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submitted to him, in favour of Great Britain, but recommending and explaining a compromise of the principal question depending upon the position of the “highlands,” because “the “ nature of the difference, and the vague and “ insufficiently defined stipulations of the Treaty “ of 1783, do not allow the adjudication of one “ or the other of these lines to one of the said “parties, without departing from the principles “ of justice and of equity towards the other.”
This compromise, it is true, preserved to Great Britain the established post route from New Brunswick to Quebec, which from Mada. wasca went north of the river St. John; but in a territorial point of view it was very prejudicial, for it stripped her of two-thirds of the square contents of the area of the country in dispute, and gave them to the United States, together with the navigation of the St. John for a distance of 150 miles from its source. :
Nevertheless, on the 12th of January, 1831, only two days after the date of the award, Mr. Preble, himself a citizen of Maine, and then Chargé d'Affaires from the United States at the court of the King of the Netherlands, addressed a letter to Baron Verstolk de Soelen, protesting against the award, on the ground that the arbiter had exceeded the power conferred upon him, by substituting a boundary distinct from
that provided by the second article of the Treaty af 1783; and although the President of the United States deemed it consistent with his high duty to refer the award to the Senate for their advice and consent to give it his ratification, that body, acting under its constitutional power, rejected the decision which the King had given, in his quality of Arbiter and Mediator.
In the mean time, the British Government, looking to the pledge that had been given to consider the decision as “final and conclusive," and to the material point which was obtained by it, of preserving the communication between the King's provinces, not only did not protest against the injustice of the award, but immediately announced their willingness to abide by the act of mediation, if the United States would concur with them; and it was only on the 30th October, 1835, that, after repeated declarations on its part of a desire to give effect to the award, and as many refusals by the Government of the United States to do so, that Viscount Palmerston directed Mr. Bankhead “to announce to " the President, that the British Government “ withdraws its consent to accept the territorial « compromise recommended by the King of the " Netherlands." · Subsequent to this period, protracted nego
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 gentle men 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