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tiations were carried on for a new joint survey of the disputed territory, with a view to a second reference to an umpire; but the population of the State of Maine and of New Brunswick rapidly increasing, and the citizens of the former pushing their settlements northward, whilst from both Governments the disputed lands were resorted to for the purpose of cutting timber, it became every year more evident that further delay in the settlement of this question was pregnant with danger to the peace existing between the two countries: indeed, the events on the frontier in the early part of 1839 were of so menacing a character, that a daily collision between Her Majesty's troops and the militia of the State of Maine seemed inevitable, and must certainly have taken place but for the resolute yet temperate conduct of Sir John Harvey, Lieutenant-Governor of Her Majesty's Province of New Brunswick, aided by the prompt and most effectual interference of that distinguished person, H. S. Fox, Esq., Her Majesty's Envoy at Washington. The exertions of these gentlemen being happily seconded by the co-operation of the Federal authorities, a rupture on the frontier was prevented for the moment; but it became now evident that some peaceful measure must forthwith be adopted to bring this controversy to a termination; and as the pending negotiations for a second survey and reference required the adjustment of many preliminaries before a convention could be signed, Viscount Palmerston, at that time Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, thought it advisable—whilst the negotiations were proceeding—to send two Commissioners to North America, with instructions to examine the physical character of the territory in dispute, and bring home such information as might enable Her Majesty's Government to understand clearly whether the boundary claimed by the United States of America was, or was not, in accordance with the language and intentions of the Treaty of 1783. These Commissioners having completed their investigations in North America, returned home early in the year 1840. Up to this period the public servants of Great Britain who had been officially engaged in the conduct of this controversy, had acted under many disadvantages; they were unacquainted with the nature of the country, and had been unable, from various causes for which they were not responsible, to avail themselves of any authentic information respecting the intentions of the negotiators of the Treaty of Peace of 1783, beyond those meagre notices which had been at various times derived from some of the American
Commissioners of that period, previous to their decease. A consequence of this defective state of information with them was, that having no case sufficiently well founded to bring forward on the part of Great Britain, they were chiefly occupied on the defensive, resting the strength of their own case principally on the insufficiency of that of their opponents, which was manifestly inconsistent with the spirit of the Treaty: whilst these, availing themselves of their advantage, had gradually added to the exclusive character of their claim, reproaches loud and intolerable against our country, for wrongfully withholding an important territory, which they incorrectly alleged had been surrendered to the United States by the Treaty of 1783.
Under these circumstances, Her Majesty's Commissioners perceiving that the popular opinions respecting this important controversy were founded in many instances upon data so erroneous, that they had even misled the judgment of the King of the Netherlands, thought it their duty to review the whole diplomatic history of the dispute, before they finally drew up their Report. Prepared as they were to communicate the result of the geographical investigation they had been instructed to make, they were desirous of tracing to their true causes all those incorrect statements which had so much prejudiced the British claim both at home and abroad. They believed that the moment was arrived when it was necessary to present a strong case for the consideration of Her Majesty's Government if the right and the honour of the country authorized it, or frankly to admit that the claim of Great Britain did not appear to them to be founded in truth and justice”. Under a deep sense, then, of their responsibility, they, after long and anxious investigation of the subject, determined to report in substance to Her Majesty's Government, that the line of “Highlands” claimed by America was inconsistent with the physical geography of the country, and with the intentions of the Treaty of 1783; and that the line of “Highlands” mentioned in the second Article of that Treaty did not lie to the north of the St. John, but to the south of that river. ,
This Report, accompanied with all the details necessary to the perfect understanding and confirmation of these conclusions, was
* On the day that Her Majesty's Commissioners entered the disputed territory to commence their investigations, they agreed, that on whatever side the evidence of right should appear to them to preponderate, they would frankly state their opinions to Government, that every possible chance might be avoided of further exasperating the dispute between the two countries.
intended, not only as a document upon which Her Majesty's Government might safely rely for the maintenance of the just rights of the country, but also as a full and sufficient refutation of the unfounded allegations that had been brought forward, in the progress of the controversy, of the want of good faith and integrity which had marked the character of the British claim. This claim was now shown to be such as the Government and the nation could approve, without fearing to compromise its character for justice and the sacred regard due to Treaties. It might be true that the existing state of things forbade the sanguine expectation that Great Britain could ever peacefully realize the claim established by this Report, and indeed its authors were far from thinking that the controversy ever could be settled but by a friendly compromise; but finding that they could conscientiously present a case to the world which relieved their country from every offensive imputation, they submitted their Report to Her Majesty's Government in 1840, by whom it was accepted, and officially communicated to that of the United States of America in June, 1840, previous to its being laid before Parliament in the month of July of the same year. .
Before dismissing this part of the subject,