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And we ask, can any man in his senses believe that it could be the intention of England to consent—without any
visible reason -without object--without equivalent where there was no claim, not even a demand—to the intrusion of such an amorphous horn into the heart of her provinces, disuniting as well as absorbing her territory, intercepting her rivers and her roads, and cutting off her communications between her colonial capitals? Look, we say, at our sketch and judge whether such an intention was possible: but look beyond our little map to the larger maps which exhibit the lines of boundaries which prevail in the adjoining regions; you will find that wherever there was not some great natural division, the boundaries were mostly formed by right lines - the States themselves are generally bounded by right lines—the part of the boundary we are discussing, west of the Connecticut, is a right line, running along the 45° parallel. Look at the cause of deviation from this right line from the Connecticut eastward :-was it not the obvious advantage of giving to each party the whole course of its own waters ? The line along the parallel 45° would have cut off from the United States the upper waters of the Connecticut, the Kennebec, and the Penobscot—the negociators saw that such an interception of rivers would be a cause of endless squabble and local contention, and they very wisely deviated from the line of the parallel and carried the boundary round the heads of the Connecticut, the Kennebec, and the Penobscot, to the head of the British river St. Croix,—thus leaving to each party the continuous and exclusive jurisdiction of its own waters. Now, who can believe that this prudent and liberal principle was departed from (after it had been carried out for 100 miles beyond the Connecticut) on purpose to cut off the upper waters of the St. John and give them to the United States, while the main body, the navigable parts, and the mouth of the river, were to continue within the British territory-to give to the Americans waters, from which they had no outlet, and which could be and can be of little value to them, except as a means of annoyance to England-while to England they were vitally essential for her internal communications and governinent? Look, we say, at the maps, and decide whether any one can believe in such a preposterous intention.
But though no evidence could be better than the mere common sense of mankind on such a proposition, we have collateral testimony, and this of the most conclusive kind, that such was not the design of the parties.
In the first place, there was no pressure upon England to have committed so suicidal an act. By the first article of the treaty, as we have seen,
His Britannic Majesty acknowledges the said United States, viz. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, &c., to be free, sovereign, and independent ştates ; and relinquishes all claims to the government, property, and territorial rights of the same, and every part thereof.' Now Mr. Gallatin admits that Massachusetts had at that time not a shadow of a right beyond the Penobscot, and what the treaty did grant between the Penobscot and St. Croix was a new concession, which went beyond the ancient limits of the State, and of course became the national property of the Federation. It is true that Massachusetts had claimed this territory between the Penobscot and the St. Croix-we shall leave Mr. Gallatin to discuss that claim with the men of Maine. But it leads us to an indication of what are likely to have been the objects and intentions of the treaty of 1783.
When France, at the peace of Paris in 1762, had ceded Canada and Nova Scotia, and that the whole of North America had thus become British, the province of Massachusetts attempted to get a share of the spoil by claiming, in virtue of some old charter, (which had been, of course, annulled by the French possession of the country,) the territories between the Penobscot and St. Croix on the east, and up to the river St. Lawrence on the north ; and they sent, in 1764, two agents, Mr. Mauduit and Mr. Jackson, to London, to negociate those demands with the Colonial Office of that day--the Board of Trade and Plantations. Mr. Mauduit writes to his constituents, the General Court of Massachusetts, that he had made an arrangement with the Board by which Massachusetts was, on the one hand, to relinquish all claim to run up to the St. Lawrence, and on the other to receive the accession of the lands between the Penobscot and St. Croix
Mr. Jackson and I were both of us of opinion that the narrow tract of laud which lies beyond the sources of all your rivers could not be an object of any great importance to you, though it is absolutely necessary to the Crown, to preserve the continuity of the province of Quebec.' Rep.,
This passage, conveying the advice and opinion of two official advocates of the rights of Massachusetts, and which was obviously in the thoughts of the negociators of 1783, the treaty being framed in strict accordance with it, is remarkably applicable to the present discussion in three important points: first, it explains the true principle of boundary by a division of waters, namely, to give each party the continuous course of its own rivers; next, that Massachusetts had no right to the lands to the northward of her own rivers, and, if she had, was ready to concede it for the lands between the Penobscot and St. Croix which the United States did obtain by the treaty; and lastly,—it shows the reason why
•, p. 18.
England finds it necessary to be so pertinacious in maintaining her right to this territory—because, if it was necessary to the Crown to maintain its communications when all the provinces belonged to the Crown, how much more so is it under present circumstances ?
But what follows is more authoritative.
In 1779, when the revolutionary war was obviously drawing to its close, the Congress of the United States passed a resolution, declaring the boundary for which they should contend in the treaty of peace
* That the thirteen United States are bounded north by a line to be drawn from the north-west angle of Nova Scotia, along the Highlands which divide those rivers which empty themselves into the River St. Lawrence from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean, to the northwesternmost head of Connecticut River. And east, by a line to be drawn along the middle of St. John's, from its source to its mouth in the Bay of Fundy, or by a line to be settled and adjusted between that part of the State of Massachusetts Bay, formerly called the Province of Maine, and the Colony of Nova Scotia, agreeably to their respective rights, comprehending all islands within twenty leagues of the shores of the United States, and lying between lines to be drawn due east from the points where the aforesaid boundaries, between Nova Scotia on the one part, and East Florida on the other part, shall respectively touch the Bay of Fundy, and the Atlantic Ocean.
• This passage is,' add the late Commissioners, significant, inasmuch as it not only fixes the north-west angle of Nova Scotia to be at the source of the St. John, but especially states the mouth of that river to be, not in the Atlantic Ocean, but in the Bay of Fundy.' (Rep., p. 19.)
When the treaty of 1783 came to be actually negociated, the American plenipotentiaries endeavoured to establish the boundary of the river St. John as stated in the foregoing resolution, but “it was peremptorily rejected by the English Government;' and Mr. John Adams, one of those plenipotentiaries, when examined on oath before the commission under the treaty of amity of 1794, deposed that
'One of the American commissioners at first proposed the river St. John, as marked on Mitchell's map; but his colleagues observing that, as the St. Croix was the river mentioned in the charter of Massachusetts Bay, they could not justify insisting on the St. John as an ultimatum, he agreed with them to adhere to the charter of Massachusetts Bay.' Rep., p. 20.
Here then we find that the line of the St. John was proposed -peremptorily rejected—and abandoned, and the treaty was concluded in that understanding and intent; and yet it is now pretended that this same treaty is to carry the boundary not only
up to the St. John (a proposition which had been peremptorily rejected and entirely abandoned) but into a large tract of country far beyond that river. The Americans say indeed that they abandoned the line of the St. John from its source to its mouth,' and that they now do not claim so much, for they give up the lower portion of the St. John and the lands lying between it and the St. Croix. But can any one believe, after America had admitted that the north-west angle of Nova Scotia was to be found at the head of the River St. John, that Great Britain, which peremptorily rejected their coming up to the line of the St. John at all, would or could consent to their thus running so far beyond it? Nor can it be alleged that there was any compromise or exchange of the territory between the St. John and the St. Croix on the eastern boundary, for that beyond the St. John now claimed as within the northern boundary; because the claim to the land between the St. John and St. Croix was abandoned by the Americans, not by way of compromise, but on the distinct admission that the St. Croix was the known existing boundary between Nova Scotia and Massachusetts, and that they could not justify’ the claim of the St. John.
Can anybody doubt then that the whole line of the St. John was abandoned by the United States, and that common sense, mutual convenience-the documents—the negociations, and the words of the treaty, all concur to show that it was intended by both parties to adopt the rational and equitable principle of leaving to each government the whole course of their respective rivers and the territories watered by themthe Penobscot and all its tributaries to the United States—the St. John to England ?
These last arguments seem to us so cogent that we really believe that the state and scope of this boundary question must be as little understood in America as it has been with us. We cannot persuade ourselves that any man in any part of the United States, whose candour and good sense is not obscured by some party or local interest, can look at the shape-position --and nature of the disputed territory-at the circuitous and extravagant extent of the American line, which seems to be more than twice as long as the comparatively straight and simple boundary offered by England-and above all, at the relative convenience and value of the disputed territory to the respective countries—without feeling the strongest conviction that the British line is that which must best express the original intentions of the parties. We go further-we hope, nay we believe, that, if the question were now to be negociated ab integro (clear of the adverse feelings which the long discussion may have generated), there is no American citizen, or at least statesman, who would not admit that the British boundary is the most natural and the most convenient--the least likely to lead to adverse pretensions on its borders-essentially necessary to England -not as to the mere territory, which is of small comparative value—but for the internal communications and the administration of her provinces—while to America it is little more than a naked question of so much swamp and forest, involving no great public convenience nor any serious or national interest whatsoever beyond its mere extent.
We do most respectfully, but most earnestly, implore the Anglo-American nation--by all those principles of amity and equity which should influence the intercourse of friendly powers, and particularly—if they will allow us to say so—by all those peculiar feelings which ought to connect the English and the Americans—whose interests, let us both be well assured, are more closely identified than those of any other two nations in the world —we implore, we say, the Anglo-American people to look at this question in a large and liberal spirit of conciliation and equity as well as of strict justice, and to take into their calm consideration the emphatic opinion and advice given-before any national rivalry existed—by the agents of Massachusetts in 1764, that the tract of land which lies beyond the sources of all your rivers cannot be an object of any great consequence to you, though it is absolutely necessary to England to preserve the continuity of her colonial government.'
III. We shall not run the risk of impairing whatever effect such an appeal may have, by any observations on the spirit which appears to have actuated the State of Maine in these discussions. We make great allowances for the peculiar position of the people of that State. In the first place, the State, and, therefore, every individual of it, have a general pecuniary interest in having so much additional territory to dispose of. Secondly — many, perhaps the most influential, persons have, no doubt, acquired personal rights, or entered into what may have been expected to be lucrative speculations in the disputed territory. Again, those who are clear of any interested motives may have a patriotic disposition to aggrandise both their State and their nation; and, finally, the long disputes and many collisions on the frontier cannot but have created, in addition to any national feeling, a peculiar exasperation in the immediate districts of Maine; and in a popular government all those feelings are necessarily, and generally too zealously, expressed by the governing body. We may regret, therefore, but we will not permit ourselves to complain of the temper and conduct of the people of Maine; and we will abstain from any examination of their detailed proceedings; for, however easy it might be to show them to be, in many instances, very unreasonable and very wrong