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ous acts of asserted authority over the disputed territory ; which, if un-
opposed by countervailing acts, might have been relied on, at some fu-
ture day, as strengthening the British and weakening the American claim.
The cause having been withdrawn, its consequence will no longer exist ;
and you will accordingly observe that I have, by the direction of the
President, inculcated a spirit of forbearance and moderation on our side,
which we hope will be hereafter practised on yours. Both (Governments
should derive, from the existence of those mutual complaints, a new pio-
tive for guarding, in future, against their recurrence, which can be effect-
ually done only by a settlement oi the question of boundary, out of which
they arise.

I pray you to accept assurances of my distinguished consideration.

Right Hon. C. R. Vaughan,

Envoy Extraordinary and Jlinister

Plenipotentiary from Great Britain.

Worcester, Massachusetts,

Deoember 6, 1825.
Sir : I have the honor to reply to your note of the 25th ultimo, that I
have no other information of the conduct of the persons referred to in the
communications made to you by the British minister, than is contained in

272 I House Doc. No. 90. ]

an oflicial report to me by Georiie W. Cottiti, Esquire, land agent of this
Coniinonwealtl), a copy ol' whidi I had the honor, a lew days since, to
transmit to the President of the United States. For several years past
depredations of valuable timber, frojn the unsettled lands belonging to
Massachusetts and Maine, within tlie jurisdictional limits of the latter
State, have been committed, to a ruinttus extent, partly by persons claim-
ing to act under permits issued from the surveyor general's office of the
PiDvince of New Brunswick, and partly by lawless individuals, without
pretence of authority ; but who, from their transient residence and the
facility of their disguises, could easily elude detection and lesponsibility.
To ascertain the precise character of the mischiefs thus perpetrated, and
how far these acts of wrong had been sanctioned by officers of Govern-
ment in the neigf.boiing Province, and, as far- as possible, by public no-
tice and a manifest assertion of tlie right which this Commonwealth and
the State of Maine have to the property, to protect the lands from further
injury, the Legislature of the Commonwealth, by resolves of the 16th of
February and the llth of June last, directed the land agent, in conjunc-
tion with the land agent of Maine, " forthwith to take effectual meas-
ures to ascertain the extent of the depredations Cv)mmitted on the lands
belonging to this Commonwealth a«d tlie State of Maine, by whom the
same have been committed, and under'what authority, if any, such depre-
dations have been made, and all other facts necessary to bring the offend-
ers Injustice ; also, to make and execute good and sufficient deeds, con-
veying to the settlers on the undivided public lands on the St. John's and
Madawaska rivers, in actual possession as aforesaid, their heirs or as-
signs, one hundred acres each of the land b}- tl^em possessed, to include
their improvements, on their paying to said agents, for the use of the
Commonwealth, five dollars each, und the expense of sur veying the same ;
and also to sell the timber on such of the undivided public lands as lie
contiguous to and near- to the waters of the river St. John's, in all cases
where such sale will, in the opinion of the land agent, promote the in-
terests of this Commonwealth."

No other instructiorts than are contained in the resolves before referred
to have been given to the agent of this Commonv.ealth ; and unless he
has transcended his authority, in which he could not be justified, but
which, from his known character for intelligence and discretion, 1 should
be reluctant to believe, the British Government can have no just cause of
corrrplaint against his proceedings. Indeed, the object of the Legislature
of Massachusetts was, in a great degree, precautionary. AVhile persons,
assuming to act under' permits obtained from officers of his ^Iajesly's
Provincial Government, were justifying the destruction and appropriation
to their own use of our valuable timber, and under deeds from like au-
thority were claiming title to the soil itself, it was fit to adrrronish them of
their error, and at the same time to seek for evidence by which a re-
monstrance against these injuries might be effectually addressed to the
parent Government. It was justifialjle for us still further, under these
circumstances, by the execution of deeds and the sale of timber on our
part, to assert a possessory right to property of which we claim to have
an incontrovertible legal title. Nothing could be more remote from the
intention of the Legislature of Massachusetts than to authorize acts of
aggression upon the territory or subjects of his Majesty's Province, or

[ House Doc. No. 90. ] 273

to give just cause of offence to liis Government ; and I trust that, upon
better information of the character of tlie measures of our agents, they
will cease to be regarded by that Government in an unfriendly light.

Permit me, sir, to urge the occurrence of the present misunderstanding
as an additional motive for pressing to obtain a speedy establishment of
the true line of division between the Biitish Piovinces and the United
States, upon our northeastern boundaiy. Tiie delay which has already
taken place in the settlement of this question has been of the most serious
prejudice to the interest of the States of Massachusetts and Maine ; for
whatever may be their rights of property, the persislance of the British
Government to claim the territory to an undefined extent cannot but dis-
courage the purchase and settlement of the lands by men who would
value most to retain the character and privileges of American citizens.

I beg to avail myself of this opportunity to offer the assurances of my
entire esteem and most respectful consideration.


To the Hon. Henry Clay,

Secretary of State of the United States.

Department of State,

Washington^ December 15, 1825.

Sir : I have the honor, by the direction of the President, to acknowl-
edge the receipt of your letter, addressed to him on the 26th ultimo,
transmitting a copy of the report of the land agent of the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts, and to assure you of the anxious desire of the Govern-
ment of the United States to make a satisfactory arrangement with that
.of Great Biitain, of our northeastern boundary. No time will be un-
necessaiily lost in bringing the negotiation to a final conclusion. In the
mean time, it is desirable that each party, governed by a spirit of mode-
ration, should refrain from the adoption of any measures which may tend
to give just inquietude to the other. It would, peihaps, be best for nei-
ther to do any act which would change the state of the question, as it
existed when the commission under the treaty of Ghent was constituted.
If one attempt to strengthen his pretensions by the exercise of acts of
sovereignty or ownership over parts of the disputed territory, which
were then waste and uninhabited, the other will resort to the same ex-
pedient, and the collisions which would inevitably follow would place
both parties in a state less propitious to an amicable settlement of the
difference. It was under this view of the propriety of mutual forbear-
ance, that, when, in the course of last spring, statements were received
at this Department of depredations committed, under color of British
authority, within the limits of the State of Maine, as claimed by us, I
addressed a note to the British charge d'affaires near this Government,
remonstrating against those depredations. It appears from the above
report of your commissioner, and from other sources of information, that
our remonstrance has had the desired effect ; that the (ioveincr of the
adjoining British Province has been directed by proper authority to d s-
continue granting licenses to cut timber ; and that lie has accordingly dis-

274 [ House Doc. No. 9o. J

continued. The President wishes that this conciliatory course on the
part of Cicat Britain should be reciprocated by us; and 1 am, therefore,
directed bv him respectfully to suggest to your excellency the propriety
of its being observed I)y the Government of Massachusetts.

I seize the occasion to renew to your excellency assurances of my
respectful consideration.

His Excellency Levi Lincoln,

Governor of Massachusetts.

Executive Department of Massachusetts,

Worcester, Massachusetts, December 22, 1825.

Sir : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of
the loth instant. My reply, under date of the 6th of December, to your
former communication, has, I trust, satisfactorily explained the occasion
and character of tlic measures which had been aulhoiized by the Gov-
ernment of Massachusetts for the protection of the property of this Com-
monwealth within the limits ol the State of Maine. The early reas-
s'^mbling of the Legislature will enable me to bring the subject again
very immediately under their consideration. In the mean time, you
A\ ill please to assure the President that no steps aie in contemplation
which can, in any degree, tend to produce further excitement on the
part of the British in the neighborhood of the lands, or to embarrass the
Government of the United States in their endeavors to obtain a satisfac-
tory arrangement with that of Great Britain in the establishment of the
true line of our northeastern boundary.

It is gratifying to know that this subject, of such peculiar importance
to the interests of this Commonwealth and the State of Maine, has already
received so much of attention from the National Executive.

I have the honor to be, sir, with sentiments of most respectful con-
sideration, your obedient servant,


To the Hon. Henry Clay,

Secretary of Slate of the United States.

Mr. Clay to Mr. Vaughan.

Department of State,

Washington, June 23, 1826.

The Secretary of State presents his respects to Mr. Vaughan, and he
has the honor to transmit to him, herewith, a copy of a letter from the
Governor of the State of Massachusetts to the President of the United
States, communicating a lesolution of the Legislature of that State, in
regard to the boundary line l)etween the Province of New Brunswick
and the territories of the United States, in which Mr. Vaughan will

[ House Doc. ^o. 90. J 275

recognise a strong proof of the disposition of that State to contribute to
the harmony and friendly relations which are happily now subsisting
betAveen Great Britain and the United States.

Executive Department of Massachusetts,

Boston, June 20, 1826.

Sir : The accompanying resolve of the Legislature of this Comraon-
"vvealtb, which I hasten to communicate for your notice, will apprize you
of the respectful regard which has been paid to the suggestions of the Ex-
ecutive of the United Slates, upon the subject to which it refers.

With renewed assurances of the most entire respect and faithful con-

Your obedient servant,

To his Excellency the President

of the United States.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts,

June 19, 1826.

The Committee of both Houses on Public Lands have had the subject
of eastern lands under consideration, and ask leave to make the follow-
ing report, which is respectfully submitted.

Per order: JONAS SIBLEY, Chairman.

From the friendly disposition of late manifested by the Government of
Great Britain, in rela-tion to the subject of the boundary line between
the United States and the Province of New Brunswick, and from an ex-
pectation that an early adjustment will take place,

Resolved, That the operation of the provisions in the resolves of the
16th day of February and the 11th day of June, 1825, which authorize
the conveyance of the undivided lands on the St. John's and Madawas-
ka rivers to the settlers in actual possession, and the sales of timber on
such of the undivided public lands as lie contiguous to and near the
waters of the St. John's, be suspended until the further order of the
General Court.

In Senate, June 19, 1826. — Read and passed. Sent down for concur-

JOHN MILLS, President.

House oj Represejitatives, June 19, 1826. — Read and passed in con-

VVM. C. JAR VIS, Speaker.
A true copy.

Attest: EDWARD D. BANGS, Secretary.

276 I House Doc. No. 90. J

Mr. Vaughan to Mr. (lai).

Washington, January 16, 1827.

Sir : About the latter end of the year 1825, and about the beginning
of the last year, a correspondence took place between us relative to en-
croachments of persons calling themselves agents from the States of
Maine and Massachusetts, in the teriitory in dispute between his Majes-
ty's t;o\crnment and that of the United States, in consequence of the
unsettled state of the northeastern line of boundary under the treaty of

The representation which 1 had then the honor to make was promptly
answered by the Government of the United States. An inquiry into the
circumstances of the encroachments complained of took place, and a
spirit of forbearance and moderation was inculcated by the directions of
the President, which induced me to hope that 1 should not have occa-
sion to recur again to a representation of a similar nature.

I have received, however, a letter from Sir Howard Douglas, his lifa-
jesty's Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswisk, acquainting me with
some further proceedings of persons calling themselves land agents and
surveyors, acting under the authority of the Governments of the States
of Maine and .Massachusetts, in surveying and laying out townships in
the disj)uted territory in question.

The particular acts which have excited uneasiness in the Government
of New Biunswick are, the laying out of land into townships, and mark-
ing out roads, within a territory the assignment of which is not yet made
to either of the parties to the treaty of Ghent.

My former representation was met by you in so conciliatory a spirit,
that I am encouraged to hope that the intervention of the Government
of the United States will be effectually exerted to induce the Govern-
ments of the States of Maine and Massachusetts to abstain from measures
which can be construed into a premature exercise of authority in a dis-
puted territory, and which may lead to collision of a most disagreeable
natuie between the settlers in that teiritory.

1 think it advisable to make you acquainted, without delay, with the
coin|)laint which I have received from the Lieutenant Governoi" of New
Brunswick, ^\hom, I beg leave to assure you, cautiously abstains, on his
part, from exercising any authority in the disputed tcnitory which could
invite an incioachment as a measure of retaliation.

I have the honor to request that you will accept the assurances of my
distinguished consideration.


Tiie Hon. IIknuy Clay, &c.

Mr. Clay to Mr. Vavghan.

Dei'art.mknt of State,

Washington., January 18, 1827.
Sir : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the
IGth instant, stating, upon the representations of Sir Howard Douglas,
his Britannic Majesty's Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, that

[ Hou^c Doc. No. 90. ] 277

the agents and surveyors of (he States of Maine and Massachusetts are
proceeding to lay out townships and o|)en roads in the territory which is
mutually claimed by the Governments of the United States and Great
Britain, bordering on that Province, and lequcsting the interposition of
the Government of the United States to induce tiie States of Massachu-
setts and Maine to abstain from measures which would amount to a j)re-
mature exercise of authority in the disputed tenitory.

No information has reached this Department of the acts complained of
by Sir Howard Douglas, other than that which is contained in your note.
But, as the President's view's and wishes remain the same as were com-
municated to you in the correspondence to which you refer, I shall lose
no time, by his directions, in transmitting copies of your note to the Gov-
ernors of the States of Massachusetts and Maine, and requesting them,
respectively, to continue, until the question is settled, to practise that
system of forbearance and modeiation which it appears to the President
to be expedient for both Governments to observe.

I pray you to accept the assurance of my distinguished consideration.


Rt. Hon. C. R. Vaughan, E. E. and M. P. from G. B.

Mr. Clay to Mr. Vaughan.

Department of State,

Washington, September 14, 1827.

Sir : 1 have the honor to transmit to you, herewith, an extract from a
letter, under date the 3d instant, addressed by his excellency Enoch
Lincoln, Governor of the State of Maine, to me, to which I invite your
particular attention. It is alleged in that extract that, under the authori-
ty of the Government of New Brunswick, measures have been adopted,
and acts performed, within the territory respectively claimed by the
United States and Great Britain, inconsistent with that mutual forbear-
ance which it has been understood, in the correspondence on this sub-
ject which has passed between us, would be inculcated and practised on
both sides. Assuming the statements oi Governor Lincoln to be cor-
rect, as I presume they are, a confident reliance is placed in the Gov-
ernment of his Britannic Majesty to cause an immediate correction of
the irregular proceedings of which complaint is made.

I request you to accept assurances of my high consideration.


Rt. Hon. C. R. Vaughan, E. E. and M. P. from G. B.

Extract of a letter from Governor Lincoln to Mr. Clay, dated Septem-
ber 3, 1827.

Since I had the honor of addressing you on the subject of the north-
eastern boundary of this State, facts have been placed within my knowl-
edge, which, more imperatively than any other, urge me to solicit the

-278 [ House Doc. No. 90. ]

attention of tlic President to the situation in which we are placed. It is
now rendered evident that the representation made to you, and commu-
nicated in your letter of the 27th of March hist, that the British Govern-
ment has abstained from the performance of any new acts which might
be construed into an exercise of the rights of sovereignty or soil over
the disputed territory, was entirely incorrect. That representation, con-
nected with the recommendation of the President, has undoubtedly had
much inlluence with Maine in producing a forbearance which willprob-
ably he objected against her in comparison with the opposite course by
Great Britain, as containing an implied acknowledgment of the rightful-
ness of the jurisdiction which has been exercised for years by a foreign
Power, in the manner and to an extent nhich 1 beg leave now to ex-
hibit, as presented to me by credible testimony.

Along the St. John's river, following it up westwardly from the junc-
tion of the Madawaska, is a very nourishing settlement, containing a
considerable number of peaceably disposed and industrious inhabitants.
Amons these is a proportion of American emigrants, some of whom hold
their land under deeds from Massachusetts and Maine ; 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 suHerance, 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 them 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 vio-
lence and petty vexation of which they also complain. The other in-
habitants are uniformly treated as British subjects ; and new acts of ju-
risdiction, even to the requirement of n)ilitary duty, are as frequently
exercised as the ordinary operations of a municipal control require.

Mr. Vaughan to Mr. Clay.

Washington, September 17, 1827.

The undersigned, his Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary, has the honor to acknowledge the receipt of
Mr. Clay's note of the 14th instant, communicating a representation
naade to the Government of the United States by his oxcellency Enoch
Lincoln, (Jovcrnor of the State of Maine, respecting certain acts of the
Government of New Brunswick, which are considered as an undue ex-
ercise of jurisdiction in a settlement upon the river St. John's, within
the territory in disjjute between (ireat Britain and the United States.

ft appears from Governor Lincoln's statement, that the settlement in
(juestion is a British settlement upon the river St. Jolm's, westward of
the Madawaska, and that it is composed of the families of the original
settlers, and of emigrants frniy the Ignited Slates. 'IMie inhabitants of
the latter descr ij)tion, it is stated, are considered by the Government of
New Brunswick as aliens, and they are therefore not entitled to hold
real estate, are assessed to pay an alien tax, and cannot transmit the pro-
duce of their land as Americans. Some of these emigrants, the Gov-

[ House Doc. No. 90. ] 27 9

ernor obsei\cs, hold land under deeds from tlic States of Maine and

The undersigned begs leave to remind Mr. Clay, that, mi the months
of November and December, 1825, and again in the n)onth of January,
1827, ho had occasion to remonstrate against the conduct of persons call-
ing themselves agents accredited by the States of Maine and Massachu-
setts, for offering to sale in the British settlements upon the Madawaska
river grants of lands, and for surveying and laying out new settlements
in that direction, within the territory in dispute between Great Britain
and the United States.

Ever since the Province of New Brunswick was established, in the
year 1784, the territory in disjiute has always been considered as form-
ing a part of it ; and previously to that period, it was laid down as form-
ing part of the Province of Nova Scotia, in a map published by the Board
of Trade in 1755. The rights of sovereignty have, in consequence,
been exercised by the British Government, and the undersigned must
protest against the validity of any title to the lands in the ancient British
settlements, granted by the States of Maine and Massachusetts, until a
change in the right of possession shall have been effected in consequence
of the 5th article of the treaty of Ghent.

According to the statement of Governor Lincoln, the inhabitants of
the settlement in question upon the St. John's river, westward of the
Madawaska, who are not emigrants from the United States, are treated
by the Government of New Brunswick as British subjects ; and it is ob-
served that they are called upon to perform military service, an act of
jurisdiction which may be made to imply a "■rightfulness^^ of that juris-

The undersigned is persuaded that no act of jurisdiction, exercised in
the settlements made by Great Britain, and still in her possession, though
that possession may be disputed, can influence, in any shape, the decision
of the question of boundary under tha treaty of Ghent.

The undersigned will transmit a copy of Mr. Clay's note, containing
the representation of Governor Lincoln to his Majesty's Lieutenant Gov-
ernor of New Brunswick, whose wish and whose duty it has always been
to avoid giving the slightest uneasiness to the Government of the United
States, on the territory which has, unfortunately, remained so long in
dispute between the two Governments.

No attempt has ever been made to form new settlements, and the Lieu-
tenant Governor has abstained from exercising any authority over the
unoccupied parts of the disputed territory, excepting for the purpose of
preserving it in its present state. In proof of the friendly disposition
which animates him, the undersigned has the honor to enclose a copy of
a letter which Sir Howard Douglas addressed in the month of March
last to the magistrates residing in the neighborhood of the disputed, terri-
tory, and a copy of a letter dated the ISlh of April, in which his excel-
lency informs the undersigned that he had directed the Attorney General
of New Brunswick to prosecute some British subjects who had cut down
timber upon the St. John's river.

The undersigned begs leave to assure Mr. Clay that he will submit to
his Majesty's Government a copy of his note ; and he cannot help ex-
pressing an anxious wish that the negotiations which are now going on

Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of StateMaine boundary--Mr. Greely, &c. .. → online text (page 36 of 56)