an unholy interest and intent on
the extensive forests of Maiiic. If the merits of the case admitted more
measured terms, I should use them ; but, believing that all posterity would
reprobate the weakness of yielding what is at onco so rightfully ours, and
so important, I use the freedom which the occasion demands. Beyond what
I have urged, let me add that there will be, if you shall defeat the claim
upon our territory, a facility of artificial water communication, which, re-
garding its extent, is unparalleled in the geography of this country. It will
embrace all the waters of the St. John's, Penobscot, Kennebec, and St.
Lawrence,

If the Genpral Government will employ an agent of this State, it will,
I am sure, be responsible for proving to him the correctness of all I have
stated, to his entire satisfaction, and in the most authentic forms.

I cannot close without assuring you of my confirmed belief, that Maine
will never assent to the result of an arbitration unfavorable to her inter-
ests, in the great concern in reference to which my duty has compelled me
to trouble you with my repeated communications.



[ Senate Doc. No. 171. ] 167

No. 26.

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

of Maine.

Washington, September 14, 18:87.

Sifi : I have received the letter which your excellency did me the honor
to address to me on the 3d instant, and I have lost no time in trans-
mitting a copy of it to the President of the United States, who will no
doubt give to it the most respectful and deliberate examination. In the
mean time I have also transmitted an extract from it to the British minis-
ter, accompanied by the expression that the necessary orders will be given,
on the part of the British Government, to enforce that mutual forbearance
from any new acts tending to strengthen the claims of either party to Ihe
disputed' territory, which it has been understood, in the correspondence
between Mr. Vaughan and myself, would be observed on both sides.



No= 27,



Letter frovi the Governor of Maine to the Lieutenant Governor of

New Brunswick.

Portland, October 22, 1827.

Sir : It has been represented to me, as Governor of the State of Maine,
that one of its citizens, of the name of John Baker, while residing on its
territory, has been arrested, and is detained in jail at Frederickton. A
circumstance so interesting to the peace and character of the State and
country, compels me to solicit information, which I do with the respect
and amicable disposition due authorities of a neighboring Government.
It is hoped that you will be pleased to communicate all the facts in the



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of StateMaine boundary--Mr. Greely, &c. .. → online text (page 21 of 56)