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mencement from the “Highlands” to the Connecticut river, a distance of about 200 miles. Up to the year 1792, this part of the country was a wilderness of forests, lakes, and morasses, only known to a few Indians, who occasionally frequented it for the chase; but about that period, the citizens of the present State of Maine, which is the most eastern of the United States, began to survey and occupy portions of it, although it had never been considered to have been conceded to the new republic, and had always been believed to belong to the Crown. This encroachment was followed by their claiming as the Treaty boundary a line of “Highlands” that would have brought the United States, at certain points, within the distance of twenty miles from the St. Lawrence, that would have cut off from Great Britain the established military and post routes leading from the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to Quebec, and would have given to the Americans various military positions overlooking the river St. Lawrence, and from whence they could have threatened the fortress of Quebec. No person out of the United States believed that such an arrangement of the frontier was consistent with even the intentions of the Commissioners, who, on the part of America, nego

tiated the Treaty of 1783, and it was impossible to suppose that the British negotiators upon that occasion would have consented to, or that the King's Government of that day would have ratified an unfriendly, menacing, and impracticable frontier, that was unnecessary to the United States, was antagonist to the whole spirit of the Treaty, and inconsistent with the proceedings of the Commissioners by whom it had been negotiated. War broke out between the two countries in 1812, but was happily followed by the Treaty of Peace at Ghent, in 1814. At the period when the Commissioners of the two countries met at this place, the dispute respecting this frontier had not excited much attention, and the geographical details, upon which alone a proper judgment could at that time have been formed as to the equity of the case, if not exclusively confined to the Americans, were but imperfectly known to the British Commissioners: they, however, were not ignorant of the pretensions that were to be brought forward, and perceiving that it was intended to urge them in a very serious manner, they adopted a course eminently calculated to forward the great object they were deputed to prepare the way for, viz.: the restoration of peace. Instead, therefore, of entering upon a discussion of the respective rights of the two parties, which, as past experience has shown, would have led to no conviction, they proposed in their first communication with the American Commissioners— “A revision of the boundary between His “Majesty's territories in America and those of “ the United States, not upon any principle of “conquest or acquisition, but upon that of mu“tual advantage and security.” Aug. 8, 1814. This proposition related to another portion of the general boundary betwixt the two countries, as well as to the north-eastern frontier of what was then called the District of Maine; but as it is only necessary upon the present occasion to speak of this last, it may be as well to give at once a brief statement of the difference existing between the two countries, arising from their respective claims, all the geographical relations of which will be further illustrated by the annexed Map. The Territory in dispute amounted to something less than 7,000,000 acres of land, and was comprehended between two distinct lines claimed adversely to be the “Highlands” of the Treaty. Through the centre of this territory the western part of the course of the river St. John flowed, Great Britain claiming the Highlands of the Treaty to be south of that river, whilst the United States asserted them to be identical with certain highlands running north of that river, and which overlook the St. Lawrence.* This claim of the United States, as it will be seen by the map, could not be admitted without injurious consequences to the interests of the British Colonies; for, independent of other serious inconveniences, such an admission would have thrown the established military and post routes by which the important provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick communicated with Quebec, into the United States; so that in the unfortunate event of a war with that country, Great Britain would have had a powerful and enterprizing enemy lodged in the very heart of her colonial empire. The British negotiators, therefore, perceiving that there really was sufficient apparent ambiguity in the second article of the Treaty of 1783, upon which to raise a claim for a line of frontier hostile to the British construction of that article, and pregnant with serious misunderstandings, proposed to remove all future uncertainty and doubt by negotiating. “Such a variation of the line of frontier “ as would secure a direct communication “ between Quebec and Halifax.”—Aug. 19, 1814. The American Commissioners had admitted, upon the opening of the negotiations, that they were warranted by their instructions in agreeing to a revision of the Boundary; but, upon further consultation, those gentlemen considered their powers limited to cases where there was an obvious cause for uncertainty and dispute; and as the present claim of America was considered by them to have nothing uncertain about it, and to be perfect, they therefore declared that they had— “No authority to cede any part of the “Territory of the United States, and to no sti“pulation to that effect will they subscribe.”— Aug. 24, 1814. To this it was replied— “The American Plenipotentiaries must be “aware that the boundary of the district of “Maine has never been correctly ascertained; “ that the one asserted at present by the “American government, by which the direct “ communication between Halifax and Quebec “ becomes interrupted, was not in contempla

* A remark may be made here not undeserving the attention of all future negotiators of treaties of delimitation, that if the Commissioners of the Peace of 1783 had inserted after the word “Highlands,” in the description of the boundary, the words “South of the St. John,” or, “North of the St. John,” no controversy on the subject could ever have taken


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