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THE QUESTION OF THE BOUNDARY
BETWEEN NEW BRUNSWICK AND
It will require some good management to prevent this from becoming a troublesome question, both to the British and to the American government. There is every appearance, and there are strong reasons for belief, that the President and Congress of the United States are inclined to enter upon the consideration of it with conciliatory feelings, and with a willingness to make mutual concessions. But there is a very embarrassing difficulty in the constitution of the American Union, as to the relative powers of the general government and the government of each particular state ; and in this instance the State of Maine expresses a resolution which, if it should not be controlled by the President and Congress, might be productive of very evil consequences. The following have been published as “ Resolves” of the Senate and House of Representatives of Maine.
“ STATE OF MAINE. “ Resolves in relation to the North-Eastern Boundary. • Resolved, — That it is not expedient to give the
“ assent of this State to the federal government, to “ treat with that of Great Britain for a conventional “ line for our North-Eastern Boundary; but that “this state will insist on the line established by the
“ treaty of 1783. “ Resolved, - That as this State has never heretofore.
“ given her consent to the appointment of an umpire, “ under the Treaty of Ghent, in 1814, but has pro“ tested against the same; and as she believes it to “ be a grave question whether the provision in the “ treaty for this purpose has not done its office, and “ is therefore no longer in force, she is not now pre“ pared to give her assent to the appointment of
“ a new arbiter. “ Resolved, - That our senators and representatives in
“ Congress be requested to urge the passage of a bill “ for the survey of the North-Eastern Boundary of “ the United States, &c., now pending in Congress; “ and that, if said bill shall not become a law during “ the present session of Congress, and if the govern“ ment of the United States, either alone or in con“ junction with Great Britain or the State of Maine, “ shall not, on or before the first day of September “ next, establish and appoint a commissioner for a “survey of the said boundary line, it shall then be the “ imperative duty of the governor, without further “ delay, to appoint forth with suitable commissioners “ and surveyors for ascertaining, running, and locat“ ing the North-Eastern Boundary Line of this State, cand to cause the same to be carried into operation. “ Resolved, — That the governor be requested to trans
“ mit to the President of the United States one copy “ of this message to the legislature on the subject of “ the North-Eastern Boundary; and these Resolu« tions, and one copy of the same, to each of the “ heads of departments at Washington; one copy “ to each of our senators and representatives in
“ Congress; and one copy to the governor of Massa“chussets.
“ In the House of Representatives, March 23, 1838. “ Read and passed. “ E. H. ALLEN, Speaker. " In Senate, March 23, 1838. Read and passed.
“N. S. LITTLEFIELD, President. . “ March 23, 1838. Approved.
“ EDWARD Kent.”
Fortunately there is an inclination shewn, even in these proceedings, for a further survey of the borders of Maine and New Brunswick; and, even if no useful geographical results should be obtained, time will perhaps be found in this way, which, if well employed, may induce on all sides wise dispositions. The British government cannot, of course, entangle itself in negotiations with a subordinate authority ; but if recent maps represent the country accurately, it is to be hoped that, in some way or other, the senate and representatives of Maine may be prevailed upon to advert to the acknowledged ignorance of the topography of the border country which prevailed in 1783, and to perceive that, since the features of the district have become better known, it is evident, to all who are willing to see it, that by the mere words of the treaty of that year there really is no line at all established between the source of the St. Croix and the highlands which divide the rivers that fall into the Atlantic Ocean from those which fall into the river St. Lawrence; inasmuch as those highlands lie to the west of all the sources of the St. Croix, and the treaty describes a line as to be drawn from the source“ directly north to the aforesaid “highlands."
The words of the second article of the treaty are as follow : “ And that all disputes which might arise in fu“ ture on the subject of the boundaries of the said United “ States may be prevented, it is hereby agreed and declared, oy water of said in, iver, ;
" that the following are and shall be the 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 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 river; thence down along the middle “ of that river to the forty-fifth degree of north latitude; “ from thence by a line due west on said latitude, till “ it strikes the river Iroquois or Caturaquy; thence “ along the middle of said river, into Lake Ontario ; “ through the middle of said lake, until it strikes the com“munication by water between that lake and Lake Erie; " thence along the middle of said communication into Lake “ Erie, through the middle of said lake, until it arrives at “ the water-communication between that lake and Lake “ Huron; thence along the middle of said water-commu“nication into the Lake Huron; thence through the “ middle of said lake to the water-communication be“ tween that lake and Lake Superior; thence through “ Lake Superior, northward of the Isles Royal and Phe“ lipeaux, to the Long Lake; thence through the middle " of said Long Lake, and the water-communication be“ tween it and the Lake of the Woods, to the said Lake “ of the Woods; thence through the said lake, to the " most north-western point thereof, and from thence, on " a due west course, to the river Mississippi; thence by " a line to be drawn along the middle of the said river “ Mississippi, until it shall intersect the northernmost “ part of the thirty-first degree of north latitude :-South, " by a line to be drawn due east from the determination of " the line last mentioned, in the latitude of thirty-one “ degrees north of the equator, to the middle of the river “ Apalachicola, or Catahouche; thence along the middle “ thereof, to its junction with the Flint river; thence
“ straight to the head of St. Mary's river, and thence “ down along the middle of St. Mary's river to the At“ lantic Ocean:- East, by a line to be drawn along the “ middle of the river St. Croir, from its mouth, in the Bay “ of Fundy, to its source ; and, from 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 “ within twenty leagues of any part 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, shall respectively touch the Bay of Fundy, " and the Atlantic Ocean; excepting such islands as now "“ are, or heretofore have been, within the limits of the “ said province of Nova Scotia.”
To prevent a misinterpretation of the words of this article, as far as they regard the eastern boundary of the United States, it is important, in the first place, to know and to bear in mind that, at the time when it was drawn up, the whole country about the sources of the rivers of Nova Scotia was a pathless forest; and in the second, to observe, that the treaty distinguishes the Bay of Fundy from the Atlantic Ocean, and speaks separately of the mouth of the River St. Croix, “ in the Bay of Fundy,” and of the rivers that fall into “ the Atlantic Ocean;" and, in the third, that the highlands, to which the line is directed to be drawn, from the source of the St. Croix, are the bighlands which divide the rivers that fall into “ the Atlantic Ocean” from those which fall into the river St. Lawrence. Of the rivers which fall into the Atlantic Ocean, the nearest to the St. Croix is the Penobscot : and the highlands, which divide some of its sources from those of the Chaudière, which falls into the St. Lawrence, are far to the westward of the sources of the St. Croix. If it is said that we must look to the continuation east