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By looking at those red lines on the map which represent the boundary established by the Treaty of Washington, the reader will perceive that every essential object for which Great Britain had heretofore contended, and every advantage indispensable to the welfare and security of her colonies, have been at length secured to her; that that which was so objectionable in the award of the King of the Netherlands has been entirely removed, and that, in fact, the American Government, instead of persevering and succeeding in that extreme claim to which it appeared to have been pledged in legislative proceedings, and which was justly felt to be both offensive and dangerous to Great Britain, has entirely withdrawn it, and has resigned every pretension to the country lying north of the red line, including all our established communications, and every military position along the whole line of what was claimed as the frontier, which now in no instance approaches nearer than sixty miles to Quebec. In bringing the dispute to this very satisfactory termination, the negotiators appear to have prudently abstained, as far as it was possible, from entering into any discussion of their extreme claims; a friendly compromise and not controversy was their object, and they accordingly divided the territory into two
moieties as near as it could be done, assigning to each country that portion contiguous to, and most necessary to its immediate interests, as will now be shown.
The estimate made by Dr. Tiarks of the square contents of the territory, which has been before alluded to, was 6,851,200 acres. The territory assigned to Great Britain by the award of the King of the Netherlands does not appear to have been computed by that gentleman, but in a confidential letter of Mr. Webster to the Commissioners of Maine and Massachussets, dated Washington, July 12th, 1842, the amount of acres is there stated as follows:
“By the award of the King of the Nether“ lands there was assigned to England, 4,119 “ square miles—2,636,160 acres.”
But the estimate made by Dr. Tiarks was, as it is well known, a very large one, for he drew the southern limit of the disputed territory by an irregular west line running round the heads of streams flowing in opposite directions, from Mars Hill to the sources of the Chaudière, a line that was south of the true boundary claimed by Great Britain from the Roostuc to the Chaudière, which only gives for the whole area the square contents of 6,750,000 acres, a moiety of which is 3,375,000. Now
the actual distribution of this territory by the Treaty of Washington is in the proportion of
of which twice or thrice that amount in the part ceded to the United States, consists of lakes and morasses. By the compromise, then, which has been effected, it is clear that, besides the acknowledgment of our title to all the military positions upon the frontier, we retain about 700,000 acres more than were assigned to Great Britain by the award of the King of the Netherlands; these important facts which are admitted in the United States, are the occasion of some political excitement there at this time. The assertion, therefore, which has been made at home, that we have only retained one-third of the territory, as well as that hereafter to be noticed of M. Lemoinne, that we have surrendered to the United States “three-fourths of the territory in dispute,” is quite unfounded, and the mistake first noted must have originated in an estimate drawn from the award of the King of the Netherlands, which, as has been shown, is nearly in that proportion.
It is superfluous to add anything to this branch of the subject, respecting which enough has been said for the satisfaction of those who prefer an honourable and friendly arrangement of our misunderstandings with Foreign Powers, to the sad alternatives which present themselves.
But objections have been raised to that part of the Treaty which relates to the privilege given to the citizens of Maine to float their produce down the River St. John, and these will now be considered.
In relation to this concession the following are the terms of the Treaty respecting that part of the River St. John which is declared to be the line of boundary.
“The navigation of the River shall be free “ and open to both parties, and shall in no way “ be obstructed by either, that all produce of “ the forest, in logs, lumber, timber, boards, “ staves, or shingles, or of agriculture not being “ manufactured, grown on any of those parts 6 of the State of Maine watered by the River “ St. John, or by its tributaries, of which fact “ reasonable evidence shall, if required, be pro“ duced, shall have free access into and through “ the said river and its tributaries, having their “ source in the State of Maine, to and from the “ sea-port at the mouth of the said River St. “ John, and to and round the Falls of the said
river, either by boats, rafts, or other con« veyance: that when within the province of “ New Brunswick, the said produce shall be “ dealt with as if it were the produce of the “ said province: that in like manner, the inha“ bitants of the territory of the Upper St. John • determined by this Treaty to belong to Her « Britannic Majesty, shall have free access to “ and through the river for their produce in “ those parts where the said river runs wholly “ through the State of Maine ; provided always, “ that this agreement shall give no right to “ either party to interfere with any regulations “ not inconsistent with the terms of this “ Treaty, which the Governments, respectively, “ of Maine or of New Brunswick, may make “ respecting the navigation of the said river, “ where both banks thereof shall belong to the “same party.”
Now, to form a just estimate of the value of this concession to the Americans, and of the degree of injury British interests can by any possibility receive from it, a few details explanatory of the nature of the country will be necessary.
The River St. John, from the cataract called the Great Falls to its mouth, a distance of about 200 miles, is a broad navigable stream of which both the banks are exclusively possessed