United States. Dept. of State.

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

. (page 50 of 56)
Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of StateMaine boundary--Mr. Greely, &c. .. → online text (page 50 of 56)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


civil authoiities of his Majesty's Provinces on our ISoitheastern borders
should have lent their encouragement to, or should in anywise have pro-
moted, an undei'takiiig which, if ])ei'severed in, will inc\itably lead to the
most disastrous consequences. The object of the association, from its
inception, was objectiiniable ; since it could only be effected by entering
U])on territory the title to which was controv Tted and unsettled — a pro-
ceeding which could not fail to be offt nsi\e to the Govei'iiment and people
of the United States. Still more unjustifiable was the act of sovereignty
gixing to this comj)any corjiora'e powers over property known to be
claimed by citizens of a friendly and neighboring State, and which consti-
tuted at the time the subject of an amicable negotiation between the Gov-
ernment of his Majesty and that of the United States. The Pre-ident re-
grets to see in this step on the part of his Majesty's provincial authorities
and subjects, a most exceptionable departure from the principle of contin-
uing to abstain, during the jnogress of negotiation, from any extension of
the exercise of jurisdiction within the disputed territory on either side;
the propriety of w hich has been hitherto so sedulously inculcated and so
distinctly acquiesced in by both jiarties. An understanding that this prin-
ciple should be observed by them, w.is the natural result of the respective
jxisitions and pacific intentions of the two Governments, and coul<l alone
])revent the exercise of asserted i-ights by force. Without it, the end of
all negotiation on the siiliject would have been defeated. If, thei-efore,
nothing had been said by either party relative to such an understanding, it
would have been jiropei- to infer that a tacit ageeement to that effect existed
between the two Governments. But the coi-respondence between ihem is
sufticiently full and explicit to prevent all misconception. The views of
both G >veiMinents in respect to it will be found in the letters of the Secre-
tary of State to the minister of Great Britain, dated the 18th of January,
182G, 9th of January, 1 1th of March, and Ilth of May, 1829 ; and of the
British inini'-ter to the Secretary of State, dated 15th of November and 2d
of Decemhi-r, la^'.S: lOth of January, 1827; 18th of February and 25th of
March, 1828; and I41h of Ajiiil, \8:>5, as well as in other communications,
which it is deemed needless now to designate.

Tlic undersigned is directed by the President to inform Mr. Fox that
the prosecution of the enter|)rise above referred to will be regarded by this
Government as a delihi-rate infiingeiiient of the rights of the United States
to the territory in ()uestion, and as an unwarrantalile assumption of jurisdic-
tion therein by the British Government; and the undersigned is instructed



[ House Doc. No. 31. ] 379

to urge tlic prompt adoption of such moasiiics as may be deemed most
approj)iiate b} bis Majesty's Govcniiiiciit, fo suspend any I'urlber move-
ments in execution of tlie j)i-opose(l railroad IV;>m St. Andiew's to Quebec,
during the contimiance of the j)ending negotiations between tbe two Gov-
ernments lelative to the Noi-lbeastern boundary of tbe United States.

The pi-ocecdiiigs above alluded to, considered in connexiori with inci-
dents on other pai-ts of the disputed boundary line, well known to his Maj-
esty's ministers, would seem to I'ender it in(lisj)eusable to the maintenance
of those liberal and friendly relations between the two countries which
both Goverrrmerrts are so sirrcerely anxious to jtrTserve, that they should
come to a speedy adjustment of lire subject, 'lire r-eceirt resolutiorrs of the
State of Alaine, to which the projected railroad irom St. Arrdrcw's to
Quebec gave rise, reqrresting the President of the United States to cause
the lirre established by the treaty of 1785 to be run, and rironuments to be
established thei-eon, and the a])propr-iatiorr of ^20,000 by Congress, at
their- late session, to enable the Executive to carr-y tiiat request irrto effect,
with a subsequent earnest application from the Representatives of Maine
for arr immediate compliance with it, afford additional incentives to exertion
to britrg this controversy to a conclusion, not to be disregarded by the Pres-
ident of the United States.

Tire President, therefore, awaits with great anxiety the decision of his
Majesty's Govcr-ninent on the proposition made by the under'signed to his
Majesty's chai'ge d'afFair-es at Washington, in February, 1836, suggest-
ing the river St. Johir's, from its mouth to its sour'ce, as an eligible and
convenient line of boundary. No small degi-ee of disappointment has been
felt that this decision, alr-eady lorrg expected, has not been given ; but the
hope is entertained that the result of this protr-acted deliberation will j)rove
favorable to the wishes of the Pi-esident ; and that, everr if that pr oposition
be not acceded toby his Britannic Majesty, some definitive offer-, looking
to a pr-ompt termirration of the controversy, w ill be made without further
delay.

The undersigned avails himself of this occasion to renew to Mi'- Fox
the assurance of his distinguished consideration.

JOHN FORSYTH.

Henry S. Fox; Esq.

J^Iinister Plenipotentiary, ^c.



Washington, March 28, 1837.

The undersigned, his Britannic Majesty's envoy extraordinary and min
ister plenipotentiary, has had tire honor to receive the oHiclal note, ad-
dressed to him under' date of the 23<1 instant, by Me. Forsyth, Seci-etary
of State of the United States, u;)on tlie subject of information received by
the United States Goverrrment of a pr'ojected railroad between the cities of
Quebec and St. Andr-ew's, and uj)on certain other matters connected witli
tlie question of the boundar-y line betweerr the United States and the British
possessions in North Amei-ica.

The rrndersigned. in accordance with the wishes of thePr-esident, signi-
fied in Me. Forsyth's official rrote, will rrot fail immediately to convey that
note to the knowledge of his Governmerrt at home ; and he entertains no
doubt tiiat his Majesty's Government will pi'oceed to the consideration of



380 \ House Doc. No. 31. J

the several matters therein contained, with the serious and ready attention
thai tlieir in)|)<)rtancc deserves.

The undei'signed avails himself of this occasion to renew to Mr. For-
syth the assui'ance of his high esteem and consideration.

H. S. FOX.

IJon. John Fousyth, Secretary of State.



Washington, August 24, 1837.

SiK : With reference to the oflicial note which, hy direction of the Pres-
ident, you addressed to me on the 2S(i of Maich last, respecting a project-
ed railroad between the cities of Quebec and St. Andrew's, which, it was,
appieher>(Ied, would, if carried into effect, traverse a part of the territory
It ;).esent irr dispute between Gr-eat Britain and the United States, I am
now enabled to inforjii you tliat, in consideration of the arguments and ob-
servations contained in your note, lier Majesty's Government has been
pleased to direct Ihe colonial authorities of Lower Canada and New Bruns-
v\ ick, respectively, to cause all operations corrnected with the above-men-
tioned pr'oject within the limits of the disputed territoi-y, to be immediately'
sc)riti:i ued.

I have the honor to be, sir, with high respect, 6cc.

H. S. FOX.

Hon. John Forsyth, Secretary of State.



Mr. Stevenson to Lord Palmerston. — (Extract, J

The under-sigired will avail himself of the occasion to remind Lord Pal-
merston of the urgency which exists for tiieimme<liate and final adjustment
of tliis long-pending controversy, [r-espectiiig the Northeastern boundary,]
and the increased obstacles which will be thrown in the way of its har-
monious settlement, by these repeated collisions of authority, arrd the exer-
cise of exclusive jurisdiction by either j)arty within the disputed territory.

lie begs leave, also, to repeat to his lor-dship assurances of the earnest
and unabated desire wiiich tiie President feels, that the controver-sy should
be s|)eedily and amicably settled, and to ex|)r'ess the anxiety with which
the Gover-ntnent of the United States is waiting the pr'omise<l decisii)n of
lici- Majesty's Gover-nment upon the projjosition submitted to it as far- back
as July, 1836, and which the undersigned had beerr led to believe would
long since have been giverr ; and he has been further dir-ected to say, that,
should this (Moposition be disai)|)r-ovcd, the President entertaitrs the hope
that some new one, on the part of her Majesty's (iover'iiment, will imme-
diately be made for the final and favor-able termination of tiiis protracted
and deeply-exciting contrnxcrsy.

'I'he undersigned hegsl^oid I'almerston to receive renewed assui-aiices of
his distinguished consideration.

A. STEVENSON.

23 Portland Place, Jlugnsl 10, 1837.



[ House Doc. No. 73. ] 381

[ House Doc. No. 73—25\h Congress 2(1 session. ]

Message from the President of the United States, upon the subject of
the disturbance on the Northern Frontier of the United States.

To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States :

In tlie liiglily excited state of feeling on tlie Noitlieni lionfier, otca-
siouetl by the (Jistiiibances in Catiada, it was to be apinrlieiided that causes
of conjplaint might arise on the line dividing the United States fioin
hei" liritannic Majesty's dominions. Every jji-ecaution was, ihei-cfore,
taken on our part, authorized by the existing laws; and, as the troojjs
of the Piovinces were imbodied on the Canadian side, it was hoped
that no serious violation of the rights of the United States would
be permitted to occur. I regret, however, to inform you that an out-
rage of a most aggravated character has been committed, accompanied by
a hostile though temporary invasion of our tei-ritoiy, protincing the strong-
est feelings of resentment on the part of our citizens in tiie neighborhood,
and on the wliole border line : and that the excitement previously existing'
has been alarmingly increased. 'J'o guard against tlie jjossible recurrence
of any similar act, I have thouglit it indispensable to call out a portion of
the militia, to be posted on that frontier. The documents herewith j)re-
sented to Congress show the character of the outrage committed, the
measures taken in consequence of its occurrence, and the necessity for re-
sorting to them. It will also be seen that the subject was immediately
brought to the notice of the British minister accredited to this country,
and the proper steps taken, on our part, to obtain the fullest information
of all the circumstances leading to and attendant uj)on the transaction
preparatory to a demand for reparation. 1 ask such appropriations as
the circumstances in which our country is thus unexpectedly placed re-
quire.

M. VAN BUREN.

Washington, /(Tin imrj/ 8, l8r-8.

List of papers,

H. W. Rogers to the President, dated 30th December, 1837.
The Secretary of War to General Scott, 5th January, 1838*
The Secietary of War to Governor Marry, do.

Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Fox, do.

Mr. Rogers to the President.

Buffalo, December 30, 1837.
To his Excellency Martin Van Buren,

President of the United States :
Sir : Enclosed are copies of affidavits which I have prepared in great
haste, and which contain all that is material in relation to the gross and
extraordinary transaction to which they relate. Our whole frontier is ia
commotion, and [ fear it will be difficult U) restrain our citizens from re-
venging, by a resort to arms, this flagrant invasion of our territory. Ev-



382 [ House Doc. No. 73. ]

ery thing that cas be done will be by the public authorities to prevent s(
injudicious a movement. Tlie respective sheriffs of Erie and Niagara
have taken the responsibility of calling out the militia to guard the froiii)
tier, and prevent any further depredations.

I am, sir, with great consideration, your obedient servant,

H. W. ROGERS,
Dist Jlil'y for Erie CQunhj,and act'g for the U, S.



State of New York, JSlagara county, ss :

Oilman Appleby, of the city of Buffalo, being sworn, says that he left
the port of Buffalo on the morning of the 29th instant, in the steamboat
Caroline, owned by William Wells, of Buffalo, and bound for Schlosser,
upon tfie east side of the Niagara river, and within the United States ; thai
this deponent commanded the said Caroline, and that she was cleared from
Buffalo with a view to run between said Buffalo and Schlosse?', carrying
passengers, freight, &c.; that this deponent caused the said Caroline to bt
landed at Black Rock, on her way down, and that while at Black Rock
this deponent caused the American flag to be run up ; and that, soon aftei
leaving Black Rock harbor, a volley of musketry was discharged at the
Caroline from the Canada shore, but without injury ; that the said Caro-
line continued her course down the Niagara river unmolested, and landed
outside of certain scows or boats attached to Navy island, wheie a number
of passengers disembarked, and, as this deponent supposes, certain arti-
cles of freight were larded ; that, from this point, the Caroline ran tc
S<hlosser, arriving there at three o'clock in the afternoovi ; that between
this time and dark the Caroline made two trips to Navy island, landingas
before; that at about six o'clock in the evening this deponent caused the
said Caroline to be landed at Schlosser, and made fast with chains to the
dock at tltat place; that the crew and officers of the Cartdine numbere<]
ten ; and that in the course of the evening twenty-three individuals, all ol
whom were citizens of the United States, came on board of the Caroliney
and requested this deponent and other officers of the boat to permit them
to remain on board during the night, as they were unable to get lodgings
at the tavern near by. These requests were acceded to, and the persons
thus coming on board retired to rest, as did also the crew and officers ol
the Caroline, except such as were stationed to watch during the night.
That about midniglit this deponent was informed by one of tlie watch that
several boats, filled with men, were making towards the Caroline from the!
river; and this deponent imnjediately gave the alarm, and before he was
able to reach the dock the Caroline was boarded by some 70 or 80 men,
all of whom weie armed ; that they immediately commenced a warfare
with muskets, swords, and cutlasses, upon the defenceless crew and pas-
sengers of the Caroline, under a fierce cry of G — d damn them — givei
them no quarters — kill every man — fire ! fire ! That the Caroline wasi
abandoned without resistance, and the only effoit made by either thei
crew or passengers seemed to be to escajje slaughter ; that this de|>onej)t
narrowly escaped, having received several wounds, none of which, how-
ever, are of a serious character; that immediately after the Caroline fell
into the hands of the armed force Avho boarded lier, she was set on fire,
cut loose from the dock, was towed into the current of the river, there



[ House Doc. No. 73. J 383

abandoned, and soon after descended the Niagara falls ; that this depo-
nent has made vigilant search after the individuals, thirty-three in num-
ber, who are known to have been on the Caroline at the time she was
boarded, and twenty-one only are to be found ; one of whom, to vc it, Amos
Durfee, of Buffalo, was found dead upon the dock, having received a shot
from a musket, the ball of which penetrated the back part of the head,
and came out at the forehead. James H. King and Captain C. F. Hard-
ing were seriously, though not mortally, wounded. Several others re-
ceived slight wounds. The twelve individuals who are missing, this de-
ponent has no doubt were either murdered upon the steamboat, or found a
watery grave in the cataract of the falls. And this deponent further says
that, immediately after the Caroline was got into the current of the stream
and abandoned, as befoie stated, beacon-lights were discovered upon the
Canada shore, near Chippewa ; and after sufficient time had elapsed to
enable the boats to reach thatsliore, this deponent distinctly heard loud and
vociferous cheering at that point; that this deponent has no doubt that the
individuals who boarded the Caroline were a part of the British forces
now stationed at Chippewa.

GILMAN APPLEBY.
Subscribed and sworn December 30, 1837, before me,

S. B. PIPER,
Commissioner of Deeds for JViagara county.

State of New York, ")
JViagara county, J

Charles F. Harding, James H. King, Joshua H. Smith, William Sea-
man, William Kennedy, William Wells, John Leonard, Sylvanus Staring,
and John Haggarty, being sworn, severally, depose and say, that they
have heard the foregoing affidavit of Oilman Api)loby read ; that they were
on the Caroline at the time she was boarded, as stated in said affidavit;
and that all the facts sworn to by said Appleby, as occurring after the
said Caroline was so boarded, as aforesaid, are correct and true.

C. F. HARDING,
J. H. KING,
J. H. SMITH,
WM. SEAMAN,
WILLIAM KENNEDY,
WM. WELLS,
JOHN LEONARD,
SYLVANUS STARING,
JOHN C. HAGGARTY.

Sworn and subscribed December 30, 1837, before me,

S. B. PIPER,

Commissioner of Deeds for jYiagara county.

Mr. Poinsett to General Scott.

Department of War,

January 5, 1838.
Sir : You will repair, without de'ay, to the Canada frontier of the
United States, and assume the military command there.



384 [ House Doc. No. 73. ]

Ucrewitli you w\\\ receive duplicate letters to the Uoveniors of the
States (.r Now York and Vermont, requesting them to call into the service
of the United States such a militia force as you may deem necessary for
the dtlVnce of that frontier of tlie United States.

'lliis i)o\vcr has been confided to you in the full persuasion that you will
use it discreetly, and extend the call only so far as circumstances may

seem to re(inirc. _ . , , , r •• i

It is im|)ortant that the troops called into the service should be, it possible,
exempt from that state of excitement which the late violation of our terri-
tory has creati'd : and you will therefore impress upon the Governors of
these border States the propriety of selecting troops from a portion of the
State distant from the theatre of action.

The Executive possesses no legal authority to employ the military lorce
to restrain persons within our jurisdiction, and who ought to be under our
control, from violating the laws, by making incursions into the territory
of nei"ld)oi ing and friendly nations, with hostile intent. 1 can give you,
theretore, no" instructions on that subject ; but request that you will use
your ihih'icnce to pievcnt such excesses, and to preserve the character of
this Government for good faith and a proper regard for the rights of
friendly Powers.

The militia will be called into the service for three months, unless sooner
discharged ; and in your requisitions you will designate the number of
men. aifd take care that the olliccrs do not exceed a due proportion.

It is deemed important that the administrative branch of the service
should be conducted, wherever practicable, by officers of the regular

The disposition of the force with regard to the points to be occupied
is confided to your discretion, military skill, and intimate knowledge of
the country : a'nd the amount of that force must depend upon the character
and duration of the contest now going on in Canada, and the disposition
manifested by the peoi)le and the public authorities of that colony.

The President indulges a hope that outrages similar to that which lately
occurred at Schlosser will not be repeated ; and that you will be able to
maintain the peace of that frontier without being called upon to use the
force which has been confided to you.

Verv resneclfully, your most obedient servant,

■^ ' J. R. POINSETT.

Brevet Major General Winfield Scott,

Washington Cittj.



Mr. roinselt to Governor .Marcij.

Department of Waii,

January 5, 1838.
Sill : Tlie territory of the United States lia\iiig been violated by a party
of armed men from the Canada shore, ami api)reliensions being entertained,
from the higldv excited feelings of boih parties, that similar outrages may
lead to an iiiva'sion of tiur soil, the President has thought proper to exercise
the authority vested in him by law, and call out such a militia force as may
be deemed necessary to protect the frontiers of the United States.



[ House Doc. No. 73. ] 385

I am, in coiiscqiiencp, iiistfiicted by the Pidideiit to request you will call
into the service of the United States, and place under the command of Bre-
vet Major General Scott, sue h militia Coice as he may i'ef|uiie to be em-
ployed on the Canada frontiei', toi- the [)ui|)ose herein set foitii.
Very respectrullv, your most obedient seivant,

J. K. POINSETT.
His Excellency W. L. Marcy,

Governor of Mw Fork, Jilbunij, JNTet/; Fork.

[Same to Ijis Excellency Silas H. Jenison, Governor of Vtrmont,
Montpelier, Vermont.]



Mr. Forsyth to Mr. Fox.

Department of State,

Washington, January 5, 1838.

Sir : By tiie direction of the President of the Uriited States, I have the
honor to communicate to you a co|)y of the evidpnce fnr-nished to this De-
partment, of an extr-aordinary outrage committed fi'otn her Britannic Ma-
jesty's Province of Uj)|)er' Canada, on the persons and |)r(i|)erry of citizens
of the United States, within the jurisdiction of the State of New York.
The destruction of the ])roperty, and assassination of citizens of the United
States, on the soil of New York, at the moment when, as is well known
to you, the President was anxiously endeavoring to allay the excitement,
and earnestly seeking to pi-event any unfortunate occurrence on the fron-
tier of Canada, has produced upon liis mind the m'»st painful emotions of
surpri.sc and regret. It will necessarily form the sul)Ject of a demand for
redress upi)n her Majesty's Government. This ci)mmunication is made
to you under the expectation that, througli your instrumentality, an early
explanation may be obtained, from the authoiities of Upper Canada, of all
the circumstances of the transaction; and that, by your advice to those
authorities, such dec'isive precautions ntay be used as will r-ender the per-
petration of similar acts hereafter impossible. Not doubting the (lisposi-
tion of the Government of Upi)er Canada to do its duty in punishing t'le
aggressors, and preventing future outrage, tlie President, notwithstanding,
has deenied it necessary to oider a siifli( ient f.trce on the Irontier, to repel
any attempt of alike ciiaractei-, ami to make known to you that, if it
should occur, he canmtt be answerable for the efftcts of the indignation of
the neighboring people of the United States.

I take this occasion to renew to you the assurance of my distinguished
consideration.

JOHN FORSYTH.

Heury S. Fox, Esq., c^'c.
26



386 [ House Doc. No. 74. ]

[ House Doc. No. 74 — 25ih Congress 2d session. ]

Message from the President of the United States, transmitting the in-
formation required by a resolution of the House of Representatives of
the 5th of January instant, c^'c.

To the tfoHse of Reprcsentdtives of the United States :

I Iiorcwith tfansinit to tlie House of llcpi'cspntatives a report and ac-
com|)aiivi!ig docuiiKMits fi-om f|it» Sccrctaiy of State, in compliance with a
rcsolulioij of that bod^ dated tlie otli instant.

M. VAN BUREN.

Washington, ./« /I »<irj/ 8. 1838.



Dbi'vhtment of State,

fyashingtou, Jannarij 8, 1838.
To the President of the United Stales :

'I^lie Secretary of State, to wiioin have been i-eferrod certain resolutions
of the House of Reprf^sentatives, dated tlie 5tli instant, th*-. second of which
requests the President of the Utiite<l Slates to communicate to that body
»* copies of all instructions to the officers of the Gov"M'nment of the United
States, and all correspondence with them, with the Governors of any of
the States, and with the Govci-nments and officers of Mexico and of Gi-cat
Britain, concei-ning the jjrc^ervatioii of the neutrality of the United States
in the civil wars and insurrections in Mexico and in any of the British
ProviniM'S north of the United States, since the year 1829 : and particu-
larly (»f a letter from the late Piesident of the United States to the Secre-
tary t>f theTerritory of Arkansas, dated on or about the lOth of December,
1830." lias the hono!- to report to the President the accompanying papers,
cinbracitig all the instructions and correspondence requested by the reso-
lution above cited, not ali'eady published,* with the excejjtion of the letter



Online LibraryUnited States. Dept. of StateMaine boundary--Mr. Greely, &c. .. → online text (page 50 of 56)