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The following sketch was first written as a note, upon a part of the register kept by Mr. James as Historiographer. Finding that many persons, even personally interested in the settlement of the Boundary Question, were unacquainted with the early transactions concerning it, and had neither time nor opportunity to wade through the mass of documents connected with the question, the author has ventured to publish in this form the brief summary then written, believing that it might prove useful to some. He has also ventured to suggest in a NOTE at the end, what he believes to be the only means by which a fair settlement of the question could be really arrived at.
The disputed points regarding the limits of certain possessions of the Crown of Great Britain on the Continent of America, and the Republic of the United States, dating from a period considerably anterior to the reign of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, it may be necessary briefly to state the facts which had previously occurred affecting that question, in order that the present state of the case may be clearly understood. * In the famous treaty of 1783 between the King of Great Britain and the United States, it becamne necessary to define the respective limits of that country, which had claimed and established its independence of Great Britain,
* The whole of this sketch having been drawn up as a note upon the register of remarkable events, which I kept as Historiographer, during part of Her present Majesty's reign, I have not thought fit to alter the above sentence.
and of those territories adjacent which remained subject to the Crown of Great Britain.
The definition of boundaries has always been extremely difficult in continental states; and in the present instance the terms made use of were so vague, and the various points along which the line was to be carried were so ill ascertained, that thirty-one years afterwards several most important points of dispute remained unsettled, and various islands in the bay of Fundy, together with a large tract of territory on the Continent of America, were claimed by the United States on the one hand as part of the Republican possessions, and by Great Britain on the other as part of British America according to the true meaning of the treaty of 1783. The clauses in that treaty affecting the question in dispute, were as follows :
" ARTICLE II. “ 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 northwest 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 until it strikes the river Iroquois or Cataraquy; thence along the middle of said river, into Lake Ontario; through the middle of said Lake, until it strikes the communication 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-communication into the Lake Huron ; thence through the middle of said Lake to the water-communication between that Lake and Lake Superior; thence through Lake Superior, northward of the Isles Royal and Phelipeaux, to the Long Lake ; thence through the middle of said Long Lake, and the water-communication between 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