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which heretofore have not been tried, to overcome this difllculty, and, dis-
carding the due north line, should that become necessary, to seek for, and
find, in the first place, the "highlands which divide those rivers that empty
themselves into the river St. Lawrence from those which fall into the At-
lantic ocean;" and when these shall be found in any part of the disputed
territory, north or south of the St. John's river, to draw a line from the



212 [ Hcnatc Doc. No. 4 i 4. J

monuinoiit to the said highlands, and to lliat point tliereof which shall be
iieire.st to a due north line from the monument. Mr. Livin£,^ston, in his
note of the 2Sili May, has already provided against any deviation east-
Avard from the direct north line from the St. Croix.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to ofler to Sir Charles
K ^'aughan the assurance of his highest consideration.

LOUIS McLANE.



Sh' Charks R. J'auL^/um to Mr. Mc Lane.



'o'



Washingtox, Jujie 6, 1S33.

The undersigned, his Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, hastens to acknowledge the receipt of the note
of the Secretary of State of tlic United States, allbrding him the further ex-
])lanation which he thought it his duty to require of the proposition made
by Mr. Livingston for settling the bomidary.

The undersigned begs leave to express his satisfaction upon learning
that tlie President directed an immediate answer to be given to his inqui-
ries, and an assurance that no liraitations are to be put upon the course of
the proposed commission, which is to endeavor to lind highlands separa-
ting waters as described in the treaty of 1783, in any part of the disputed
territory, north or south of the St. John's.

The undersigned will lose no time in submitting the proposition made
by the Government of the United States to his Majesty's Government, as
the President, it appears from Mr. McLane's note, is not authorized, after
the recent proceedings in the Senate, to agree upon a conventional line of
boundary, without the consent of the State of Maine, which it is not prob-
able will be given while there remains a reasonable prospect of discover-
ing the line of the fteaty of 1783.

The undersigned has the honor to renew to IMr. INIcLanc the assurance
of his highest consideration.

CHAS. R. VAUGHAN.

Hon. Louis McLane, Secretary of State.



Sir Charles JR. J^aughan to Mr. McLane.

Washington, Febriiar}/ 10, 183-t,

The midersigned, his Britaimic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister ])lenipotcntiary, has the honor to submit, by direction of his Gov-
cnmieiit, the following observations to the Secretary of State of the Uni-
ted States, on the subject of tliat constitutional didiculty by which the
American Govcrment, according to a late correspondence with Mr. Liv-
ingston, is j)revented iVom arcjuiescing in the arrangement recounnendcd
by the King of the NethcrhuKJs fm- the Anal .'^etl lenient of the boundary in
the neighborhood of the river St. John.

The constitutional diinculty hi t|Ucstion is staled to be the want of au-
thority in the Governmciut to cede territory belonging to nwy one of the
States of lh(! Union ; and it arises, on the present occasion, m consequence
of an objection advanced by the State of Maine.



f Senate Doc. No. 414. ] 213

The Government of Maine assumes tliat the treaty of 17S3 has given
to that State a ])er{ect title to all the territory lyint^ to the southward of the
highlands north of the St. John's, and to the westward of the meridian of
the head of the St, Croix. Tlie State of Maine can have no other title to
this territory than that which she derives from the treaty ; and if the
treaty is found to have left tliat title imperfoct, tho assumption that tlie
territory claimed under it is the territory of iMaine falls to the ground ;
and that assumption is the basis of the constitutional objection by which
the American Government conceives itself fettered.

The arbiter has certainly failed to establish a boundary, such as is de-
scribed by the treaty, for the whole of the interval between the source of
the St. Croix and those highlands which divide the waters of the Chau-
diere from those of the Kennebec ; but he has at least determined what is
not that boundary. He has decided, for instance, in opposition to the
claim of Great Britain, that the boundary to be sought for does not lie
along the highlands to the south of the St. John's ; but he has equally de-
cided that it is not along the highlands claimed by America to the north
of the St. John's. For, by declaring that the rivers St, John and Risti-
gouche arc not Atlantic rivers, within the meaning of the treaty, and fur-
ther, that the treaty requires an immediate division of rivers by the high-
lands, and is not satisfied by an immediate division in one direction and
a mediate division in the other, he has decided that neither the highlands
claimed by Great Britain, nor those which are claimed by America, fulfil
both of the necessary conditions. The arbiter's opinion is, that each of
those ranges of highlands fulfils one of those conditions and fails to fulfil
the other ; that it is geographically impossible that there should exist
highlands east of the sources of the St, John's, which can fulfil both of
them together ; and, consequently, that the territory which lies between
the highlands claimed by Great Britain and those claimed by the United
States, respectively, is not the absolute property of eitlier party, but is, in
some proportion or other to be hereafter determined, the property of
both ;' that the territory, if not entirely British, is also not entirely Ameri-
can, and therefore is not such territory as the American Government can
be precluded by the constitution from relinquishing.

The only part of the territory in question to which the Government of
the United States cannot constitutionally give up its claim, is that part
which belongs of right to Maine, according to the treaty of 1783. But
the arbiter has clearly decided that the whole of the disputed territory
does not so belong to the State of Maine ; and finding it impossible to de-
termine how much of it is so belonging to Maine, he recommends a com-
promise, by which the contending parties should settle their difterences.

The undersigned has the honor to renew to JMr. McLane the assurance
of his most distinguished consideration.

CHAS. R. VAUGHAN.

The Hon. Louis McLane, Secretary of State.



Sir Charles R. Vang/ian to Mr. McLane.

Washington-, February 10, 1S34.

His Britannic Majesty's Government having given the most attentive
and deliberate consideration to the several communications received from



214 [ Senate Doc. No. 4l4. ]

the Government of the United States upon tlie important subject of the
Nortlieastcrn boundary, the undersigned has received his Majesty's com-
mands to make the following connnunication to the American Govern-
ment in reply.

His Majesty's Government have great ])leasure in acknowledging the
friendly spirit which pervades the commnuications of the Government of
the United States on this subject. Desirous as his Mojcsty's Government
are to conilrm and perpetuate the good understanding which so happily
subsists between the two countries, they naturally feel anxious to bring
to an amicable adjustment a question which has so long remained unset-
tled, and they cannot but liatter themselves that, through a conciliatory
disposition on both sides, the remaining difficulties might be overcome.

His Majesty's Government trust that they gave a proof of this disposi-
tion on their part, when they intimated to tlie Government of the United
States that not only were they prepared to abide, as they consider both
parties bound to do, by the decisions of the King of the Netherlands upon
such of the pohits rel'erred to him upon which he has pronounced a de-
cision, but that they were willing to agree to the compromise which that
sovereign has recommended, upon the single point upon which he found
it impossible to make a decision strictly conformable with the terms of the
treaty.

The Govermnent of the United States has not hitherto concuiTed with
that of his Majesty in this respect ; but, as such a course of proceeding on
the part of the two Governments would lead to the speediest and easiest
settlement, it is the wish of his Majesty's Government to draw the atten-
tion of the American cabinet to some considerations on this subject, before
they advert to the new proposition made to the undersigned by Mr. Liv-
ingston.

It is manifest that nothing but a sincere spirit of conciliation could in-
duce his Majesty's Government to agree to the adoption of the arrangement
recommended by the King of the Netherlands, because the boundary which
he proposes to draw between the two parties would assign to the United
States more than three-fifths of that disputed territory; to the whole of
which, according to the terms of the award itself, the title of the United
Slates is defective in the same degree as that of Great Britain.

But it seems important, in the first place., to consider what the reference
was, wliich the two })arties agreed to make to the King of tlie Netherlands,
and how far that sovereign lias determined the matters which were sub-
mitted for his decision.

Now, that which the two Governments bound themselves to do by the
convention of the 29th September, 1S27, was, to submit to an arbiter cer-
tain " points of difl"erence which had arisc^n in the settlement of the boundary
between tlie lirilish and American dominions," and to abide by his de-
cision on th(ise j)oints of didcrence ; and they subse(juently agreed to name
tlie King of the N( therlands as their arbiter. The arbiter, then, was called
upon to determine certain questions; and, if it should appear that he has
determined the greater part of the points submitted to him, his decisions on
those points cannot be rendered invalid by the mere circumstance that he
declares that one remnininc: jioint cannot be decided in any manner that
shall be in strict confiarmity with the words of the treaty of 178.'^ and that
lie eonsecpieiitly recommends to the two ])arties a compromise on that
particular point.



[ Senate Doc. No. 4l4. J 215

The main points rofen-ed to tlie King of the Netherlands wore the three
following :

First. Which is the spot designated in tin; treaties as the northwest
angle of Nova Scotia; and which are the highlands dividing tiie rivers
that empty themselves into the river St. Lawrence from those falling into
the Atlantic ocean, along which highlands is to \n) drawn the line of
honndary from that angle to the northwest head of the Connecticut river?

Secondly. Which is the northwest head of the Comiecticut river?

Thirdly. Which is the houndary to be traced from the river Connecticut,
along the parallel of the 45th degrc^e of north latitude, to the river St. Law-
rence, called in the treaties Iroquois, or Cataraquy?

Now, without adverting for the present to the opinion of the arbiter on
the iirst point, the undersigned has to remark that, on the second point,
he has given a positive decision, strictly confined within the limits of the
reference, and to which no objection, even of a technical nature, can by
possibility be m'ged.

On the third point, also, the arbiter has given a positive decision ; and
he has declared that the 45th degree of latitude should be determined by
observation. He has, indeed, added to this decision a recommendation
that Rouse's point, and a surrounding circle, with a radius of one kilometre,
shall belong to the United States, whether Rouse's point be or be not in-
cluded within the territory of the United States, according to the boundary
to be drawn by astronomical observation ; and his Majesty's Government,
ill subscribing to the decision of the arbiter on this point, which, like his
decision on the second, they consider to be binding on both parties, declares
itself willing to accede to tlie above-stated recommendation.

It appears, then, that, upon two points out of the three, the arbiter has
made a plain and positive decision.

Upon the remaining point he has declared that it is impossible to find
a spot, or to trace a line, which shall fulfil all the conditions required by
the words of the treaty, for the northwest angle of Nova Scotia, and for
the highlands along which the boundary is from that angle to be drawn;
and he, consequently, recommends to the two parties a line of boundary
which he considers conformable with the spirit of the treaty, and to ap-
proach the most nearly to the probable intention of its framers; and this
line the British Government is still willing to adopt. But though the
arbiter has declared that it is not possible to find a northwest angle for
Nova Scotia, nor a separating range of highlands, which shall be precisely
conformable with the words of the treaty, yet, in the course of his reason-
ing upon this point, he has decided several questions connected with it,
npon which the two parties had entertained ditfcrent views ; and it is the
opinion of his Majesty's Government that the decisions of the arbiter upon
these subordinate questions ought to be acquiesced in by the two Govern-
ments. They think that the spirit of the agreement to make the reference
requires that the two parties should so acquiesce; and they are, moreover,
of opinion that, by doing so, the two Governments would clear away
several of the remaining points of difference, and materially facilitate an
amicable adjustment of the rest.

1st. The arbiter expresses his opinion that the term "highlands" may
properly be applied not only to a hilly and elevated country, but to a tract
of land which, without being hilly, divides waters flowing in different
directions; and, consequently, according to this opinion, the highlands to



216 [ Senate Doc. No. 4 I I. J

be sought for are not necessarily a range of mountains, but ratlier the
summit-level of the country.

2d. The arbiter expresses his opinion that an inquiry as to what were
the ancit'iit boundaries of the North American Provinces, can be of no
use for the present purpose; becausi' those boundaries were not maintain-
ed by the treaty of 17S3, and had, in truth, never been distinctly ascer-
tained and laid down.

3d. The arbiter declares that the northwest angle of Nova Scotia,
mentioned in the treaty of 17S3, is not a point which was then laiown
and ascertained : that it is not an ansle which is created by the intersec-
tion of any lines of boundary at that time acknowledged as existing, but that
it is an angle still to be found, and to be created by the intersection of
new lines, which are hereafter to be drawn in pursuance of the stipula-
tions of the treaty ; and further, that the nature of the country eastward
of the said angle alibrds no argument for laying that angle down in one
place rather than in another.

4th. He states that no just argimient can be deduced for the settlement
of this question from the exercise of the rights of sovereignty over the
fief of jMadawaska and over the Madawaska settlement.

5th. lie declares that the highlands contemplated in the treaty should
divide immediately, and not mediately, rivers flowing into the St. Law-
rence and rivers llowing into the Atlantic ; and that the word "divide"
requires contiguity of the things to be divided.

b'th. He declares that rivers falling into the bay of Chaleur and the
bay of Fundy cannot be considered, according to the meaning of the
treaty, as rivers flowing into the Atlantic ; and, specifically, that the
rivers St. John and Ristigouche cannot be looked upon as answering to
the latter description.

7th. He declares that neither the line of boundary claimed by Great
Britain, nor that claimed by the United States, can be adjudged as the
true liiKN uifliout departing from the principles of equity and justice as
between the two parties.

Now, whether the two parties adopt the mode of settlement recom-
mended by the arbiter, and agree to divide between them, in some pro-
portion or other, the disputed territory ; or whetlier they shall still make
another attempt to trace a boimdary, in strict conformity with the words
of the treaty; in either case it appears to his Majesty's Government that
it would be necessary to adopt these seven decisions of the arbiter as a
ground-work for further proceedings ; and it seems that no satisfactory or
useful result coidd be obtained from the local survey proposed by the
Anu-rican Government, until the two ])arties are agreed upon these seven
points.

Jiiit, wiili respect to the ])ro]iositi()n made by the Amevican Govern-
ment, the first question which ])rcsents itself is, whether there is any rea-
sonable jirobability that a fresh local survey, to be made in the manner
suggested, would aflbrd a solution of the remaining problem.

The treaty rccpiires tliat highlands should be found dividinir rivers
wliich fall into the St. Lawrence from rivers which fall into the Atlantic
ocean ; and that those highlands should be found in a direction due north
from a spot which has already been determined ; namely, the source of
tiie St. Ooix.

Now, every thing which is known of the geography of the country



[ Senate Dor. No. 4l4. J 217



tends to show that no such highlands can he found in tliat particular me-
ridian ; and the American Government, almost admilting that fact, sug-
gests that the required highlands should he sought for in a northwesterly
direction from the ascertained spot. No doubt can exist that, by going
f;u' enough to the westward, such liighlands as those required by the Ireaty
could be found ; because it is well known that the high ground in the
neighborhood of the source of the St. John's divides the Kennebec, which
falls into the Atlantic, from the Chaudiere, which falls into the river St.
Lawrence.

But the difficulty which is said to prevent the Government' of the
United States from acquiescing in the recommendation of the King of the
Netherlands, is, that the Federal Government has no authority to agree to
any other line of boundary than that which is described by the treaty which
constituted the United States ; at least not to any other line which might
imply a cession of any part of the territory to which the treaty, as hitherto
interpreted by the United States, may appear to entitle one of the com-
ponent States of the Union.

But if tliis objection is insurmountable, as against the line recommend-
ed by the King of the Netherlands, would it not be equally fatal to that
suggested by Mr. Livingston ? Because, if the boundary were formed by a
line drawn from the head of the St. Croix to highlands found to the west-
ward of the meridian of that spot, that boundary would not be the bounda-
ry of the treaty ; seeing that the treaty requires the i)ounddry to be run
along the meridian of the head of the St. Croix ; and that the State of
Maine might object to any deviation from the line of die treaty in a west-
erly direction, as justly as it could to any deviation from that line in a
southerly direction. Nay, it might object with more appearance of rea-
son to a westerly departure from a real meridian which is distinctly
specified in the treaty, than to a departure southward from an imaginary
line which is only described in the treaty, and the finding of which is a
thing that has not yet been accomplished.

The present state of the case, therefore, seems to be this: that to carry
the treaty strictly and literally into execution, is physically and geographi-
cally impossible ; and that there exist constitutional difficulties in Ameri-
ca, which have not yet been surmounted, which prevent the Government
of the United States from agreeing to a compromise.

Upon a full view of this matter, then, his Majesty's Government think
that, in the first place, and previously to any further negotiation, they
are entitled to claim from the Government of the United States an ac-
quiescence in the decisions pronomiced by the arbiter upon all those
points which he has decided ; and in the next place, that, as a preliminary
to any attempt (in which his Majesty's Government would gladly con-
cur) to settle the remaining point by negotiation, they ought to be satisfied
that the Government with which they will have to treat is possessed of
the powers necessary for carrying into efl'ect any arrangement upon
which the two parties might agree.

The undersigned has the honor to rencAV to Mr. McLane the assurance
of his most distincruished consideration.

CHAS. R. VAUGHAN.

Hon. Louis INIcLane, ^'C.



2 IS [ Senate Doc. No. 414. |

Mr. McLane to Sir Charles li. Vaiighan.

Department of State,

Washington, March 11, IS 34.

The undersigned, Secretary of State of the United States, has the honor
to acknowledge the receipt of the note of Sir Charles R. Vaughan, envoy
extraordinary and minister ])lenii)otentiary of his Britannic Majesty, of
the 10th ullinio, connnunicating the views entertained by his Majesty's
Government of the proposition submitted by direction of the President, in
a letter- from Mr. Livingston of the 30th of April last, for the settlement
of the question respecting the Northeast boundary.

The undersigned has submitted Sir Charles R. Vanghan's note to the
President, and lias received his directions to make the present reply.

The President ])crceives with pleasure a spirit on the part of his
Majesty's Government corresponding v/ith that with which he is actua-
ted, in his endeavors finally to settle a subject so important to the amica-
ble relations between the two countries ; and, although he cannot concur
in all the views which Sir Charles R. Vaughan has been commanded to
present, he entertains the hope that the spirit in which they have been
j)resented may yet recommend the acceptance of the proposition author-
ized by the President, in relation to what is understood to be the chief
dilHculty in ascertaining the true boundary according to the treaty of 17S3.

In his note of the 10th instant, Sir Charles R. Vaughan in substance
remarks, that, by the convention of the 29tli September, 1S27, the two
Governments bound themselves to submit to an arbiter certain points of
difference which had arisen in the settlement of the boundary between
the British and American dominions; that the arbiter Avas thus called on
to determine certain questions, and that if he has determined the greater
part of the points submitted to him, his decision on those points ought
not to be disregarded merely because he declares that one remaining
point cannot be decided in any manner in conformity with the words of
the treaty of 1783, and therefore recommends to the two parties a com-
promise on tliat particular point. Sir Charles R. Vaughan also remarks
that the main pohits referred to the arbiter Avere the three following:

1. Which is the spot designated in tjie treaties as the northwest angle
of Nova Scotia ; and which are the highlands dividing the rivers that
empty themselves into the river St. I^awrence from those fallinic into the
Atlantic ocean, along which highlands is to be drawn the line of bound-
ary to the northwest head of the Connecticut river ?

2. Which is the northwest head of the Connecticut river?

3. \Vhich is tlui boundary to be traced from the river Connecticut,
along the ])arallel of the tbrty-filth degree of north latitude, to the riA'er
Iroquois, or Cataracpiy, (St. J^awrence,) as intended by the treaty of 17S3 ?

Sir Charles R, Vaughan likewise supposes that, upon the second and
third of these jjoints, the arbiter has given a decision to which no objec-
tion can be urged. Sir Charles R. Vaughan also proceeds to state that,
although the arbiter has declared that it is im])ossible to find a spot or to
trace a line which shall fulfil all the conditions required by the words of
tlic treaty, for the northwest angle of Nova Scoiia, and for the highlands
along which the boundary is to be drawn; yet that, in the course of his
reasoning upon this point, h<^ has d<ci(l(>d several (|uestions. Iieing seven
in number, connected with it, upon which tlic two parties had entertained
ditferent oninions.



[ Senate Doc. No. 4l4. J 2i9

Sir Charles R. Vaughaii furtlicr states tluit it is the opinion of liis
Majesty's Government that the decisions of the arbiter upon the second
and third main points referred, and also upon the subordinate questions
as to which he expresses an opinion hi his reasoning upon the first main
point, ought to be aecpiiesced in by the two Governments ; and that, in
any future attem))t to trace a boundary in strict conformity with the words



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of StateMaine boundary--Mr. Greely, &c. .. → online text (page 28 of 56)