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of the argument which has led to this conclusion. The decision of the
Senate j)rechides it, and the object of this comnninication renders it un-
necessary; but it may be proper to add. that no question could have
arisen as to tlie vahdity of the decision, had the sovereign arbiter deter-
mined on, and designated, any boundary as that which was intended by
the treaty of 17S3. He has not done so. Not being able, consistently
with the evidence before him, to declare that the line he has thought the
most i)ropcr to be established was the boundary intended by the treaty
of 1783, he seems to have abandoned the character of arbiter, and as-
sumed that of a mediator, advising both parties that a boundary which
he described should be accepted as one most convenient to them. But
this line trenches, as is asserted by one of the States of the Union, upon
its territory ; and that State controverts the constitutional power of the
United States to circumscribe its limits without its assent. If the deci-
sion had indicated this line as the boundary designated by the treaty of
17S3, this objection could not have been urged; because, then, no part of
the territory to the north or the east of it could be within the State of
Maine ; and however the United States, or any individual State, might
think itself aggrieved by the decision, as it would, in that case, have been
made in conformity to the submission, it would have been carried into
immediate effect. The case is now entirely different; and the necessity
for further negotiation must be apparent, to adjust a diflerence which the
sovereign arbiter has, in the opinion of a co-ordinate branch of our ex-
ecutive powers, failed to decide. That negotiation will be opened and
carried on by the President whh the sincerest disposition to bring to an
amicable, speedy, and satisfactory conclusion, a question which might
otherwise interrupt the harmony which so happily subsists between the
two countries, and which he most earnestly wishes to preserve.

The undersigned is instructed to say that, even if the negotiators of
the two parties are unable to agree on the true line designated by the
treaty of 1783, means will probably be found of avoiding the constitu-
tional difficulties that have hitherto attended the establishment of a boun-
dary, more convenient to both parties than that designated by the treaty,
or that recommended by his Majesty the King of the Netherlands ; an
arrangement being now in progress, with every probability of a speedy
conclusion, between the United States and the State of Maine, by which
the Government of the United States will be clothed with more ample
powers than it has heretofore possessed, to effect that end.

Should a negotiation be opened on this principal point, it will naturally
embrace, as connected with it, the right of navigation of the river St.
John — an object of scarcely less importance to the convenience and future
harmony of the two nations, than the designation of the boundary; it
being the wish of the President, and, as he has the best reason to believe,
that of his Britannic Majesty's Government, to remove all causes for
misunderstanding between the two countries by a previous settlement of
all points on which they might probably arise.

Presuming that the state of things produced by the resolution of the
Senate above referred to, and the desire expressed by the President to
open, carry on, and conclude the negotiation recommended by that body,



198 [Senate Doc. No. 414. ]

in the most iVank ami amicable iimiiner, will convince his Britannic Ma-
jesty's GovoinuR'nt of the necessity of meeting the otiers now made with
a corres})ondent spirit, the imdersigned is directed to propose for consid-
eration the propriety of carrying on the negotiation at this place. The
aid which the negotiators on both sides would derive from being in the
vicinity of the territory in dispute, as well as the information with respect
to localities, from persons well ac(i\iainted with them, which they might
connnand, are obvious considerations in lavor of this proposition.

Until this matter shall be brought to a final conclusion, the necessity
of refraining on both sides from any exercise of jurisdiction beyond the
boundaries now actually possessed, must be apparent, and will no doubt
be acquiesced in on the part of his Britaunic Majesty's Provinces, as it
will be by the United States.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to Mr. Bank-
head the assurance of his high consideration.

EDW. LIVINGSTON.

Charles Bankhead, Esq.,

ChargC d'Ajfaires of Great Britain.



Mr. Bankhead to Mr. Livingston.

Washington, July 21, 1832.

The undersigned, his Britannic Majesty's charge d'affaires, has the
honor to acknowledge the receipt of a note addressed to him this day by
the Secretary of State of the United States, communicating the reasons
which have induced the Senate to advise the rejection of the award of
the King of the Netherlands upon the question of the disputed boundary
between the United States and his Majesty's Province of New Bruns-
wick, and the desire of the President to enter into further negotiation
tliereupon with his Majesty's Government.

The undersigned has already transmitted a copy of Mr. Livingston's
communication to his Government ; and he takes this opportnnity of re-
newing to Mr. Livingston the assurance of his most distinguished con-
sideration,

CHARLES BANKHEAD.

The Hon. EnwAnn Livingston, ^'C.



Sir Charles li. Vaughan to Mr. Livingston.

Washington, April 14, 1833.
The undersigned, his IhiianuK- Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
mini.'-ter plenipotentiary, havinir been directed l)y his Government to
open, ui)on his arrival at Washington, a connmnucation with the Govern-
ment of the United States upon the question which relates to the long-
disputed claims of the two countries, with respect to the boundary be-
tween the Northeast portion of the United States and his Majesty's
colonial possessions in North America, has already made Mr. Livingston
acquainted with tiie instructions which he lias received upon this qucs-



[ Senate Doc. No. 414. ] 199

lion, ill whicli his Majesty's Government feels so deep an interest ; and
the undersigned is authorized by his Governnicut to lay, openly and
without reserve, the nature of those instructions in an official note to the
Secretary of State, as they contain the answer which his Majesty's Gov-
ernment have decided to make to the note of Mr. Livingston of the month
of July last.

His Majesty had indulged a confident hope that the means of adjusting
a question which has been the object of fruitless negotiation during a
long series of years, and the settlement of which is essential to the
preservation of a good understanding between the two countries, had, at
IcHgth, been attained, by the reference to the arbitration formerly agreed
upon and regulated by the convention of the 29th September, 1827 ; and
his Majesty, intluenced by an earnest desire to promote the harmony so
happily subsisting between his Government and that of the United States,
no less than by his sense of the obligations imposed upon him, in common
with the American Government, by that convention, did not hesitate to
declare his acceptance of the decision of the arbitrator, notwithstanding
the large sacrifice which it involved of territory heretofore considered as
belonging to the British Crown.

It was not, therefore, without very deep concern that his Majesty saw
his hopes frustrated, and the sacrifice whicli he had been willing to make
rendered unavailing, by the communication contained in the note ad-
dressed by the American Secretary of State to the charge d'affaires of his
Majesty at Washington, dated the 21st July, 1832.

By that note his Majesty's Government are informed that the Senate
of the United States (to which body the President, as required by the con-
stitution, had submitted the question for its advice) had determined not to
consider the decision of the King of the Netherlands upon the line of
boundary, which was submitted to his arbitration, " as obligatory ;" and
that they had refused to advise and consent to its execution, on the ground
that his Netherland Majesty had abandoned the character of arbitrator,
and had assumed that of mediator ; and that he had not decided the
question submitted to him, or had decided it in a manner unauthorized
by the terms of the reference.

The American Secretary of State observes that the validity of the de-
<jision would not have been questioned had the arbitrator determined upon,
and designated, any boundary as that which was intended by the treaty
of 1783 ; but that the line which the King of the Netlierlands advises both
parties to accept, as one most convenient to them, trenches on the State
of Maine, which State denies the constitutional power of the General
Government to circumscribe its limhs without its consent.

The necessity for further negotiation, according to Mr. Livingston's
note, had thus become apparent, to adjust a difierence which the ari)iti-a-
tor had failed to decide ; and that the President, therefore, in conformity
•with a resolution of the Senate, proposes to open a new negotiation with
his Majesty's Government, " for the ascertainment of the boundary be-
tween the possessions of the United States and those of Great Britain, on
the Northeastern frontier of the United States, according to the treaty of
pence of 1783."

His Majesty's Government regret that they cannot discover in this pro-
posal any probable means of arriving at a settlement of this difficult
question. It appears to his Majesty's Government to be utterly hopeless



200 I" Senate Doc. No. 414. j

to attempt to find out, at this time ol'day, by means of a new negotiation^
an assumeil lint- ot' boundary, wliicli .successive negotiators, and which
connnissioners employed on the spot, have, during so many years, failed
to discover; and which, finally, an impartial arbitrator, furnished by
each claimant with every fact and argument that had been adduced on
either side of the question, had declared tiie impossibility of tracing, in
conlormity with the description contained in the treaty of 1783.

Ill a subsequent part of j\lr. Livingston's note, the practicability is
sug;,'ested of a negotiation on a broader i)rinciple. He states that, if the
negotiators of the two parties should be unable to agree on the true line
designated by the treaty of 17S3, ''means will probably be found .of
avoiding all constitutional dilllculties that have hitherto attended the es-
tablishment of a boundary, more convenient to both parties than that
designated by the treaty, or than that recommended by his Majesty the
King of the Netherlands;" and he adds, that "an arrangement is now in
progress, \vith every probability of a speedy conclusion, between the
United States and the State of Maine, by which the Government of the
United States will be clothed with more ample powers than it has here-
tofore possessed, to effect that end."

His Majesty's Government will eagerly avail themselves of any prob-
able chance of bringing to a satisfactory settlement a question of such
vital consequence to the harmony and good understanding between the
two Governments; and the undersigned is instructed to lose no time in
endeavoring to ascertain from Mr. Livingston, in the first place, what is
the principle of the plan of boundary which the American Government
appear to contemplate as likely to be more convenient to both parties
than those hitherto discussed ; and, secondly, whether any, and what
arrangement, such as Mr. Livingston alludes to, for avoiding the consti-
tutional didlculty, has yet been concluded between the General Govern-
meiu and the State of Maine.

It is necessary that his Majesty's Government should be informed of
the basis upon which it is })roposed to negotiate, before they can either
entertain the proposal, or decide upon the instructions which it may be
necessary to give to the minister to whom the negotiation, when agreed
to, may be intrusted ; and it is especially essential that his xMajesty should
be previously assured that the President of the United States Avill possess
the power of carrying into full etlcct his part of any engagement which
may be concluded between the pleni])otentiaries of the two Governments.

The undersigned is directed to assure the American minister, in making
these connnunications, that, if his IVIajesty's Government shall be enabled,
upon receiving satisfactory explanations on the points which have just
been mentioned, to acquiesce in the proposition of the Government of th*c
United States, they will enter upon the negotiation which may then be
ojjened, in the most friendly spirit, and with the most sincere desire to ar-
rive at a settliMucnt, nuUnally beneficial to both countries ; and he is
further to assure Mr. Livingston that his Majesty's Government entirely
concur with that of the United States in the principle of continuing to
abstain, during the progress of the negotiation, from extending the exer-
cise of jurisdiction within the disputed territory, beyond the limits within
which if has hitherto been usually exercised by the authorities of either
parly.



[Senate Doc. No. 414. ] 201

It is due, however, to the frankness which his Majesty desires should
characterize every coinmiinicalion between the British and American
Govcrunieiits, that the undersigned lias received the orders of his Majes-
ty's Government distinctly to declare, in answt.T to that part of Mr. I^iv-
ingston's note in which he expresses, for the lirst time, the wish of the
American Ciovernment to connect with the discussion of the boundary
question tliat of the navigation of the river St. John, that it will be impos-
sible for his Majesty to admit the prmciple upon which it is attemjited to
treat these two questions as necessarily connected with each other. What-
ever might be the eventual decision of his Majesty upon the latter ques-
tion, if treated separately, and whatever may be his Majesty's disposition
to promote the harmony so hap})ily subsisting between the two countries,
by any arrangements which might tend to the convenience of the citizens
of the United States, without being prejudicial to the essential interests of
his own subjects, his Majesty cannot admit any claim of right on the part
of the citizens of Maine to the navigation of the St. John, nor can he
consider a negotiation on that point as necessarily growing out of the
question of boundary.

His Majesty cannot, therefore, consent to embarrass the negotiation
respecting the boundary, by mixing up with it a discussion respecting the
navigation of the river St. John, as an integral part of the same question.

The undersigned has the honor to offer to Mr. Livingston the assurance
of his most distinguished consideration.

CHAS. R. VAUGHAN.

The Hon. Edward Livingston, <S|*c.



Mr. Livingston to Sir Charles R. Vaughan.
Department of State,

Washington, April 30, 1833.
The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has had the
honor to receive from the right honorable Sir Charles R. Vaughan, his
Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary, his
note of the 14th instant, communicating the substance of the instructions
given by his Britannic Majesty's Government in relation to the disputed
question of the boundary between the United States and the British Prov-
ince of New Brunswick, and has laid the same before the President; who
has directed the undersigned to say that he sees with great pleasure that
the British Government concurs with that of the United States in the po-
sition that his Netherland Majesty had not decided the question submitted
to him, since, by Sir Charles R. Vaughan's note, it is acknowledged "that
the arbitrator, furnished by each claimant with every fact and argument
that had been adduced on either side of the question, had declared the im-
possibility of tracing, in conformity with the description contained in the
treaty of 1783," the boundary line in question ; and as the determination
of that hue, according to the treaty of 1783, was the only question sub-
mitted to the august arbitrator, and he having declared that he found it
impossible to trace it in conformity with the treaty, it follows that the ina-
bility to decide the point submitted to him leaves the high parties to the
submission precisely in the situation in which they were prioi to the se-



202 [ Senate Doc. No. 414. ]

leotioii of his Netherland Majesty to be the arbitrator between them: that
is to siiy, they iire thrown back to the convention of tlic 2.9th of Septem-

By that convention it was agreed to snbmit the question wliich was the
U^ue boundary, according to tlie treaty of 1783, to tlie decision of an arbi-
trator to be chosen between them. The arbitrator selected having de-
clared himself unable to ])erform the trust, it is as if none had been selected ;
and it would seem as if the parties to the submission were bound by their
contract to select another. But this would be useless, if the position as-
sumed by the Government of his Britannic Majesty be correct, that " it
would })e utterly hopeless, at tliis time of day, to attempt to fmd out, by
means of a new negotiation, an assumed line of boundary, which succes-
sive negotiations, and which commissioners employed on the spot, have,
during so many years, failed to discover." The American Government,
however, while they acknowledge that the task is not without its difficul-
ties, do not consider its execution as hopeless. They still trust that a
negotiation, opened and conducted in a spirit of frankness, and Avith a
sincere desire to put an end to one of the few questions which divide two
nations whose mutual interest it will always be to cultivate the relations
of amity and a cordial good understanding with each other, may, contrary
to the anticipations of his Britannic Majesty's Government, yet have a
happy result. But if this should unfortunately fail, other means, still un-
tried, remain. It was, perhaps, natural to suppose that negotiators of the
two Powers, coming to the discussion with honest prejudices,each in favor
of the construction adopted by his own nation, on a matter of great import
to l)oth, should separate without coming to a decision. The same obser-
vation may apply to commissioners, citizens or subjects of the contending
parties, not having an impartial umpire to decide between them ; and, al-
though the selection of a sovereign arbiter would seem to have avoided
these difficulties, yet this advantage may have been more than coun-
tervailed by the want of local knowledge. All the disadvantages of these
modes of settlement, heretofore adopted, might, as it appears to the Ameri-
can Goverimient, be avoided by appointing a new commission, consisting
of an eipial number of commissioners, with an umpire selected by some
friendly sovereign from among the most skilful men in Europe, to decide
on all points in which they disagree ; or, by a commission entirely com-
posed of such men, so selected, to be attended, in the survey and view of
the country, by agents appointed by the parties. Impartiality, local
knowledge, and high professional skill, would thus be employed, which,
tliounh heretofore separately called into the service, have never before
been rom])in('d for the solution of the question. This is one mode; and
pt^rhaps rjthcrs might occur in tlie coiu'se of the discussimi, should the ne-
gotiators fail in agreeing on the true boundary. An opinion, iiowever, is
entertained, and has been hereinbefore expressed, that a view of the sub-
ject, not l)itherto taken, might lead to another and more favorable result.

A free disclosure of this view might, according to the dictates of ordi-
nary diplomacy, witii more pro])riety, perhaps, be deferred until those of
Ins Jiritannic Majesty's Government should be more fully known, or at
hMst initil that Government h;id eonseuted to ojien a negotiation lor de-
Uinnhuu'j, the boundary; but tiu; ]»l;un dealing with which the President
d«;sires this and all his other eonimunieations with foreign Governments to
be conducted, has induced a development of the principle for the consid-
eration of his Majesty's Government.



f Senate Uoc No. 414. J



203



Boundaries of tracts and countries wlu-re tlio region through which
the hue is to pass is unexplored, are frequently designated by natural ob-
jects, the precise situation of which is not known, but which are supposed
to be in the direction of a particular point of the compass. Where the
natural object is found in the designated direction, no (juestion can arise.
Where the course will not touch the natural boundary, the rule univer-
sally adopted is, not to consider the boundary as one impossible to be
traced, but to preserve the natural boundary, and to reach it by tlie nearest
direct course. Thus, if, after more accin-ate surveys shall have been made,
it should be found that the north course, from the head of the St. Ooix,
should not reach the highlands which answer the description of those
designated in the treaty of 1783, then a direct line from the head of the
St. Croix, whatever may be its direction, to such highlands, ought to be
adopted, and the line would still be conformable .to the treaty. As this
principle does not seem, hitherto, to have been adopted, it appears to the
Government of the United States to offer to the commissioners who may
be appointed the means of an amicable adjustment.

When the note of the undersigned to Mr. Bankhead, of July last, was
written, reasonable hopes were entertained that the arrangement spoken
of in that note, by which the Government of the United States might be
enabled to treat for a more convenient boundary, would, ere this, have
taken place. The anticipations then entertained have not, as yet, been
realized; and the Government of the United States can only, in the present
state of things, treat on the basis of the establishment of the boundary
presented by the treaty.

As the suggestion in relation to the navigation of the St. John's was
introduced only in view of its forming a part of the system of compen-
sations in the negotiation for a more convenient boundary, if that of the
treaty of 1783 should be abandoned, it is not now insisted on.

In conclusion, the President has remarked, with sincere pleasure, in
Sir Charles Vaughan's note, the expression of a desire on the part of his
Government to c^iltivate and increase the harmony and good understand-
ing which so happily subsists between* the two countries, and to put an
end to all questions that may in the least degree interrupt it — a disposition
which is warmly reciprocated by the President.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to offer to Sir Charles
R. Vaughan the expression of his highest consideration.

EDW. LIVINGSTON.

The Riglit Hon. Sir Charles R. Vaughan,

Envoy Extraordinary and Minister

Plenipotentiary of his Britannic Majesty.



Sir Charles R. Vaughan to Mr. Livingston.

Washington, May 11, IS 33.

The undersigned, his Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, has the honor to acknowledge the receipt, on
the 6th instant, of the note of the Secretary of State of the United States,
dated the 30th April, in answer to the communication made by the un-
dersigned of the instructions which he lias received from his Govern-



204 I Senate Doc. No. 414. )

ment relative to the disputed boundary ; and he begs leave to make some
observations, bt'fbre he subinits it to the consideration of the British Gov-
ernnjeut.

With reirard to the entire concurrence of his Majesty's Government
Willi that of the United States, <' in the position that his Netlierland
Majesty has not decided tiie question submitted to him, because he had
declared it impossible to trace the boundary according to the treaty of
17S3." Though both Governments must agree in the impossibility of
tracing a boundary line by the defective description of it in that treaty,
the two Governments took very dilferent views of the nature of the obli-
gations which they had incurred in common under the convention of
arbitration. Great Britain felt bound to accept the award of the arbitra-
tor, who suggested a line of boundary, having been unable to trace that
described in the treaty, notwithstanding that the acceptance would cause
a great sacrifice of territory hitherto considered as belonging to the British
Crown. According to the note of Mr. Livingston, of the slst July, 1832,
the Senate of the United States "determined not to consider the decision



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of StateMaine boundary--Mr. Greely, &c. .. → online text (page 26 of 56)