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The following are the terms of the treaty of 1783, on which the difference has arisen :
Article 1. His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz.: New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, fic., to be free, sovereign, and independent states : that he treats with them as such, and for himself, his heirs and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, property, and territorial rights of the same, and every part thereof.
Article 2. And that all disputes which might arise in future on the subject of the boundaries of the said United States may be prevented, (!) it is hereby agreed and declared, that the following are and shall be their boundaries, viz. : from the north-west angle of Nova Scotia, viz. : that angle which is formed by a line drawn due north from the source of the St. Croix River, to the Highlands, along the said Highlands which divide those rivers that empty themselves into the River St. Lawrence, from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean, to the north-westernmost head of Connecticut Riverand then after a long description of the western boundary, which, as it is not at all in question, we need not quote, it ends with the southern and eastern boundaries as follow :
• South-by a line to be drawn due east, fc. to the head of the St. Mary's river [in East Florida), and thence down along the middle of the St. Mary's river to the ATLANTIC Ocean:-East, by a line to be drawn along the middle of the river St. Croix from its mouth in the BAY OF FUNDY to its source directly north to the aforesaid Highlands which divide the rivers that fall into the Atlantic Ocean from those which fall into the river ST. LAWRENCE; comprehending all islands lying between lines to be drawn due east from the points where the aforesaid boundaries of Nova Scotia on the one part and East Florida on the other shall RESPECTIVELY touch the BAY OF Fundy and the Atlantic Ocean.'
Upon this article several questions arose :—first, which was the river St. Croix intended by the treaty ? second, as the river so designated had a western and a northern source considerably distant, which source should be adopted ? These two questions were decided (for reasons that will appear hereafter, we can hardly say settled) by an explanatory article, arranged in 1798 by special commissioners of both parties, and added to the general treaty of amity of 1794. But other and more difficult questions remained: where is the north-west angle of Nova Scotia ? -what is to be understood by the term Highlands ? —which are the rivers falling into the Atlantic, as contradistinguished from those emptying themselves into the river of St. Lawrence, or the bay of Fundy ?
All these questions must hereafter be separately treated : in this narrative stage of our observations it is enough to say that, after forty years of fruitless discussion, they were, in 1833, referred to the arbitration of the King of the Netherlands, who found it impossible to reconcile either the claims of the parties or the features of the country with the terms of the treaty; and he therefore rejected both claims, and proposed, by way of expedient, another line-differing from both—which he recommended the parties to adopt, as a mezzo termine and substitute for the impracticable provisions of the treaty.
In this recommendation Great Britain would, it seems, bare acquiesced; but the United States rejected it, on the ground that the Umpire, having been only empowered to decide which was the true boundary under the treaty, and not having been able to decide that, had surpassed his powers in recommending another and purely arbitrary line. We confess that we are equally surprised at the British acceptance and the American rejection of this award ; and, inuch as we desire a settlement of the question, we are sincerely glad that this arrangement was not concluded ; for it seems to us that it would have been almost as injurious to England as the whole American pretension, and a fruitful source of future quarrel. The recent survey, moreover, has ascertained that the statements on which the royal Arbiter proceeded were erroneous in point of fact.
During all these discussions, the British colonial governments of Lower Canada and New Brunswick had maintained over the disputed ground such a degree of possession and jurisdiction as was necessary or applicable to a wilderness of forests and waters, uncultivated and uninhabited except by occasional sojourners: but of late certain of the citizens of Maine-either desirous of new settlements, or wanting timber, which is beginning to grow scarce about their ancient seats, or impelled by a restless enmity against England - have taken the decision into their own hands, and have actually possessed themselves, in a hostile manner, and formed establishments on almost the extreme verge of the American claim. These encroachments have been, of course, resisted by our colonial governments, who have had, from all time, exclusive authority over the very spots where the people of Maine have lately, for the first time, personally intruded :this excites, of course, a great ferment in both parties—hostile collision between individuals may any day produce irretrievable hostilities between the public servants of the two countries, and of course between the countries. It becomes, therefore, the first and immediate duty of the Federal Government of the United States to take decisive measures for keeping this inter
national discussion in its own, the proper hands, and not to permit any individual State, and still less any individual citizens of a State, to attempt to decide by force a question so doubtful that even the King of the Netherlands, a disinterested arbiter, could not venture to determine it: and it behoves both the governments to use their utmost diligence in finding and arranging some mode for terminating this condition of disorder and danger.
But though the award of the King of the Netherlands has been set aside, for the reason before stated, and is therefore of no legal obligation, yet it appears to us to possess a certain degree of moral force which ought not to be without its effect on the minds of both parties, and which should direct their attention to some new mode (all the old ones having failed) of settling the difficulty. The royal Umpire has pronounced the treaty to be inexplicable and impracticable. Without adopting all his majesty's reasons for coming to this conclusion, and thinking, as we do, that he might—and if the result of the recent survey could have been before him, certainly would have made a positive award, yet we confess that we think the adverse parties ought to be so far influenced by his opinion as to try whether they cannot agree on some new proposition. America made, some years since, overtures of that tendency, which seem to us to have been very conciliatory—equitable in their principles, and practicable in their details. This is a point that seems to us of such vast importance, that we hope our readers will excuse the length of the following extract from the proposition of Mr. Livingston, the American Secretary of State, to Sir Charles Vaughan, then British Minister.
Washington, 30th April, 1833. • The arbitrator selected having declared himself unable to perform the trust, it is as if none had been selected, and it would seem as if the parties to the submission were bound by their contract to select another ; but this would be useless, if the position assumed by the Government of his Britannic Majesty be correct, “ that it would be utterly hopeless at this time of day to attempt to find out, by means of a new negociation, an assumed line of boundary, which successive negociators, and which commissioners employed on the spot have, during so many years, failed to discover.” The American Government, however, while they acknowledge that the task is not without its difficulties, do not consider its execution as hopeless. They still trust that a negociation opened and conducted in a spirit of frankness, and with a sincere desire to put an end to one of the few questions which divide two nations, whose mutual interest it will always be to cultivate the relations of amity, and a cordial good understanding with each other, may, contrary to the anticipations of his Britannic Majesty's Government, yet have a happy result; but if this should unfortunately fail, other means, still untried
remain. remain. It was, perhaps, natural to suppose, that negociators of the two powers coming to the discussion with honest prejudices, each in favour of the construction adopted by his own nation, on a matter of great import to both, should separate without coming to a decision. The same observations may apply to commissioners, citizens, or subjects of the contending parties, not having an impartial umpire to decide between them : and, although the selection of a sovereign arbiter would seem to have avoided these difficulties, yet this advantage may have been more than countervailed by the want of local knowledge. All the disadvantages of these modes of settlement, heretofore adopted, might, as it appears to the American Government, be avoided, by appointing a new commission, consisting of an equal number of commissioners, with an umpire selected by some friendly Sovereign, from among the most skilful men in Europe, to decide on all points on which they disagree; or by a commission entirely composed of such men, so selected, to be attended, in the survey and view of the country, by agents appointed by the parties. Impartiality, local knowledge, and high professional skill would thus be employed, which, although heretofore separately called into the service, have never before been combined for the solution of the question. This is one mode ; and perhaps others might occur in the course of the discussion, should the negociators fail in agreeing on the true boundary. An opinion, however, is entertained, and has been herein before expressed, that a view of the subject, not hitherto taken, onight lead to another and more favourable result.
'A free disclosure of this view might, according to the dictates of ordinary diplomacy, with more propriety, perhaps, be deferred until those of his Britannic Majesty's Government should be more fully known, or, at least, until that Government had consented to open a negociation for determining the boundary ; but the plain dealing with which the President (GENERAL JACKSON) desires this and all his other communications with foreign governments to be conducted, has induced a development of the principle for the consideration of his Britannic Majesty's Government.
Boundaries of tracts and countries, where the region, through which the line is to pass, is unexplored, are frequently designated by natural objects, the precise situation of which is not known, but which are supposed to be in the direction of a particular point of the compass. Where the natural object is found in the designated direction, no question can arise. Where the course will not touch the natural boundary, the rule universally adopted is, not to consider the boundary as one impossible to be traced; but to preserve the natural boundary, and to reach it by the nearest direct course. Thus, if after more accurate surveys shall have been made, it should be found that the north course from the head of the St. Croir should not reach the Highlands, which answer the description of those designated in the Treaty of 1783,- then a direct line from the head of the St. Croix, whatever may be its direction to such High lands, ought to be adopted, and the line would still be conformable to the Treaty. * As this principle does not seem hitherto to have been adopted, it
appears to the Government of the United States to offer to the commissioners, who may be appointed, the means of an amicable adjustment.” - Correspondence A, pp. 23, 24.
Sir Charles Vaughan was at first afraid that this proposition for a new line northwards instead of due north might be carried to the eastward, but Mr. Livingston in a subsequent communication cleared away this apprehension.
Washington, May 28, 1833. 'The United States,' he says, 'make no pretensions farther east than the north line; but if, on a more accurate survey, it should be found that the north line mentioned in the Treaty should pass east of the Highlands therein described, and that they should be found at some point further west, then the principle to which I refer would apply, to wit, that the direction of the line to connect the two natural boundaries must be altered so as to suit their ascertained positions.
· Thus in the annexed diagram, suppose A. the monument at the head of the St. Croix, A.B. the north line drawn from thence. If the Highlands described in the treaty should be found in the course of that line, both the descriptions in the treaty would be found to coincide, and the question would be at an end. If, on the contrary, those Highlands should be found at C. or D., or at any other point west of that line, then the eastern boundary of the United States would be the line A. C., or A. D., or any other line drawn directly from the point A. to the place which should be found to answer the description of the Highlands mentioned in the treaty.
* This being fully understood, the President is willing, in order to simplify the operation, that the commission shall be restricted to the simple question of determining the point designated by the treaty as the Highlands which divide the waters, to which point a straight line shall be drawn from the monument: and that this line shall, as far as it extends, form part of the boundary in question. That they shall then designate the course of the line along the Highlands, and fix on the point designated as the north-westernmost head of the Connecticut river.'- Correspondence A, pp. 28, 29. This, we presume, is the proposition concerning which Mr.