I rise, Sir, in pursuance of my notice, to move for copies or extracts of the communications which have taken place between the British Government and Lord Ashburton, their plenipotentiary at Washington, on the subject of the treaty signed at Washington on the 9th of August last; and for reasons which I will proceed to state, I am induced to hope that her Majesty's Government will not refuse me these papers. In the first place, her Majesty's Government have already laid upon the Table a portion of the papers, which were included in my original notice. In the first week of the present Session, my hon. Friend, the Member for Montrose, asked the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Government, if he did not mean to lay before Parliament those communications between Lord Ashburton and Mr. Webster which had been laid before Congress, and which had been published in all the newspapers in the United States and in England. The right hon. Baronet at first gave a hesitating answer; but on being further pressed by my hon. Friend, he ended by what appeared to me to be a pretty positive refusal. Thereupon I gave notice that I should move for the production of those papers, and the silent eloquence of a notice on the order book, seems to have been more persuasive with the right hon. Baronet than the vivâ voce appeal of my hon. Friend; for the right hon. Baronet, without waiting for my motion, laid the papers on the Table, and they have been for the last week in the hands of hon. Members. Therefore, as the right hon. Baronet has been induced to reconsider his first determination in regard to this part of the correspondence, I am not without hope that, upon further reflection, he may also reconsider the intention which he has announced to withhold that second portion of the correspondence for which I am now about to* From a corrected Report.1163 move; and that, although he said a few days ago that he would not grant it, he may, when he has heard my arguments, be prevailed upon to comply. Again, the right hon. Baronet, without even being asked to do so, has recently laid upon the Table the correspondence between the late Government and their plenipotentiary at Washington, upon the Boundary Question, from June, 1840, to August, 1841; not merely extracts, but complete copies of our instructions to Mr. Fox, and of his replies to us. I am glad the right hon. Baronet has done so. These papers are a continuation of the previous correspondence of the same kind, which we ourselves had, upon two former occasions, laid before Parliament at the suggestion of the right hon. Baronet; and it was right and proper that Parliament, having had the previous part of that correspondence, should also have its conclusion. But as the right hon. Baronet has thought that no public inconvenience would arise from laying our correspondence on the Boundary Question before Parliament, I should hope that he will not think that any public inconvenience would arise from also laying before Parliament the correspondence of the present Government upon the same question. If our correspondence has been thought fit to stand the light of day, it is to be hoped that theirs will not be thought by themselves less fit to undergo the same ordeal. I have, then, in support of my present motion, the example of what both we, when in office, and the present Government, now that we are out, have done in regard to our negotiations on this Boundary Question; and I trust that what has been thought right in regard to our correspondence, will not be thought wrong in regard to theirs. Moreover, there are persons in this country who are disposed to approve of this treaty of Washington, There is nobody, I believe, who thinks it a good treaty, nobody who does not think it a bad and very disadvantageous bargain for England. But there are some people who were so anxious to get the dispute settled, that they are glad to see it settled upon any terms, even upon the disadvantageous conditions contained in this treaty. Those persons are disposed to bestow praise upon the parties by whom this transaction has been brought about; and it is right that such persons should know in what proportions the praise which they are ready to award, should be divided 1164 between the Government that gave the instructions, and the plenipotentiary who conducted the negotiation. On the other hand, there are persons, of whom I profess myself to be one, who think that this transaction deserves blame; that the negotiation was unskilfully conducted; that the tone of the British representative throughout was undignified; and that the terms agreed to by the treaty are unnecessarily disadvantageous to Great Britain. Such persons ought to be able to know in what proportion the blame which they think to be due should be shared by the Government at home, and the plenipotentiary at Washington. Both parties, therefore, those who praise and those who blame, equally stand in need of the papers which I am going to move for, in order to arrive at a right judgment on these matters. But for my present purpose, which is to discuss these matters, the treaty itself, and the correspondence between Lord Ashburton and Mr. Webster, which has been laid on the Table, will be sufficient; and the arguments by which 1 shall endeavour to support my opinions will find foundation enough in these documents alone. I well know that in proceeding to express my dissatisfaction at the Treaty of Washington, I shall be met with the stale and hacknied charge that my language and opinions have a tendency to disturb the friendly relations between this country and foreign powers, and to bring on the risk of war. It is easy to endeavour to silence by such accusations those who think the Government have not properly maintained the interests, or asserted the honour of the country. But I shall not be deterred by such a charge from performing what I think a public duty. On former occasions I have disregarded such imputations, and I shall equally disregard them now. I trust that the part which it fell to my lot to take in the management of our foreign relations, during the ten years I had the honour to hold the seals of the Foreign Office, will afford a sufficient proof that I am not so irrational as not fully to appreciate the value of peace. There is indeed no rational man in these times, and in this country, who must not feel that peace is one of the greatest blessings which nations can enjoy, and that war is one of the severest calamities that can afflict mankind. But if this be true in the abstract, and if peace in general, and with all nations, ought to be the great aim of those 1165 who are charged with the Government of this country; the United States is of all countries, that with which it ought to be our object to maintain, not merely peace, but the most intimate connection. I remember to have seen in the writings of a clever Frenchman the remark, "that nations have no cousins;" by which I apprehend was meant, that nations in their relations with each other are not swayed by those sympathies and affections which guide the mutual intercourse of individuals, but are governed by a dry regard to what they may from time to time believe to be their own particular interest. The remark is a just one, and ought never to be lost sight of by public men. But if there be an exception to that maxim, that exception may be found in the connection that exists between this country and the United States. The people of the two countries may indeed be termed blood relations; community of origin, of language, of literature, of manners, of laws, of religion, almost identify the two nations; while the peculiar nature and character of the industry of each, fit the two, in a remarkable degree, for mutual commercial intercourse. But still the people of the United States are a separate political community, divided from us by geographical position, and having separate interests of their own, which may on many occasions conflict with, and be at variance with ours, and on such occasions, as they most assuredly will not unduly sacrifice their interests for us, so neither ought we unduly to sacrifice our interests for them. The permanent security of peace is not promoted by such sacrifices; for it is a maxim of international intercourse, that unequal treaties and compacts, however much they may seem to smooth temporary difficulties, and to get rid of embarrassments of the moment are not in the long run consistent with reciprocal good feeling, and tend to endanger rather than to consolidate peace. Therefore, if this treaty is unfair in its terms, and unjustly disadvantageous to England, it is not calculated to promote in the end that concord and harmony which I am sure we all of us wish to see established between Great Britain and the United States. I will not trespass upon the time of the House by describing in detail the origin and progress of those differences about boundary, between the British North American provinces and the United States, which this treaty professes to settle. These 1166 matters are well known to all. It is well known that these differences arose out of the preliminary treaty of November 1782, and the definitive treaty of September 1783, which acknowledged the independence of the United Slates, and fixed their boundaries. The preliminary treaty of 1782, described what those boundaries were to be, and the definitive treaty of 1783, repeated word for word the description contained in the treaty of 1782. But the article in the treaty of 1783, which contained that description, contained also a remarkable preamble, a preamble remarkable as an instance, shewing how vain are sometimes the expectations of those, who boast that treaties like these, have settled all disputes, once and for ever. The second article of the treaty of 1783, begins with these words:—And that all disputes that may 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,—And then follows a description of those boundaries in the same words as in the preliminary treaty of 1782. But this treaty, which was to prevent all future disputes, has been the fertile source of disputes from that time to this. For every part of the boundaries therein described, except such parts as were defined by well known rivers, or by the beach of the sea, has been by turns the subject of controversy. But my present business is only with that part of the boundary which lies between the mouth of the St. Croix in the Bay of Fundy, and the point where the forty-fifth parallel of north latitude strikes the river St. Lawrence. That portion of the boundary is thus described in the treaty. It is therein said that the line is to run from the mouth of the St. Croix in the Bay of Fundy, up the middle of the stream of that river to its source; thence due north to the Highlands, to those Highlands, namely, which divide rivers that empty themselves into the river St. Lawrence from those which fall into the Atlantic ocean; then down along those Highlands to the north-westernmost head of the Connecticut river; then down the middle of that river to the forty-fifth parallel of north latitude; then along that parallel till it strikes the river St. Lawrence. Now the first dispute which arose upon this part of the boundary was as to which river was the St. Croix. There are several ri- 1167 vers flowing into the sea in those quarters which, at various times, had received from the French the name of the St. Croix. The Penobscot and the Scondiac had each received that name. The American negotiators of the treaties of 1782 and 1783, had indeed taken care to exclude the Penobscot; because they had specially described the river which was to be the boundary, as being the St. Croix which has its mouth in the Bay of Fundy; thus distinguishing it from the Penobscot, which has its mouth out of the Bay of Fundy, and in the Atlantic Ocean; but there is another smaller river with an unpronounceable Indian name, which has its mouth also in the Bay of Fundy, but still further eastward than the Scondiac, and to this river the Americans laid claim as being the St. Croix of the treaty. This question was decided in favour of Great Britain, and justly; for there can be no doubt that the Scondiac is the river meant to be designated in the treaty as the St. Croix. The next question was, which was the source of St. Croix. That river, like most others, branches off as you follow it upward from its mouth, into a number of confluent streams, and the question was, which of the two principal branches should be considered as the main stream, and should bear the name of the river itself. We claimed the stream which had its source most to the westward; the Americans claimed the stream which had its source about eighteen miles further to the eastward. The British and American commissioners had previously agreed upon an arbiter to decide between them in case of difference; that arbiter happened to be a citizen of the United States, and this question was decided against us, and the easternmost source was fixed upon as the starting point of the due north line. This decision was clearly wrong, and has been the cause of much inconvenience since; but the British Government of the day formally acquiesced in it; and the faith of the country having been pledged, there was no possibility of retracting the acquiescence thus given. A monument was then erected at the point so determined, to be considered as the source of the St. Croix, and that monument became thenceforward, the starting point for the due north line. Commissioners were then appointed under the stipulations of the treaty of Ghent, to trace upon the ground that due north line from this monument to 1168 the Highlands, and from thence, down those Highlands, and along the forty-fifth parallel to the St. Lawrence. These commissioners began from the monument, but they soon differed. The British commissioners declared, that they had found, south of the St. John, and not far from Mars' Hill, the Highlands of the treaty, and there they asserted the due north line ought to stop; and from that point, they said the boundary was to run along Highlands, south of the St. John, to the head of the river Connecticut, The American commissioners, on the other hand, denied that these were the Highlands of the treaty, and pushed on the due north line, about a hundred miles further, and declared that they had found the Highlands of the treaty at the source of the Metis, a long way north of the St. John, and not far from the bank of the St. Lawrence. Here, then, was another point of difference. The British commissioner maintained, that the boundary from the due north line to the head of the Connecticut, ran south of the St. John; the American commissioner asserted, that it ran north of that river. Upon the next part of the boundary they agreed. Both parties concurred in declaring that the mountain range which runs from the sources of the Connecticut in a north-westerly direction, is for about eighty miles of its north-westerly course, a portion of the boundary according to the treaty of 1783; because that mountain range fulfills the conditions of the treaty, by dividing the Chaudière which falls into the St. Lawrence from the Kennebec, which falls into the Atlantic Ocean and, moreover, it runs down into the sources of the Connecticut. At about eighty miles north-west of the Connecticut, and somewhere near the source of the Metjarmette, this portion of the boundary, mutually acknowledged as such, was met by the two lines which the British and American commissioners respectively drew from the due north line, the one to the south, the other to the north of the St. John. But then a difference arose as to which of the confluent streams, which unite to form the Connecticut, should be deemed to be its north-westernmost source. The Americans claimed the confluent, most to the west, called Hall's Stream; I we claimed the confluent most to the east, which passes through the Connecticut Lake, and which from its greater size and volume, is evidently the main branch of 1169 the river. The district lying between these two streams, and which would be American or British, according as the one claim or the other might be established, is not very large, but is pretty well inhabited. From this quarter down the Connecticut River, to the 45th parallel of north latitude, of course there could be no dispute; but a difference arose as to the line which should be deemed to be the 45th parallel of north latitude from the Connecticut to the St. Lawrence. This same parallel of latitude had been an inter-provincial boundary before the revolt of the North American colonies, and on that account it was adopted as an inter-national boundary in 1782 and 1783, because the treaties then concluded, acknowledged the independence of certain provinces which had taken part in the war. This line was laid down and marked out in 1772, by two surveyors, Valentine and Collins, as the boundary between the provinces of New York and Quebec; and, from the treaty of 1783 down to 1818, the line so laid down by those surveyors had been considered to be the boundary between the United States and Canada; and the land on each side of it had been settled accordingly. But in 1818, in pursuance of the Treaty of Ghent, two skilful astronomers, the one appointed by Great Britain, and the other by the United States, laid down this line anew by correct astronomical observation; and the result of their observations, in which they both unanimously concurred, was, that the old line of Valentine and Collins was wrong, and that for a distance of more than 100 miles, the true parallel of latitude runs from half a mile to a mile further south than the line of Valentine and Collins; and that thus a strip of that length and breadth, which till then had been supposed to belong to the United States, did, in fact, according to the letter of the treaty of 1783, belong to Great Britain. This strip happens to contain a military position of some importance, called Rouse's Point, a small peninsula at the northern end of Lake Champlain, commanding the entrance into that lake, from the River Richelieu. On this point, the Americans, believing the ground to be their own, had begun a military work, the completion of which they suspended in consequence of the discovery made in 1818, that the strip did not belong to them. These then were the points of difference betweeen the two 1170 governments about the boundary, from the Bay of Fundy to the River St. Lawrence, in latitude 45; and not being able to come to an understanding on these points, they agreed by treaty in 1827, to refer them to the arbitration of some friendly sovereign, formally binding themselves to abide by his decision; and in 1829 they chose the late king of the Netherlands as arbiter. The points to be referred were, which were the Highlands of the treaty of 1783; which was the north-western-most head of the Connecticut River, and how the 45th parallel of north latitude was to be ascertained. The House may naturally ask what difference could arise between the two governments on this last mentioned point, seeing that the American and British astronomers had unanimously concurred in their correction of the erroneous line of Valentine and Collins. The fact is, that it was thought by the Americans an object of importance to retain the strip, which lies between the two lines, both because, as I have stated, it had been occupied by American settlers, and because it contained the commanding position of Rouse's Point. They therefore bethought themselves of some expedient by which they might claim it. The heavens would not give them what they wanted, so they had recourse to the lower regions of the earth.Flectere si nequeo superos, acheronta movebo.Astronomical observations would not serve their turn, so they put forward the principle of geocentric measurement. They said, that the proper way to ascertain parallels of latitude was not, as hitherto practised, by astronomical observation, but by drawing lines from the centre to the circumference of the earth. Now as the earth is not a perfect sphere, but somewhat flatter at the poles than at the equator, lines drawn at equal angles from the centre, to different parts of the circumference, will cut off unequal portions of the surface of the earth, according as they intersect that surface nearer to, or further from, the equator; and it appeared that the 45th parallel ascertained by this method, would lie some way further north than when ascertained by the usual method of astronomical observation. This doctrine was strongly resisted on the part of Great Britain, and it is but just to the United States' government to say that it 1171 wag given up by them in 1829, when the two parties laid their statements before the arbiter. But they then took up another ground and contended that the avowedly erroneous line of Valentine and Collins ought to be adopted in preference to the correct line laid down, in 1818, by the British and American astronomers. This, then, was one point to be referred to the arbiter. Another was, which was the northwestern-most head of the Connecticut River; and the third point was, which was the north-west angle of Nova Scotia, or in other words, which were the Highlands of the treaty. These two last mentioned questions were in fact identical, as will appear from the following considerations. If the words of the proclamation of 1763, which define the boundary between the province of Quebec and the province of Nova Scotia, be compared with the words of the treaty of 1783, which describe the boundary between the two countries, it will be obvious that the same Highlands which made the former boundary were intended also to constitute a portion of the latter. But to establish the boundary between Quebec and Nova Scotia, the proclamation of 1763 took those Highlands all the way from the 45th parallel to the end of the Bay of Chaleurs, whereas the treaty of 1783 made the international boundary run along them from the head of the Connecticut, only as far as the point where the due north line from the source of the St. Croix should intersect them. The point, therefore, where the due north line should intersect the range of Highlands which extended from' the head of the Connecticut to the end of the Bay of Chaleurs, would evidently become the north-west angle of Nova Scotia, and the north-east angle of Maine. The three points just mentioned were elaborately argued in statements prepared by each side; the two governments communicated these statements to each other, and each made a counter-statement in reply to the statement of the other party; and these statements and counter-statements were sent to the King of the Netherlands in 1829. In January 1831, about two months after Lord Grey's Government came into office, the King of the Netherlands made his award; and that award came to this country accompanied by a protest which had been made against it by Mr. Prebble of the State of Maine, then representative of the United States at the Hague. Mr. Prebble 1172 made this protest upon his own responsibility, and without instructions from his government; and he founded his protest upon the circumstance that the king of the Netherlands had made an absolute decision upon two only, out of the three points referred to him, and had stated in regard to the third, that no absolute decision could be made upon it, and that he therefore thought it proper that a middle course should be adopted with respect to it; and Mr. Prebble contended, that although the two governments were bound by the treaty of 1827 to submit implicitly to the absolute decisions of the King of the Netherlands, they were not bound to subscribe to the middle course which he had thought the proper one to be adopted. The two points which this award had decided, were decided in our favour. It decided that the 45th parallel of north latitude should be ascertained by fresh astronomical observation; but it added, that as this decision would give to Great Britain the long strip between the correct line and the old line of Valentine and Collins, and as that strip included Rouse's Point, on which the Americans had gone to some expense in building a fortified work, Rouse's Point ought to remain with the United States. The award decided that the stream which we claimed as the north-westernmost head of the Connecticut River is the stream which ought to be so considered. But in regard to the question where the north-west angle of Nova Scotia ought to be, that is to say in regard to the question whether the range of Highlands claimed by us, or that claimed by the Americans, were the Highlands of the treaty, the King of the Netherlands said that no absolute decision could be made. He said that neither the one range nor the other fulfilled, entirely and strictly, the conditions of the treaty of 1783. Those conditions were, that the Highlands should be the Highlands which divide the rivers that empty themselves into the St. Lawrence from those which fall into the Atlantic Ocean, and that these Highlands should extend continuously from the point where the due north line intersects them, down to the sources of the Connecticut River. I think that a fair construction of the words of the treaty does not require that the Highlands should fulfil the river-dividing condition at the particular point at which the due north line intersects them. That condition was mentioned in 1173 order to identify the Highlands which were intended to be the boundary; and if Highlands are found which in any part of their course fulfil that condition, and if they extend continuously from that point to the point where the due north line intersects them, it seems to me that those are the Highlands of the treaty. But the king of the Netherlands took a different view of this matter, and he assumed that the Highlands to be found, ought, according to the treaty, to fulfil the river-dividing condition at the particular point at which the due north line intersects them. But this he said neither of the two lines did. As to the mountain range on the north of the St. John, claimed by the United States, he said that range did indeed throw down rivers or streams along its northern slope into the Lawrence, but that all the streams which fell down the southern slope of that range were intercepted by the St. John before they could reach the Atlantic Ocean, and were carried by the St. John, not into the Atlantic Ocean, but into the Bay of Fundy, which the King of the Netherlands considered the treaty of 1783 to have contradistinguished from the Atlantic Ocean. As to the mountain range to the south of the St. John, claimed by Great Britain, he said that this range did indeed throw down rivers, such as the Penobscot, along its southern slope, into the Atlantic Ocean; but that all the rivers which flowed down its northern slope must be intercepted by the St. John before they reached the St. Lawrence, and were by the St. John carried not into the St. Lawrence, but into the Bay of Fundy. Therefore, as neither line appeared to him to fulfil the conditions of the treaty, he declared that it was fitting that an intermediate line should be adopted; and this line, beginning at the point where the due north line intersects the St. John, was to run up along the mid-channel of that river to the mouth of the St. Francis, then up the middle of the St. Francis to its source, then to the nearest point of the line claimed by the United States, and thence along that line down to the north-westernmost head of the Connecticut River. It became the duty of the British Government, upon receiving this award, to consider what they should do. We might have taken the same objection to it which Mr. Prebble, acting upon his own authority had made. But considering the unqualified nature of the engage- 1174 ment entered into by the British Crown, by the treaty under which the reference was made, we did not think that a due regard to the honour and good faith of the country would allow us to take that ground. If we had done so, and if the American government had afterwards insisted upon having the award executed, and if serious differences had thereupon arisen between the two countries, and we had been obliged to come down to Parliament for support, I think that Parliament would not have sanctioned such a course; but would rather have been of opinion that we had taken our stand upon too nice a point, and that the friendly relations of the two countries ought not to have been disturbed on account of so technical a distinction. Moreover, it did not appear to us to be expedient to object to that award. It is true, the award was very disadvantageous to England as compared with what we believed, and what all our predecessors had believed, to be our just right to the whole of the territory in dispute. But the British Government had decided not to stand out nakedly for our extreme right, when it had agreed to refer the matter to arbitration. We felt warranted in assuming that our predecessors in the Government had accomplished al that labour could effect in collecting information, and had exhausted all the resources of ingenuity in founding arguments upon that information. The statement of our case submitted to the King of the Netherlands was indeed a goodly folio volume; and therefore, there seemed no reason to suppose that if we rejected that award, and went to another arbitration, we should be able to make any important addition to the matter which had been submitted on our behalf to that Sovereign. Nobody could doubt the fairness and impartiality of the King of the Netherlands, or the laborious industry with which his Government had investigated the questions which they had had to consider; and, therefore, it did not seem probable that if the same statements were to be laid before another arbiter, supposing the Government of the United States to consent to such a course, any more decisive or satisfactory result could be obtained. It was not probable that we should find any other arbiter more favourably disposed towards us than the King of the Netherlands. There were circumstances at that moment which must have tended to make 1175 him incline as much in our favour as a sense of justice would permit him to do. Great Britain was one of the powers who were at that time engaged in settling questions deeply affecting his interests; and it was not likely that he should go out of his way to excite the resentment of the British Government by swerving from just impartiality to the prejudice of Great Britain. We therefore transmitted this award to the government of the United States, informing them that we were willing to submit to it in its entirety, in pursuance of the engagements taken by Great Britain by the treaty of 1827. At the end of a year and a half, in July 1832, the Senate of the United States came to a decision on this matter, and determined to reject the award, upon the same grounds on which Mr. Prebble had in the outset protested against it. For some time afterwards, not seeing any better course, we continued to press the American government to reconsider their determination. At last, finding that they persisted in rejecting the award, we declared that we were no longer bound by our offer to accept it, and that thenceforward the two parties were as free in this respect, as they were before they had agreed to refer the matter to arbitration. Various propositions were then from time to time made and discussed between the two Governments. We wishing to negociate for a conventional line, while the United States government urged that further endeavours should be made to trace out the line, in conformity with the words of the treaty. There was one proposal made with this view by the American government, which at first sight seemed to hold out the prospect of a result highly favourable to Great Britain. Mr. Livingston suggested that, as it appeared, from the result of the reference to the King of the Netherlands, that no such Highlands as those described in the treaty could be found in a due north line from the source of the St. Croix, and as both Governments had at various times expressed an opinion that in this respect the treaty could not be literally executed, an attempt should be made to find the Highlands of the treaty to the westward of the due north line; and that a line drawn from such Highlands to the head of the St. Croix, should be part of the boundary. Mr. Livingston said, that such a departure from the strict words of the treaty would 1176 be justified by some principles of surveying practised in America; and that Highlands so found, if they fulfilled the conditions of the treaty, might be declared by the federal government, upon its own constitutional authority, to be Highlands of the treaty. At first sight this was a tempting proposition; because it seemed to be an abandonment, on the part of the American government, of the whole of the disputed territory. For every body knows that by going far enough westward, such Highlands could be found; every one knows that west of the sources of the St. John, and between the sources of the Chaudiere and Kennebec, Highlands exist, which do indisputably divide rivers that empty themselves into the St. Lawrence, from rivers which fall into the Atlantic Ocean; and if it had been agreed that a line drawn from those Highlands to the monument at the source of the St. Croix, should be the boundary, such a line would have given to Great Britain more than she had ever claimed,—more than the whole of the disputed territory. But nobody could be so simple as to suppose that such was really Mr. Livingston's intention. In order, however, to ascertain what the intention of the American government really was, it was necessary to find out whether they persisted in adhering to the American interpretation of the treaty of 1783, by which it had been contended that no distinction was to be drawn between the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Ocean, and that for the purposes of the treaty the St. John was an Atlantic river. For if they adhered to this interpretation, then the only effect intended by this proposal of Mr. Livingston was to amend the American case in a point, in which it was confessedly defective. The defect I allude to in their case was this, that the north line, when it comes to the point at which they would make it finish, and from whence they would branch off to the westward, along their assumed Highlands, that is to say, about the source of the Metis, does not intersect a mountain range, but terminates in a flat swampy tract, elevated, no doubt, above the level of the sea, but constituting a table land rather than a mountain range. But it was known that some ten or fifteen miles to the westward of this point the hills rise, and begin to assume the character of a mountain range. If, then, by the adoption of Mr. Livingston's proposal, the line had been de- 1177 flected from the due north direction to this point, the Americans would have said, now we have found the Highlands of the treaty, for you cannot deny the mountain character of these hills, and they fulfil the river-dividing condition of the treaty, since they throw down streams to the north into the St. Lawrence, and to the south into the St. John, which falls into the Atlantic Ocean. We found, upon inquiry, that the American government still adhered to their interpretation of the treaty of 1783 upon this river question, and the only concession they would make on this point was, that the British and American commissioners to be employed in laying down the boundary should be accompanied by an arbitrating commissioner, to be appointed by some friendly sovereign, and with power to decide all matters, including this river question, upon which the British and American commissioners might differ. But this river question lay at the very root of our claim. We were thoroughly convinced of the correctness of our interpretation of it, and the King of the Netherlands had adopted that interpretation; and it would have been very unwise to have exposed so important a point to hazard by subjecting it to the chance of another decision, by the inferior arbitrating authority of a single commissioner. The question, as I have already said, was whether the Bay of Fundy is or is not, for the purposes of the treaty, a part of the Atlantic Ocean. The British Government had always contended, and in my opinion most justly, that the words of the second article of the treaty of 1783, establish a clear distinction between the Bay of Fundy and the Atlantic Ocean. It was necessary for the purposes of the American negotiators that such a distinction should be clearly established, because without such a distinction, it might have been doubtful whether the Penobscot or the Scondiac was the St. Croix intended as part of the boundary. Both rivers had borne the name of the St. Croix; but the Penobscot has its mouth in the Atlantic Ocean, the Scondiac has its mouth further east in the Bay of Fundy; and in order to shew that it was the Scondiac, and not the Penobscot, that was to be the boundary, the treaty says, that the line is to be drawn along the St. Croix from its mouth in the Bay of Fundy while in the preceding sentence it mentions the river St. Mary as falling into 1178 the Atlantic Ocean. Another confirmation of our interpretation is to be found by comparing the wording of the proclamation of 1763 with that of the treaty of 1783. Both of these documents mentioned the same range of Highlands, namely, the range which extends from the sources of the Connecticut to the upper end of the Bay of Chaleurs. The proclamation declared that range in its whole extent to be part of the southern boundary of the province of Quebec. The treaty declared that part of that range which should lie between the sources of the Connecticut and the due north line from the head of the St. Croix to be a portion of the boundary of the United States. But there is a most important difference in the terms in which the proclamation and the treaty describe those Highlands. The proclamation describes them as the Highlands which divide rivers that empty themselves into the river St. Lawrence from rivers that fall into the sea. While the treaty describes them as the Highlands which divide rivers that empty themselves into the river St. Lawrence from rivers that fall into the Atlantic Ocean. Why was the more general term, the sea, which was used in the proclamation of 1763, converted into the more specific term, the Atlantic Ocean, which was used in the treaty of 1783? Why, manifestly in order to establish a clearer distinction between that portion of the sea so intended to be described, and that other portion of the sea which was intended to be described as the Bay of Fundy; and, as on the one hand, for American purposes, the Bay of Fundy was specified in order to identify the river meant as the St. Croix, and which has its mouth in that bay, so on the other hand, the Atlantic ocean was specified for British purposes, in order to identify the rivers flowing to the southward, which the dividing Highlands were to separate from rivers falling into the St. Lawrence. Not choosing, as I have said, to leave the decision of this question to a single arbitrating commissioner, we agreed, however, that commissioners should be appointed by the two governments, who should explore and examine the country, ascertain facts, and report for the information of the two governments; believing that such a commission might furnish the two parties with the elements by which they might arrive at a better understanding. In the course of our communica- 1179 tions we had come to an agreement with the American government as to such an arrangement, and we sent them a draft of a convention framed in accordance with that agreement. But when the American government received that draft, they changed their mind; and said, that circumstances which had happened on the frontier led them again to press for the appointment of a commission, which should not merely ascertain facts and report, but should finally decide and settle everything. With this view, they proposed a commission to consist of six; three of whom were to be appointed by each party; with the understanding, that if two on each side, that is to say, four out of the six, concurred on any point, their concurrence should be decisive as to such point; and that all points upon which two on each side, making four on the whole, could not agree, should be referred for arbitration to another commission to consist of three scientific men, one to be named by each of three friendly powers. Anxious to bring this long pending matter to a final settlement, we agreed to this proposal, as we had before assented to the previous one. But then the American government endeavoured to attach to this arrangement fresh conditions, to which we could not possibly agree, and so the matter rested when we went out of office. One of these conditions was, that we should acknowledge Mitchell's map to be evidence bearing upon the question. Now Mitchell's map is well known to be extremely erroneous as to the latitude and longitude of important places. Fox instance, the upper end of the Bay of Chaleurs is put down in that map, at least, forty miles too far to the north, and the source of the St. John about the same distance too far north also. The effect of these errors is, that if you draw a line from the sources of the Connecticut to the upper end of the Bay of Chaleurs upon Mitchell's map, that line will run entirely north of the river St. John, whereas if that line be drawn upon a correct map, or be traced out upon the face of the country, it will run, as far as the disputed territory goes, entirely to the south of the St. John; we therefore refused to admit Mitchell's map as evidence of the topography of the country; we contended that as no map had been attached to the Treaty of 1783, it did not signify what map had been used by the negotiators of 1180 that treaty, and that the questions at issue must be decided by the words of the treaty, and by the real configuration of the country itself. We were ready to agree that each party might lay before the commissioners any maps or documents which they might choose to produce, but we maintained that such maps and documents must be considered only as exparte statements, unless their correctness and validity should be acknowledged by the commissioners on both sides. Another condition much pressed by the American government was, that commissioners from Maine should accompany the Joint-Exploring Commission, and to this we decidedly objected. We had all along urged the American government to agree to a conventional line, as we saw no prospect of an agreement in laying down the line according to the words of the treaty. But the federal government had declined our proposal, and the ground they took was this: they said that they could not agree upon a conventional line without the consent of the State of Maine, because a conventional line implied a giving up of some claimed right which had not been disproved; and they could not give up any such right on the part of Maine without the consent of that state. Now Maine had formally refused to consent to a conventional line, had declared its opinion that the boundary could be laid down in strict conformity with the words of the treaty, and had called on the federal government to make another endeavour to do so. But the interpretation of the treaty rested with the federal government alone, and that the government was competent without the concurrence of Maine, to take all necessary steps for carrying the treaty into execution. We had acquiesced in this doctrine. But when the thing to be done was to establish a joint commission to carry the treaty into execution, we held it to be directly at variance with that doctrine, to propose that agents from Maine should accompany that commission. Such agents could have no legitimate functions to perform, and it was obvious that their presence would give rise to perpetual disputes, and would convert the enacampment of the commissioners into a constant field of battle. The pretext upon which the federal government urged this proposal was, that circumstances might arise in the course of the survey which might afford an opening for a negotiation for a con- 1181 ventional line; but the obvious answer to this was, that even if such should happen, our negotiation for a conventional line must be with the federal government, and not with agents from Maine; that it would be for the federal Government, and not for the British Government, to come to an understanding with Maine; and that there would always be time enough for that; and that for such purpose it could in no degree be necessary that agents from Maine should accompany the commission. But the late Government did not confine themselves to these negotiations; we thought it expedient to gain information for ourselves, without waiting for the appointment of this joint commission, and in1839 we sent out commissioners to survey the two lines of boundary claimed by Great Britain and the United States respectively, and to ascertain by local observation which of those two lines fulfilled most nearly the conditions of the treaty of 1783. Those conditions being, that the Highland range must be continuous to the sources of the Connecticut from the point of its intersection with the due north line from the head of the St. Croix; and that it must in some part of its course divide rivers falling into the St. Lawrence, from rivers falling into the Atlantic Ocean. Two most able and experienced commissioners were appointed for this purpose, Colonel Mudge and Mr. Feat her stonhaugh. It is impossible to speak too highly of the skill and scientific knowledge which they brought to bear upon the performance of their duties, nor could anything exceed the personal labour and fatigue which they underwent in order to perform those duties efficiently and correctly. They had all proper aid in the way of assistants to accompany them, and they were provided with every instrument which they deemed necessary or useful; and I am confident that implicit reliance may be placed upon the result of their labours. They returned to this country in the beginning of 1841, and proved by their report that the line claimed by Great Britain did fulfil the conditions of the treaty; that it did divide rivers that fall into the St. Lawrence from rivers that fall into the Atlantic Ocean, and that it was continuous, from its intersection with the due north line, down to the head of the Connecticut. These commissioners had not lime to survey the 1182 whole of the line claimed by the Americans, but from what they had observed, there was good reason to think that such line did not fulfil the conditions of the treaty. In consequence of this, we sent out a second commission, in the summer of 1840; and this commission, consisting of Captain Broughton, of the engineers, and Mr. Featherstonhaugh, jun., was directed to explore the line claimed by the United States. These commissioners returned at the end of 1841, and it appeared by their report that the line claimed by the Americans in no respect fulfilled the conditions of the treaty. In the first place, it did not constitute a Highland range at the point where it was intersected by the due north line, for that line, as reported by these commissioners, terminates in a low swampy flat near the source of the Metis; secondly, it did not in any part of its course divide rivers falling into the St. Lawrence from rivers falling into the Atlantic Ocean; and lastly, instead of running down in a continuous range to the sources of the Connecticut River, it swept away far to the westward of those sources, and was separated from them by an extensive plain at least five and twenty miles broad. This, then, completely decided the question as to whether the mountain range claimed by the Americans could be the Highlands of the treaty; because even if they had presented the proper character of elevation at the termination of the due north line, which they did not; and if they had divided rivers falling into the St. Lawrence from rivers falling into the Atlantic Ocean, which also they did not; no line of boundary drawn along them could ever reach the sources of the Connecticut, which the treaty required the line of boundary to be drawn along the Highlands to do. Here we had proof, afforded by actual survey, completely establishing our own claim, and completely negativing the American claim, and this proof was still further corroborated by the arguments contained in the report of Colonel Mudge and Mr. Feat her stonhaugh, and founded on a minute examination and comparison of official records. These were the proofs then which the present Government had in their possession at the beginning of 1842; proofs which none of their predecessors had had, and which placed them, in regard to this boundary question, in a situation entirely different from that 1183 in which any preceding Administration had stood. They had not indeed at that time in their possession other evidence of which we have lately heard so much; they had not then that red-lined map, on which Dr. Franklin one of the American negotiators of the treaty of 1782 had marked down the boundary in exact conformity with the British claim; but that red-lined map was at that time in the hands of the American government; and so, between the English documents on the one hand, and the American documents on the other, the proof of the entire justice of our claim was established in the fullest and most conclusive manner. Thus circumstanced, the British Government had their choice what course to pursue. First, they might have carried into execution the" plan, which, in principle, and in all but some of its accessory details, had been agreed upon, between their predecessors and the American government; and they might have established a joint commission for laying down the boundary, with an accompanying arrangement for arbitration in case of difference; and they might have felt the more at their ease as to the probable result of such a commission in consequence of the knowledge which they then possessed, that the features of the country were decidedly in favour of our claim. But they may have thought that this course might be tedious, that the survey might occupy much time, and that it was desirable to settle the matter sooner than could be done by such a survey. In that case they might have proposed to the American government a fresh reference to arbitration. In the present state of the world, an impartial sovereign might surely have been found, willing and able to undertake the task. To such a sovereign we might have referred not only the statements submitted to the King of the Netherlands, but the important and conclusive evidence which had been collected since; and though we were not in possession of Dr. Franklin's red-lined map, yet it seems that in the beginning of 1842, a red-lined map of our own was discovered in the State Paper Office in London, tallying precisely with Dr. Franklin's red-lined map in the Royal Library at Paris. So armed, I think the British Government might have gone fearlessly to another arbitration. But I will admit, for the sake of argument, that the Government may have thought a second arbitra- 1184 tion likely to be too dilatory a process, and even with all our proofs, not unattended with risk. They may have feared that the most impartial sovereign might be swayed by some jealousy of the power and greatness of England. A third course was then open to them, that of endeavouring to negociate with the Federal Government direct, for a conventional line. This was the course they adopted; I do not blame them for it; it was what we always wished; but we were repeatedly told that the State of Maine would not consent to a conventional line and insisted on the line being drawn in strict conformity with the treaty; but it was natural to suppose that in proportion as the people of Maine found that the surveys of our commissioners had shewn that the strict execution of the treaty would be all in our favour, they might become more disposed for a conventional line, and less urgent for the strict execution of the treaty. Assuming, then, that a negotiation for a conventional line was to be the course, there were two ways in which that negotiation might be carried on; first, by the ordinary organs of negotiation, that is to say, either with the American Government through our established Minister at Washington, or through the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, with the American Minister here; or, secondly, it might be carried on by a special mission. There are advantages in carrying on a negotiation by the ordinary and established organs of the Governments concerned. A negotiation so conducted may not attract much notice; its existence may, indeed, scarcely be known, except to the parties engaged in it; and if it should fail, its failure may escape general observation, and may leave the two parties much in the same relative situation in which they stood before; excepting always the additional inconvenience of its having been found, that at least one scheme of arrangement had proved to be impracticable; and therefore, in general, it is better to negotiate by the ordinary organs, than by a special mission. There is, besides, another inconvenience attending a special mission; for not only does its failure leave, by means of its publicity, the matter which was to be settled, in a worse situation than it was in before, but a knowledge that such will be the consequence of failure, exerts a pressure upon the special negotiator and upon the Go- 1185 vernment that employs him. No man who goes with pomp and parade upon a special mission likes to come back empty handed; he fears that his want of success will be ascribed, at home, not so much to the unreasonableness of the other party, as to his own want of skill; he will, therefore, always be urging his Government to make every possible concession, rather than let him return leaving the matter unsettled. On the other hand, the Government who has sent him, will not like to have entirely failed; and thus special missions are apt to turn out in favour of that party which is the most pertinacious; and those who have read the papers on the Table, will easily see which party had the advantage in that respect, in this late negotiation. But the Government determined to send a special mission; and I will not take upon me to condemn the prudence of that decision. They may have had sufficient ground for such a course; but then they ought to have been very careful in the selection of the Minister they sent out. The noble Lord for North Lancashire said upon a former occasion, that there could not be two opinions as to the choice they had made, and that the noble Lord who had been sent out, was admitted by universal consent, to be the fittest person for the purpose: I stated at the time that I differed from the noble Lord opposite, and that for various reasons I thought the choice which had been made, was an inexpedient one. Now, in arguing this matter, I trust 1 shall not be led to say anything inconsistent with the most perfect personal respect for the noble Lord who was employed on this mission. That noble Lord has long held a prominent position in political affairs in this country. He is deservedly respected by all, for his public talents, and is esteemed for his private virtues by all who have the pleasure of knowing him. Nothing can be further from my wish than to say anything which can favour of personal disparagement of that noble Lord; but in this country, if any man accepts public employment, and more especially if there be committed to his charge great national interests, he must expect that those who may think that he has not properly performed his duties, nor sufficiently guarded the public interest, will criticize freely the course which he may have pursued. Now, when we are about to entrust the manage- 1186 ment of any interest, private or national, to the hand of an individual, we naturally look out for somebody who is heart and soul in our cause; who is convinced that we are right, and thinks that the matter we are contending for is of real importance to us; and especially we are careful that the person so to be employed, should have no conflicting feeling towards the adverse party, by which he might unconsciously be swayed in the performance of his task. Now, the noble Lord in question, has large possessions and a princely fortune in this country, and has interests here of the deepest and strongest nature; but he is also connected by many ties of a similar kind with the United States. Do I find fault with him for this? or do I mention it in disparagement of him? Quite the reverse. I think, that the circumstance that eminent men should be found, possessing large properties in both countries, is not only honourable to such individuals, but advantageous to both nations. Such men are bonds of union between the two; they are links tending to connect the two countries in permanent friendship, and to prevent small differences from assuming a serious aspect. But every man has his use. If the two countries were to agree to appoint one person as sole mediator between them, they might properly appoint a person having almost equal interests in each, and an almost equal desire for the welfare of each; but when the Government are about to appoint a negotiator to fight the battle of the country with an adverse negotiator, whose feelings are all enlisted on the other side, they ought to choose a man who has no connection of any kind with the other party, and it is as well that he should have some knowledge of the practice of negotiation. I know that some persons imagine that in negotiation a plain, simple, straight-forward man will do just as well as the most experienced and skilful diplomatist. But the House may depend upon it that the same rule holds good in negotiation, as in any other employment of the intellectual faculties, and that a man, who has some acquaintance with the practice, will, cœteris paribus, have an advantage over a man who has none. But the noble Lord, though long and much engaged in public life, has never, that I am aware of, been employed in diplomatic negotiation. Now was the Government driven by any 1187 necessity to appoint an inexperienced negotiator, and had they no other choice? If they wanted a man of great skill and knowledge as a practical negotiator; perfectly conversant with the question to be discussed; intimately acquainted with the country in which, and with the people with whom the negotiation was to be carried on; and remarkable for his conciliatory manners and disposition; they might have chosen Sir Charles Vaughan, many years our representative at Washington, and who was one of the most popular Ministers we ever had in any foreign country. But if the Government thought that the splendour of a title, and the dignity of a peerage were necessary to give full weight to the mission, and if they wanted to unite with those conditions, eminent talents and long experience in the diplomatic profession, there was Lord Heytesbury, one of our most distinguished diplomatists, well known also for his conciliatory manners; and though the course of his professional duties had not led him to have any concern with the question to be treated, yet his great capacity would have enabled him in a very short time, to make himself fully master of it. Either of these men would have been well suited to the purpose; and there was nothing in the political opinions of either, to prevent the most confidential communications between them and the Government. The Government, however, chose Lord Ashburton; and he proceeded to his post, and opened the negotiation with Mr. Webster; making in the very outset a mistake, which arose from his not being sufficiently acquainted with the practice of negotiation. The noble Lord complained in his first note, that it was unfair, that he should be subjected to the disadvantage of having to speak first, and to make the first proposal. Now there seems to me to have been nothing unjust or unfair in requiring the noble Lord to make the first proposal, even if it were a disadvantage for him to do so. It was natural for Mr. Webster to say to Lord Ashburton, you have been sent here by your Government, uninvited, upon a special mission; you have left all the enjoyments of your home, to cross in the midst of the gales of winter the broad Atlantic; you surely must have something to say: you must have some proposal to make—tell us what it is. It was unreasonable in the noble Lord to expect that Mr. Webster 1188 was to make a proposal to him. But I do not agree with the noble Lord in thinking that it is a disadvantage to have the first move in negotiation any more than at chess; if that move is skilfully made. If indeed that first move is unskilfully and imprudently made, then in negotiation as at chess, he who makes it may be checkmated, as the noble Lord has certainly been. However, the noble Lord made his proposition, and described it as an ultimatum; and this, I think, was another mistake. It was a mistake so to describe it, if he did not mean to take his stand upon it; if he did not mean to do so, it was a mistake to begin with it. I think it ought to have been his ultimatum; for he ought not to have consented to any territorial division less advantageous to England than that which he at first proposed. But it is unusual in negotiation to make a first proposal, an ultimatum; it is not courteous; it is dictatorial and offensive to the other party. It is the way a very strong power treats with a very weak one: a conqueror with the vanquished. "My first word is my last: take this, or you shall have nothing." Such a course is not consistent with courtesy, either between nations or individuals. Every negotiator wishes to be able to shew to the Government which employs him, that he has gained something by the skill with which he has conducted the negotiation; so that by asking at first something more than you are prepared to take, and by making a little concession afterwards, you give your adversary the means of going back with a feather in his cap; and his feelings are gratified by his being able to shew, that he has obtained for his country, better terms than were at first offered to him. Lord Ashburton's first proposal, in regard to the boundary was, that the line should run along the mid-channel of the St. John, from the point where the due north line intersects that river, up to its southernmost source; with the exception only that the Madawaska settlement on the southern bank of the St. John, should belong to Great Britain. He said, that on general principles he should have been content with the St. John as a boundary, because a river was a good line of demarcation; but he was under the necessity of insisting upon retaining for Great Britain the Madawaska settlement. The people had urgently and recently petitioned the Crown not to transfer them to the United 1189 States; it would be unjust and cruel to abandon them; and in no case could he consent to do so. Now, what said Mr. Webster to this? He replied—A river boundary is no doubt a good one; rivers and mountains are the best boundaries; but you depart from your own principle of a river boundary, when you demand the Madawaska settlement. If we were to give it you, we should have, for a certain distance, a boundary drawn arbitrarily across the country, and marked by no natural feature; and this would be inconvenient. Moreover, let me tell you in a friendly way, that as to the Madawaska settlement, you cannot, and shall not, have it; for we cannot permit you to have a foot of land south of the St. John. To this Lord Ashburton replied—That it was very hard and very cruel to transfer the British subjects in the Madawaska settlement from an allegiance which they desired to retain, to one which was repugnant to their feelings; but if he could not keep them, and must not keep them, why he supposed that he must give them up; and, therefore, although he had said that in no case could he abandon these people, yet, if other points were agreed upon, he would make no insurmountable difficulty about this. Mr. Webster, in the same letter in which he insisted upon having the Madawaska settlement, made his counter proposal for the remainder of the boundary line. He said that a river boundary was undoubtedly one of the best; but then there were rivers and rivers; and though the St, John would make a very good boundary, up to a certain point, yet beyond that point it took a crooked turn, and would not do, He said, that he knew what England wanted as well as, or better than, the noble Lord. All that England wanted, or could possibly want, was a road of communication between New Brunswick and Canada; and that, she ought to have. But the footway between the two, runs first along the St. John, and then up the Madawaska river, and so on by the Temiscouata lake. The boundary ought then to follow this line; to run along the St, John, to the mouth of the Madawaska, up that river to Long lake, and then across to the line claimed by the United States, and so on to the source of the Connecticut. But as the British footway runs along the western bank of the Madawaska, he would allow us a strip of three 1190 miles wide along that bank so as completely to include that footway. This proposition produced upon Lord Ashburton an effect somewhat like that which the Chinese said a proposition of theirs produced upon Sir Henry Pottinger, our negotiator at Nankin. The Chinese said, that when they made certain propositions to Sir Henry Pottinger, "The barbarian stared at them indignantly." The British Plenipotentiary at Washington seems indeed to have stare at this proposal of Mr. Webster's, but there was not much indignation in his stare; although this proposition gave to England less than the award of the king of the Netherlands would have given, and we were besides to make several additional concessions which I shall hereafter mention. It was once said by the hon. Member for Finsbury (Mr. Wakley) that governments are made of squeezable materials. But the most squeezable materials may be squeezed so hard that you can reduce them no further; even the air, one of the most yielding of known substances, may be so compressed, that the whole power and art of man cannot get it a hair's breadth further. So was it on this occasion with Lord Ashburton. The Madawaska settlement he was ready to give up, though he had solemnly declared that in no case would he do so. But this further proposition of Mr. Webster's was too much even for him. He protested that it was impossible to submit to it, and that rather than let the boundary fall back from the St. John to the Madawaska, he would himself go back from Washington to London. This was the very thing the Americans were watching for; this was exactly the thing which they wanted to find out. They wanted to ascertain what was the extreme point to which our plenipotentiary could be driven, and what was the utmost extent of concession which could be wrung out of him. Wherever he definitively stopped, there they were prepared to stop also. It is said of the Welsh peasantry, that in making a bargain with an Englishman, they care not so much for the actual amount which they may get, as they do to have the satisfaction of knowing that they have got all which it is possible for them to obtain. So it was with the Americans, they wanted to find out how much it was, by any means, possible for them to get from our negotiator; they had now found it, and they were satisfied. Accord- 1191 ingly, Lord Ashburton's refusal to accept this proposal of the river Madawaska as a boundary was communicated by Mr. Webster to the commissioners from Massachusets and Maine, who had been summoned to assist him in the negotiation; and those commissioners, but especially those from Maine, replied by letters, which beginning with flourishes that seemed the prelude to a rupture ended by a relinquishment, for the sake of peace and concilliation, of the demand which they had previously made. Mr. Webster then proposed to Lord Ashburton another line of boundary, not quite so bad as that which Lord Ashburton had thus rejected; but still giving to the United States a large tract of territory north of the St. John, and therefore beyond the line which our negotiator had begun by proposing as his ultimatum. Now, whether our plenipotentiary was, or was not, right in beginning with an ultimatum, it must surely be clear that having stated his first proposition, as one from which he could not in any case depart, he ought to have stuck to his declaration. It is not consistent with the dignity of a great country, that its plenipotentiary should say one day—"This is my proposal, and beyond this I will not go," and that in the very next step of the negotiation, when he finds his proposal objected to, he should give it up as readily as he had made it. I think he should have taken his stand upon the Madawaska settlement and the fine of the St. John. We had in our exclusive possession the whole of what that line would have given us, and as long as we had chosen to keep it, the Americans never could have got it from us. But I will assume, for the sake of argument, that our minister might have been justified in giving up the Madawaska settlement south of the St. John; either being convinced by Mr. Webster's reasoning in favour of a river boundary; or being swayed by any other consideration; or having been instructed by his own government to do so. But I cannot conceive any justification for his acquiescing in Mr. Webster's proposal of a line north of the St. John. His reply should have been, you objected to my proposal that Great Britain should retain the Madawaska settlement south of the St. John, alleging that in that case a part of the boundary would not have been marked by a river, or by any natural feature of the country, but 1192 would have been a line to be arbitrarily traced; and now you yourself depart from your own principle of a river boundary, and propose one, of which a considerable portion is marked by no natural feature either of river or mountain, but runs along the country like a steeple chase, crossing and overleaping all natural alignments. When our Plenipotentiary asked for the Madawaska Settlement, south of the St. John, Mr. Webster told him that he could not have it; for that England could not be permitted to retain one foot of land south of the St. John; Lord Ashburton ought to have replied in a similar way to Mr. Webster's demand for territory to the north of that river, and to have said to him, in an equally friendly but in a firm manner, you will not let us have anything south of the St. John, and as a friend allow me to tell you, that we will not permit you to have one foot of land to the north of that river; you cannot have it, and you shall not have it. But could we have made good such a declaration? For nothing certainly can be more unwise than to make a declaration of such a kind, unless you have the means of making it good. Most undoubtedly we could have made it good. No American had ever set foot to the north of the St. John, and none could ever get there but by our permission. The tract of country demanded by Mr. Webster was exclusively in our hands, and if not obtained from us by concession, could never have been wrested from us by force. I am thoroughly convinced, that if our negotiator had shewn upon this question the same firmness which Mr. Webster displayed about the Madawaska Settlement, we should have had the boundary of the St. John, instead of the wretched Boundary of the present Treaty. But I will suppose that he was not warranted by his instructions in holding such vigorous language; still, even in that case, there were other means which, if judiciously employed, might have obtained for us at least the Boundary of the St. John; for the negotiation went upon the assumption that the Boundary should be settled upon the ground of reciprocal considerations and equivalents. But considerations and equivalents presuppose some basis agreed upon by the two parties, and the ill result of this negotiation was in a great measure owing to the erroneous basis on which our Plenipotentiary allowed it to be placed. 1193 I said, that the first move in a negotiation is an advantage, if it is skilfully played; and why? Because it enables the negotiator who speaks first, to choose his own ground, and he is thereby the more likely to arrive at a satisfactory result. Now the basis which Lord Ashburton ought to have taken was, that Great Britain was entitled to the whole territory in dispute; but instead of this he allowed Mr. Webster to place the negotiation on the basis, that the whole territory belonged of right to the United States; and that all that England was to be permitted to retain, was to be bought by her for considerations and equivalents. Lord Ashburton ought to have been instructed-to begin by submitting the whole of our case to Mr. Webster, and to have explained to him fully the grounds on which our claim rested. He should have stated our case frankly, without reserve or concealment, as a man anxious to make a good settlement between two friends would do; and he should have invited a communication equally frank and unreserved from Mr. Webster. He might have said, as he did, that he was a plain man, not accustomed to the arts of negotiation, and that he thought a frank and unreserved comparison of cases might be a good preliminary to a fair settlement. He should have laid before Mr. Webster the two reports of our Commissioners, and should have explained their bearing on the case; and he should have exhibited that red-lined map, which was found in our State Paper Office, shewing the Boundary to be such as we claimed it. Who knows what effect such frankness might have produced upon Mr. Webster—who knows, that on the sight of our red-lined map, he might not have exclaimed, 'Well, to tell you the truth, we have got a red-lined map also, and here it is, and I must fairly confess that it tallies exactly with yours.' I cannot help thinking that if this course had been pursued, a different result would have been obtained; at all events, such a course and such an explanation of the proofs of our claim, must have had an effect upon so sagacious a man as Mr. Webster. He might not have acknowledged that his own opinions were shaken, but he must have seen that our proofs might go far to convince an arbitrator. It was a matter of the utmost importance that, in a negotiation of this kind, we should be enabled to shew in the outset, that the strength 1194 and merits of the case rested with us. In the settlement of any matter, public or private, which is to be adjusted upon fair and equitable terms, the question, what terms are fair and equitable between the parties, must depend upon the relative justice of their respective claims. That settlement which would be fair if one party is in the right, would be unfair if the right lay with the other party. In a private arbitration the main point to be ascertained is, which party would be most likely to be successful, if the matter ended in a law suit; and that party ought of course to have the best of the compromise. This is human nature. I say then that our Plenipotentiary made two mistakes in the outset of the negotiation. First, in throwing overboard all discussion as to the proofs of the respective claims of the two countries; and secondly, in allowing the American minister at once to place the negotiation on the basis, that the whole territory in dispute belonged of right to the United States, and that all we were to get of it was to be obtained by concessions and equivalents. However, the negotiation had arrived at the point, at which Mr. Webster said, that the most advantageous boundary which we could be allowed to have, was a line up the St. John, from the due north line to the mouth of the St. Francis; thence up the St. Francis to a certain lake, and thence in a straight line across the country to a certain point on one of the northern branches of the St. John, and thence to the source of the Connecticut. This line giving to the United States a large tract of territory to the north of the St. John. I will suppose, that on the one hand Mr. Webster would not consent to any division of the territory more favourable to Great Britain, without some equivalent; and that Lord Ashburton could not, according to his instructions, insist upon a more favourable division, without purchasing it by some equivalent. Were there not several things which our negotiator might have offered as equivalents for this territory north of the St. John? Undoubtedly there were. First, there was the privilege of carrying United States produce, duty free, down the St. John, through New Brunswick; and thence, if we chose to allow it, duty free to this country. This was a great boon to be offered to the people of Maine. It was a privilege they had formerly asked for, and were most 1195 anxious to obtain. Here was one equivalent that might have been offered. Then, again, there was the territory at the head of the Connecticut, lying between Hall's Stream, which had been claimed by the United States, and the main stream, which had been declared by the King of the Netherlands to be the true north-westernmost source, and which any man going to the spot must at once see is the main stream. This territory was certainly not so large as that demanded by Mr. Webster, north of the St. John; but it was of more relative value, and was occupied by settlers, while the other was an un peopled desert. Here was another equivalent. Than there was the long strip a hundred miles in length, and varying from half a mile to a mile in breadth along the forty-fifth parallel, and lying between the old line of Valentine and Collins, and the true line laid down by the American and British astronomers. No doubt could exist that this strip was ours, according to the treaty of 1783. But this might have been given up to the United States, either with or without Rouse's Point, as might have been deemed most expedient. Here was another equivalent, and one which the Americans would have felt to be of great value; because this strip is chiefly peopled by citizens of the United States, who would dislike being transferred to British dominion; and because Rouse's Point is an important military position. Again, there was a sugar island called St. George's Island, between Lake Huron and Lake Superior, containing about 25,000 acres of fertile land, and claimed by us, but which both from its value and its position was desirable to the United States; here was another element of negotiation. To these three last cessions Mr. Webster might have objected that they must of course go to the contiguous States and not to the State of Maine; and that consequently they would not form equivalents for the territory north of the St. John, which, if retained by the United States, would belong to Maine. But the answer to this would have been, we know nothing of the differences between Maine, New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire; in accordance with your constitution we negotiate with you, the Federal Government of the whole Union; to you we give, from you we receive; and it is for you to apportion among your component States the results of our negotiation. But 1196 if this objection created a difficulty, there was the mineral district, consisting of 4,000,000 of acres, lying between Lake Superior and the Lake of the Woods, which, if given up, would belong to the Union in the aggregate, and not to any separate State, and this might have formed another equivalent. Here then were a number of things, any one or all of which, if necessary, might have been given in exchange for the territory north of the St. John. But before the negotiation had arrived at the point at which these equivalents might have been offered for the territory north of the St. John, all these things were gone. They had all been given away; spontaneously and gratuitously. Our plenipotentiary had indeed gone over to America with a bag full of equivalents to be used if necessary; but he was so uneasy under the weight of this burthen, that the first thing he did, was to throw down his bag and its contents at the feet of Mr. Webster, to shake it out clean, and to take good care not to leave a single thing at the bottom. Mr. Webster very naturally took up the squandered equivalents, one by one as they were thrown down, and put them one by one into his own pocket, in order that they might not be taken back again. He said, you give us the navigation of the St. John; we are really very much obliged to you; it is a valuable present, and a thing we have long wished for. You have given it us, and we will keep it. You offer us the district at the source of the Connecticut. This is not so important a gift as the other, but still for friendship's sake, I willingly accept it. Again, you say you are determined to give us the long strip along the forty-fifth parallel, including Rouse's Point. This certainly is an important gift; I can assure you we understand the full value of this, and are very much obliged to you for it indeed. But what is this: oh this is a sugar island; thank you very much for it; we have no sugar islands of our own; to be sure you have plenty, but it was very good of you to give us this. As to the 4,000,000 of acres of mineral district, our negotiator was also thanked for it; and Mr. Webster probably thought, that though as yet it can be of little value to either party, still, if British capitalists can be persuaded to lend money to work it, it may turn out a source of much profit to the United States. Thus, were all these 1197 things thrown away in the beginning of the negotiation: and when our plenipotentiary wanted something to give in exchange for the territory north of the St. John, he had nothing left to offer for it. Thus situated, he had no alternative but either to break off the negotiation or to submit to the terms that were imposed upon him. He preferred the latter course, and said, "Draw up your treaty as you please; send it me quickly, and I will sign it at once,"—and so it was done. I contend that in this way a treaty has been signed, containing terms disadvantageous to this country; and which, if the negotiation had been conducted with more skill might have been avoided, and which I am very sure we should not have had to submit to, if either of the diplomatists whom I have mentioned had been employed in this business. Why, let me ask, did the Americans insist upon having territories north of the St. John? That district could be of no value to them for any of the ordinary purposes of territory. We have been told by Lord Ashburton, and it was not denied by Mr. Webster, that the territory north of the St. John grows little timber, and that when the timber now upon it shall have been removed, the land is ill adapted for cultivation and settlement; it connects no two portions of the United States territory, but is an excrescence jutting out beyond the rest of their frontier. But it has one, and one only value to them; it is a salient point, projecting into our limits, and interposing between Canada and New Brunswick, by which they will have additional means of threatening us in case of new differences, or of attacking us in the event of war; and it is precisely on this account that they ought not to have been allowed to have it. [Cheers.] I know very well what the right hon. Baronet opposite means by that cheer. He means that we were willing to accept the award of the King of the Netherlands, and that by his award this territory was to belong to the United States. I am quite aware of that; but I say it is childish to tell me that because ten years ago the former Government, in a very different state of knowledge as to the proofs of the justice of our claim, and impelled by a sense of treaty obligations, thought fit to submit to that award, therefore the present Government, with full proofs of our right, and unfettered by any treaty, ought vo- 1198 luntarily to accept such disadvantageous terms. It is true that we have retained our roadway from New Brunswick to Canada; but the United States frontier is carried up so near to the St. Lawrence, that in a state of hostile relations they would be able to cut off the communication by land between New Brunswick and Quebec. As to the free navigation of the St. John, those who are advocates for free-trade, in its largest sense, and who think that imports should be exempt from all duties whatever, will view with satisfaction the article of this treaty, by which the produce of Maine, both Corn and Timber, will be admitted duty free into the United Kingdom, upon passing down the St. John through New Brunswick; and it will not diminish the satisfaction of such persons to be told, that as the Americans have opened a water communication between the Penobscot, which falls into the Atlantic, and the Allagash, which falls into the St. John, the produce of a very extensive tract of country may find its way hither duty free, under the stipulations of this treaty. Those, I say, who think that import duties ought to be abolished, and that the whole revenue should be raised by direct taxes upon land, and upon accumulated capital, will, of course, not disapprove of these arrangements. But I do not hold those opinions; and, however anxious I am for a more extended commerce between this country and the United States, I do not see why American produce should be imported into this country duty free, and why we should make this unnecessary sacrifice of revenue which we want. As to the district which we cede at the head of the Connecticut, it might or it might not have been wise to give that up; but at all events, we ought to have had something for it. It was one of the elements of negotiation, and ought not to have been thrown away. As to the strip of land along the 45° parallel, that was certainly a matter of no great importance to us, but a thing of much value to the United States, because chiefly peopled by their own citizens; it was clearly ours, but the surrender of this might have obtained for us some valuable concessions in return. But Rouse's Point was of some importance, and ought not lightly to have been abandoned. It is quite true that when the late Government consented to accept the award of the King of the Netherlands, they agreed to 1199 that part of his award which gave Rouse's Point to the United States; and it was one of the sacrifices we were prepared to make to good faith, and a wish for peace. But, at that time, the attention of the British Government had not been so strongly drawn to the military importance of Rouse's Point as it has been since; we were not then as well aware as now, of the value which military men attach to that position. Upon this subject, I need only remind the Government of certain military reports upon the defences of Canada, dated in 1840 and 1841, which they have in their possession, which were drawn up by persons whose authority on such matters they will not, I am sure, dispute; and which explain the great importance of commanding the outlet of Lake Champlain. These reports quote certain other reports made by United States officers, and published by Congress, pointing out that Lake Champlain, which runs deep into the United States, is the best quarter for assembing a force to invade Canada; and that the River Richelieu which runs from Lake Champlain into the St. Lawrence is the readiest road by which such a force could invade our provinces; and that to facilitate such an invasion, or to protect themselves against invasion by us, it was of great importance that they should have the command of the northern outlet of Lake Champlain. Those United States officers add:—The military consequences of the occupation of the outlet of Lake Champlain are so obvious, that it must not be supposed they are not perfectly understood by our neighbours across the border.But the outlet of Lake Champlain is commanded by Rouse's Point; and I will venture to predict that now that Rouse's Point is ceded to the United States, we shall one of these days have submitted to us a proposal, for which I shall probably vote, to allot a large sum of money for the construction of some citadel further down the Richelieu, perhaps near the Isle aux Noix, to counteract and keep in check the United States fortress on Rouse's Point. Now, even if the present Government had thought that the importance of Rouse's Point has been exaggerated by military authorities, and that Canada can be well defended without it, still it was a possession much valued by the United States, and which ought not to have been abandoned without some corresponding 1200 equivalent. As to St. George's Island and the Mineral district, they have little or no political importance, and can only be regarded as representing so much value. In this point of view I do not grudge the United States these acquisitions of territory, though one might have thought that with their vast un peopled regions, they have already territory enough; but still, I do not see why, in an arrangement between equal powers, the gain is to be all on one side and the loss all on the other. But, after all, is this boundary entirely settled? I do not think it is. For one portion of the boundary is to be settled by the application of the fashionable principle of a sliding-scale. Yes, literally, one portion of this boundary is to be determined by a scale, which is to slide up and down the northern branch of the St. John, till a point is found, which shall be so many miles from one spot, and so many from another spot which still remains to be discovered. The words of the Treaty are these:—From the outlet of Lake Poyenagamook the boundary shall go south-westerly in a straight line to a point on the north-west branch of the river St. John, which point shall be ten miles distant from the main branch of the St. John in a straight line, and in the nearest direction; but if the said point shall be found to be less than seven miles from the nearest point of the summit or crest of the highlands that divide those rivers that empty themselves into the St. Lawrence from those that fall into the River St. John, then the said point shall be made to recede down the said north-west branch of the River St. John to a point seven miles in a straight line from the said summit or crest.This might really serve for a Christmas puzzle. I only hope that the sliding-scale will produce more satisfactory results when applied to our geographical relations with the United States, than it has in our commercial relations with them. These then are my objections to this part of the treaty which relates to the Boundary Question. I think the negotiation was unskilfully conducted; that we took too low a ground; that we treated upon an unfair basis; that we threw away concessions which ought to have been employed to procure for us better terms; and that the interests, rights, and dignity of the country have been unnecessarily sacrificed. I now come to anther part of this treaty, which has reference to another subject, still more interesting than that of the boundary, because 1201 it involves higher considerations, and concerns not merely one province or one nation, but principles of universal application, and affecting the whole of the human race. I allude to articles 8 and 9, which relate to the slave-trade. I am sorry to say, that since the present Government came into power we have made great strides backwards in all that relates to slavery and the slave-trade. One great stride is this Washington treaty, by which we virtually and formally accept from the United States a most inadequate, a most incomplete,—I will not say valueless, be cause some value it certainly has—but certainly a most insufficient engagement instead of a fulfilment of that article of the treaty of Ghent, by which the United States bound themselves to use their best endeavours to abolish the slave-trade. The tenth article of the treaty of Ghent, between Great Britain and the United States, says, thatWhereas the traffic in slaves is irreconcilable with the principles of humanity and justice, and whereas both his Majesty and the United States are desirous of continuing their efforts to promote its entire abolition, it is hereby agreed that both the contracting parties shall use their best endeavours to accomplish so desirable an object.Now no man can say that the eighth and ninth articles of the treaty of Washington are a fulfilment of this promise of the United States to use their best endeavours to accomplish the entire abolition of the slave-trade. Another great step backward that has been made in regard to the abolition of the slave-trade since the present Government came into office was the refusal of the French Government to ratify the treaty of the 21st December, 1841, for the mutual right of search, which had been concluded between England, France, Austria, Prussia, and Russia. The history of that treaty is well known to this House. It is shortly this. In 1831 and 1833, the British government concluded with that of France treaties giving the mutual right of search for the suppression of the Slave Trade. England had long known and felt that the mutual right of search was indispensably necessary for the suppression of the Slave Trade. It is indeed but too true, that as long as the condition of slavery anywhere exists, the Slave trade cannot be entirely nor permanently extinguished, because there will always be a great temptation to 1202 carry slaves to those countries where slaves may be bought and sold; and nothing can completely put an end to the Slave trade, but the universal abolition of slavery itself. But even during the continued existence of slavery, we may greatly keep down the slave trade, and reduce it within infinitely narrow limits by an active and watchful police on the sea. But such a police cannot be exercised without a mutual right of search; and that mutual right of search will be ineffectual and liable to be eluded, until it shall have been consented to by treaty by every state that has a flag flying on the ocean. And this you may depend upon, that in every country, be that country which it may, in every country where a clamor is raised against the mutual right of search for the suppression of the slave trade, at the bottom you will find, as the instigators of that clamor some slave trading or slave holding interest. Of this there cannot be the slightest doubt. Now the late Government felt the great importance of getting all the naval powers and states of Christendom to unite in a general league for the suppression of the slave trade; and immediately on coming into office, we addressed ourselves to France, and obtained from her the treaties of 1831 and 1833 which were greatly to the honour of both countries; and the effect of those treaties was, to put an end at once to the slave trade, which, up to that time, had been carried on under the French flag. England and France then addressed themselves to Austria, Prussia, and Russia, and requested those powers to accede to the treaties of 1831 and 1833; and there being among the subjects of those powers no slave traders or slave holders; and the governments being therefore free from the sway of any sinister influences; they most readily agreed to join with England and France in our endeavours to accomplish the great object we had at heart. As a matter of international etiquette, however, these three powers declined acceding to the previously concluded treaties between England and France, but said that they were perfectly willing to conclude, as original contracting parties, a new treaty with England and France, of the same nature and effect. There could, of course, be no objection to this proposal, and it was agreed to by England and France. The English Government thought this a favourable op- 1203 portunity for making some slight improvement in the treaty which had been concluded with France; the principal one was an extension of the geographical limits, within which the right of search was to be exercised according to the treaty with France. Those limits were narrow, and although they had been found sufficient for the extinction of the French slave trade, we thought it would be better to enlarge them, in a treaty which was intended to prevent the slave traders of Spain and Portugal, and of Brazil, from seeking shelter and protection under the flags of Austria, Prussia, and Russia. We therefore proposed to insert in this new treaty the wider limits which are specified in our treaties with the Netherlands and with Spain. After a good deal of negotiation about matters of detail, all the parties had come to an understanding, and the treaty was pretty near ready for signature, when there arose the unfortunate differences between France and the other four powers about the affairs of Syria. Of course, while those differences lasted, we could not ask the French government to sign this slave trade treaty. But on the 13th July, 1841, France signed the treaty of the Dardanelles with England, Austria, Prussia, Russia, and Turkey, that is to say, with the very same powers who had been parties to the treaty of the 15th July, 1840, the original cause of her irritation. This treaty of the Dardanelles was one of much political importance, but especially so at that moment, as being a token and a public announcement of the reconciliation of France with the five powers who had engaged in the treaty of the 15th July, 1840. Before we left the room, after signing that Dardanelles treaty, I asked the French plenipotentiary if he was then ready to sign the slave trade treaty which had been so long delayed. He told me, that not being ambassador, but only charge d'affaires, his authority to sign the Dardanelles treaty had been special, and confined to that treaty alone, and he had therefore no power to sign the other. I begged him to apply to his government for such power, and he said he would. After a time the answer of his government came; and it was, that in the usual course of office the draft of treaty had been referred to the Marine department; that there were still some forms of routine to be gone through in regard to it; and 1204 that till those formalities were complete, which might still take some weeks, the authority to sign could not be sent. Of course we saw that this was a civil way of declining to sign that treaty at that time, and we naturally concluded that the signature of that slave trade treaty was reserved as a compliment to our approaching successors. This suspicion of ours has since been confirmed by an official declaration in the French Chambers, that the French government had declined, under the influence of personal feeling to sign the slave trade treaty with the British ministers who had been the authors of the treaty of the 15th July, 1840. It is always unfortunate when personal feeling is allowed to sway national affairs; and if the French government had not given way to personal feeling on that occasion, they might, perhaps, have avoided much embarrassment which they have had to contend with since; because, if they had signed that treaty then, the ratifications would have been exchanged within two months afterwards, and thus the transaction would have been completed long before the French chambers met, and no Parliamentary opposition could have been raised up to interfere with the ratification of the treaty. It is also still more to be regretted that this personal feeling should have prevented the French government from signing a treaty which had no political objects in view, which was to confer no advantage on Great Britain, and which was only destined to promote the cause of humanity, and to put an end to a great crime; while that same personal feeling did not prevent them from signing the other treaty which I have mentioned, which was purely of a political nature, and which however important, must on that account be considered as standing on much lower grounds than the one which they declined to sign. Seeing what the French government meant, we of course acquiesced. There was indeed no refusual to sign, but we saw that the delay would continue till our successors came into office. All we wished was that the slave trade should be put down. It would no doubt have been gratifying to us, if we, who had negotiated this business, and had brought it to a conclusion, could have seen it finally disposed of in our own time. But we satisfied ourselves with the hope and belief that the treaty would immediately be signed by our successors; and that by the end of 1205 September or the beginning of October, the matter would be concluded. What then was our astonishment to find when the treaty was laid on the Table, that it had not been signed till the 21st of December. I know too well how overwhelming are the duties of the Foreign-office at all times, and more especially during the first few months after a new administration has come in, to impute any blame to the Government for this delay; it would be unfair and un candid to do so. The cause of the delay may have been elsewhere, but even if it arose from oversight on the part of the Government here, they could not be expected to foresee that in consequence of the delay the French government could refuse to ratify a treaty which France herself had concurred to propose. But the treaty not having been signed till the 21st of December, the French chambers met before the expiration of the two months allowed for ratification; and then was got up a clamour against the treaty, avowedly excited, in a great degree by the American minister at Paris; and this led to the circumstance on which the French government founded their refusal to ratify the treaty. That circumstance was an address from the French chamber to the Crown, not praying the Crown to withhold its ratification, but expressing a hope that in the execution of the treaty, due care would be taken of the rights and interests of France. Now as a treaty cannot be executed until it is ratified; this address actually assumed that the treaty would be ratified by the French government. Upon this address however, the French government founded their refusal to ratify, but as we had been told by the Government of France that the British Government made no complaint or remonstrance whatever on this matter, we must suppose that they were satisfied that the French government had some good reason for its refusal, and upon that matter I will not now give my opinion. But I cannot refrain from noticing a new doctrine of international law which which has lately been promulgated on this subject in France, and by high authority; and which being founded in error, tends, I think, to shake that confidence which ought to exist between governments. It has been publicly asserted that a sovereign may justly refuse to ratify a treaty signed on his behalf by a duly authorised and duly instructed Plenipotentiary, if after 1206 the signature of that treaty, such sovereign should find that it clashes with the interests or the wishes of his subjects; and in support of that doctrine it has been asserted, that it was acted upon recently by the king of the Netherlands, who it was alleged, refused to ratify a treaty which had been signed by his plenipotentiary with a plenipotentiary of the king of Prussia. Now I apprehend that all the best writers on the law of nations concur in stating that there are but two grounds on which a sovereign can properly refuse to ratify a treaty which has been signed by his plenipotentiary; the one is that the plenipotentiary signed without instructions; the other that in signing he violated or exceeded his instructions. But neither of these reasons can be assigned by the French government in this case. Then as to the Commercial Treaty about Luxemburgh, between Prussia and the Netherlands, the assumed non-ratification of which has been quoted by the French government as a precedent for their refusal to ratify the Slave-trade Treaty, I have been informed, by what I consider good authority, that they are entirely mistaken in that case. The King of the Netherlands did indeed at first demur about ratifying that treaty, in consequence of some dissatisfaction in regard to it, expressed by his Luxemburgh subjects: but ultimately he did ratify it, and just as it had been signed, and without any alterations or modifications whatever. The doctrine therefore is unsound, and the example does not bear it out. But whether the French government were or were not justified in refusing to ratify the slave-trade treaty of December 1841, their having refused to do so, is a great stride backwards in regard to the suppression of the slave-trade, and I will shortly explain to the House why. It is well known, that for several years past, the United States government has persisted in refusing to agree to any treaty with England for the mutual right of search for the suppression of the slave-trade. This, indeed, was not always the case; there was a time when they were willing to do so. In 1824, they themselves proposed to England and France a treaty for the mutual right of search. They actually concluded with England a treaty to that effect, and as the House well knows, the only reason why that treaty did not come into operation was, 1207 that upon ratifying it (for they ratified as well as signed it) they inserted some restriction as to the geographical limits of the right of search, and the British Government, not choosing to acquiesce in alterations made in a treaty by means of a ratification, refused to ratify the treaty which had been so altered. The British Government, moreover, may have thought that the alteration would tend to impair the efficiency of the treaty. Perhaps it was unfortunate that we did not get over this objection; but so it was, that up to that time the Americans were anxious faithfully to fulfil the obligations which they had undertaken by the treaty of Ghent. Of late years, the increased exertions in this country for the suppression of the slave-trade, coupled with the abolition of slavery in our colonies, have created an alarm in the slave-holding States of the Union, and public opinion there has undergone a change. National jealousy has been artfully roused, and a strong repugnance has been expressed to the mutual right of search. But the late Government intended, whenever the treaty between the Five Powers should have been completed, to have proposed to the other Four Powers, that the five should go in a body to the United States, and request them to accede to that treaty; and if England, France, Austria, Prussia and Russia, the five greatest powers of Europe, including three of the greatest naval powers of the world, had agreed to this treaty, and had gone to the United States, saying,—that to put an end to a great crime which disgraces mankind, they had forgot all differences, and had laid aside all rival ship and petty jealousies; that they entreated the United States, in the name of all that was good, to join them, and to do at their urgent request now, that which the United States had themselves been spontaneously anxious to do in 1824; if this step could have been taken, I will not venture to assert that such an appeal must necessarily have been successful, but I am sure that it must have had great weight with the United States, and that much good must have resulted there from. The Americans themselves saw the matter in that light. General Cass, at Paris, saw it in that light; and it was in consequence of his so viewing it, that, as American envoy at Paris, he made those exertions which led to the refusal of the French Government to ratify the 1208 treaty, and thus prevented the Five Powers from asking the United States to accede to the treaty. There can be no doubt that by this event the cause has lost much ground, which I fear it will be difficult to recover. This, then, was a great step backwards in regard to the suppression of the slave-trade, and no less a step backwards was the treaty of Washington. All the world has so regarded it; France in particular so regards it. She immediately declared, that if England is satisfied with such an engagement from America as is contained in this treaty, she ought not to demand more from France. "Why," exclaim the French, "does England expect that our merchantmen should be subjected to the right of search, when vessels sailing under the American ensign are placed by special treaty on a different footing? The United States are as much bound by treaty as we are, to put down the slave-trade. Why should one kind of fulfilment of that obligation be accepted from them, and a different one be required from us?" These arguments are indeed easy to refute, but they have been vehemently urged, and the effect of the Washington treaty has been not only to make an injurious concession to America, but to involve us in difficulties with France. But this is not all; another step backwards is the letter which was addressed last year by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to the Lords of the Admiralty, about the destruction of slave factories on the coast of Africa. It is well known, that the way in which the Spanish, Portuguese, and Brazilian slave-trading pirates carry on their traffic is this: they settle them selves on the coast, not within any colony belonging to any European power, but on the territory of some small independent chief. There they build storehouses, and what are called barracoons. The store houses are to hold the goods by which they purchase slaves; the barracoons are to hold the slaves so purchased; and these buildings are constructed to hold many hundreds at a time. These establishments are defended with cannon, and garrisoned by well armed men. The native chiefs are overawed by superior force, or bribed by the profit which the slave-trade holds out to them; and thus these slave-traders carry on their traffic with security. Their mode of proceeding is this: the resident agent collects a number of slaves from the native merchants who 1209 bring them from the interior, and the slaves so collected are kept confined in the barracoon till the vessel arrives which is intended to carry them away. The vessel is sent out from Cuba or Brazil, or from some other place, laden with the goods which are to be given in payment for the slaves. She arrives off the place where the barracoon is; the cargo is landed and stowed away in the store-houses; the slaves are embarked and stowed away in the hold; a few hours are sufficient for this operation; and away goes the vessel, with a fair chance, by the rapidity of the process, of escaping the vigilance of our cruizers. It has been found by experience that one of the best ways of checking the slave-trade is to destroy these factories. This was first done by Lieut. Denman, in consequence of his boats having been fired at by the garrison of one of these establishments. He acted on that occasion on the spur of the moment, and without previous instructions; but his conduct was approved of, and he was rewarded by promotion for his zeal and activity. Afterwards instructions were sent out to our cruizers on the coast of Africa to do the same thing where ever it could be effected. The way it was done was this: We landed with the consent of the chiefs, burned the barracoons, and carried off the slaves for emancipation, leaving the chiefs to do what they liked with the contents of the storehouses. Thus all parties were satisfied except the slave traders. We had the gratification of performing an act of humanity, the negroes obtained their freedom, and the chiefs carried off the blue baft, and paid themselves the debts due to them by the slave traders. But the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Office, wrote a letter to the Admiralty last year, which has been generally understood by persons who take an interest in these matters, as intended to condemn our proceedings, and to forbid a repetition of them. For my part, I own I do not so understand the letter; for it does not seem to me in reality to rescind the instructions of the late Government. But, though it does not forbid a repetition of our proceedings, it appears to cast blame upon them, and thus it is calculated to give encouragement to the slave traders. I hope, that before the close of this debate we shall have some explanation on this point from some Member of the Government, and that we shall be assured that 1210 measures of this kind, which are so effectual for the suppression of the slave-trade will not be discontinued. These, then, are three great strides which we have made backwards in regard to the suppression of the slave-trade, and I have witnessed them with great regret. An objection connected with this subject has been raised by many to the 10th Article of the Washington treaty, which relates to the mutual surrender of persons charged with criminal offences, and who may have fled from the one country to the other. It is feared that this article will enable American slave holders to recover fugitive slaves who have made their escape to the British provinces, and who when there, by our law become free. It is thought that such slaves will be charged with the offence of robbery, upon the pretence that they have stolen either the clothes on their back, or the means used for their escape; or else that they will be accused upon false affidavits, of crimes which they never committed, and that once delivered up on such charges they will be again consigned to slavery. I own I do not share in these apprehensions; I am persuaded that matters will be so ordered by her Majesty's Government, that no such evasion of the clear intent and obvious meaning of the treaty shall be permitted. But while adverting to this matter, I cannot help observing upon the correspondence between Lord Ashburton and Mr. Webster on the subject of the Creole, which I have read with great regret. Mr. Webster, in his letter, lays down the doctrine that an American merchant ship is American territory, and is to be treated and respected as such, let her go where she will; that whatever foreign port she may enter, she carries thither all the immunities of the American soil, is protected by all the peculiarities of the American law, and remains exclusively subject to its jurisdiction. That slaves embarked in such ships continued to be American property even in a British port, and ought not when there to be set free, by the operation of the British law; and Mr. Webster calls on Lord Ashburton to engage that the British Government shall instruct its colonial authorities not to exercise what he calls an officious interference with regard to slaves on board American ships driven by stress of weather, or other causes into a British port. That is to say, not to give to such slaves the protection which the law of 1211 England gives them a right to claim. And Mr. Webster intimates that the practice of setting free, by the operation of British law, American slaves found in an United States ship, which may be driven by stress of weather into a British port, will be "a dangerous source of future collisions." Lord Ashburton in his reply gives but too much countenance to the doctrines laid down by Mr. Webster, and enters into an engagement on the part of his Government, that instructions shall be given to the governors of the British Colonies, that no such officious interference as that complained of, shall in future take place. That is to say, he virtually promises that American slaves, confined in American ships, driven by stress of weather into a British port, shall not be meddled with. But I say it is not for the American and British Governments, but for the law of England, to determine how slaves entering a British port shall be treated. The noble Lord appears to have bound himself that Mr. Webster's demands should be complied with; but Mr. Webster's demand was, that American negro slaves should be considered as American chattel property, and should be treated in a British port in the same manner in which they would be treated in an American' port. This was set ting aside in British ports the operation of British law, which, finding slaves within its authority, restores them to liberty without regard to their roasters. But our Plenipotentiary seems on this occasion to have forgotten what had previously passed on this subject, as well as the bearing of the law of England on the matters which he was discussing. The principle put forward by Mr. Webster in the case of the Creole had been argued by the two Governments before. The House will find in the miscellaneous estimates of 1839, some papers on which a sum of money was voted as compensation to American citizens for the loss of slaves set free in British colonies; and in those papers will be seen a statement of the doctrine maintained by the British Government on the subject in question. The cases were those of three American ships, the Comet, Encomium, and Enterprize, employed in transporting slaves from one port of the United States to another. The two first were wrecked on the Bahamas, and the crews and slaves were carried to Nassau, where the slaves were set free. This happened before slavery was abolished in our colonies. The 1212 third ship, the Enterprize, was driven by stress of weather into Bermuda, in February, 1835, after slavery had been abolished in our colonies by law. The authorities of the island interfered, whether of their own accord, or being called upon to do so, I am not sure. They took the slaves away from the illegal confinement in which they were held in the vessel, and set them free. The United States government applied to that of Great Britain for compensation in these three cases, for the owners of the negroes, on account of the loss they had sustained by the emancipation of their slaves. Now what was the answer given by the British Government? In regard to the two first cases we said, that the vessels had been wrecked, and the slaves had been liberated on British ground, while slavery was still lawful in the British colonies, and slaves were then legal property in our colonies as well as in the United States. The claimants, therefore, were lawfully possessed of their property within our colony, and having been deprived of that property by the act of the British authorities, they were entitled to compensation. But with regard to the Enterprize we said the case was different; when that vessel entered Bermuda, slavery had been abolished through out the British dominions. No man, who there English or American, could at that time be lawfully possessed of any slave in a British territory. The applicants there fore laid claim to property which our law did not recognise. That property we taken from them by the legitimate interference of our colonial authorities, and, therefore, we refused compensation. But more than that, we informed the United States government, that the same principle would always thenceforward be acted upon; and that in any case of the same kind, in which American slaves should be set free in a British colony, no compensation could be granted. And did we give that answer upon our own judgment and responsibility? No; we took the opinion of the law advisers of the Crown, and we framed our answer according to that opinion. The report which we received from them, and which I will quote, says—In the former cases (that is to say in the cases of the Comet and Encomium), the owners were lawfully in possession of their property with in a British port, and were disturbed in their possession of them by a British functionary. But not so, in the case of the Enter- 1213 prize; because slavery had then been abolished throughout the British empire. The property of an owner would continue when the ship containing that property is driven by stress of weather into any foreign port; and the owner would be aggrieved were he to be deprived of what belonged to him by the municipal law of the state, to which he had not voluntarily submitted himself. But slaves are human beings; (a fact which our Plenipotentiary seems to have forgotten), and are to be heard before their fate is decided upon. Here there are three parties to the transaction; and those who before were slaves, when they come into a country where slavery is unknown and forbidden, are instantly in the situation of aliens who have always been free. They can in no shape be restrained of their liberty by their former master, any more than by a mere stranger. If they were given up to him they would be aggrieved, and would be entitled to sue for damages. But it would be absurd to say, that when a state prohibits slavery, then as often as a slave-ship takes refuge in one of its ports, a liability must be incurred either to the owner of the slaves if they be liberated, or to the slaves if they be given up. Where slavery is prohibited, the law of nations cannot be considered as violated by the municipal law, on the slaves being liberated; according to the law there is no wrong, and there shall be no compensation, slavery being now abolished throughout the British empire, there can be no well-founded claim for compensation in respect to the liberation of slaves, who may come under any circumstances into the colonies, any more than into the mother countryBut Lord Ashburton did not take this ground; on the contrary, I find he says in his letter of August 7th, 1842, to Mr. Webster,—Our object is rather to look to the means of future prevention of such occurrences.Those occurrences being the liberation of American slaves in a British port, by the operation of the British law.That this may be attained I have little doubt, although we may not be able immediately to agree upon the precise stipulations of a treaty, on the part of Great Britain; there are certain great principles too deeply rooted in the consciences and sympathies of the people for any Minister to be able to overlook, and any engagement I might make in opposition to them, would be instantly disavowed. But at the same time that we maintain our own laws within our own territories, we are bound to respect those of our neighbours, and to listen to every possible suggestion of means of averting from them every annoyance and injury. I have great confidence that this may be effectually done in the present instance; but the case to be met and remedied is new, and must not be too hastily dealt with. You may, however, be 1214 assured, that measures so important for the preservation of friendly intercourse between the two countries shall not he neglected. In the mean time, I can engage that instructions shall be given to the Governors of her Majesty's colonies on the southern borders of the United States, to execute their own laws with careful attention to the wish of their Government to maintain good neighbourhood; and that there shall be no officious interference with American vessels, driven by accident, or unlawful violence, into those ports. The laws and duties of hospitality shall be executed, and these seem neither to require nor to justify any further inquisition into the state of persons or things on board of vessels so situated, than may be indispensable, to enforce the observance of the municipal law of the colony, and the proper regulations of its harbours and waters." [Cheers.]Yes, I understand that cheer, it relates to the expression, "the municipal law of the colony." I will advert to that in a moment. Mr. Webster accepts the engagement of our plenipotentiary as a promise that hereafter there shall be no "officious interference" of our colonial authorities to set free slaves, confined in American ships, driven by stress of weather, or other causes, into a British port; and he adds, that—He indulges the hope, that actuated by a just sense of what is due to the mutual interests of the two countries, and the maintenance of a permanent peace between them, her Majesty's Government, will not fail to see the importance of removing, by such further stipulations, by treaty, or otherwise, as may be found necessary, all cause of complaint connected with this subject.Now, I quite understand the cheer which I heard just now. It meant that Lord Ashburton, in fact, did not promise what Mr. Webster wanted, because he made a reservation, that our colonial authorities were to inquire into the state of persons and things on board of American ships so driven into our ports, as far as may be necessary for the observance of the municipal law of the colony, and Gentlemen opposite meant to imply that which is perfectly true, that such municipal law requires, that on application for a writ of habeas corpus being made, all the slaves in such ships shall be set free. But did our plenipotentiary mean this? Certainly not; he was evidently not aware of the force of the words he was using, and by municipal law he must have meant rules of police, and port regulations; and it was clearly in that sense that Mr. Webster accepted his engagement. If, 1215 indeed, our plenipotentiary attached to the words "municipal law of the colony," the same meaning which is applied to them by Gentlemen opposite who cheered me just now, and if he was aware that that law would set the slaves free, then the noble Lord was employing words which Mr. Webster was to understand in America in one sense, and which the noble Lord was to construe in England in a sense exactly opposite; and he was sheltering himself under a quibble unworthy of a British Minister; but I am convinced that this was not the case. I do hope and trust, however, that the Government will this night put upon those words their true and proper construction, and tell this House boldly and manfully, that they hold negroes within British jurisdiction to be as much entitled to the rights of hospitality, as the masters who were their owners before they entered our ports; and I trust we shall hear that our colonial authorities have been instructed to continue to exercise what the Americans are pleased to call an officious interference; and that no slave will enter a British port, whether in a colony or in the mother country, for the law is now the same in both, without being immediately set free. An American slave-owner ought to feel that if his slave-ship enters a British port, it is to him, as far as his slave property is concerned, as if she had foundered at sea; excepting only that he will have the consolation to think that his ship and his crew are safe, and that his slaves, instead of having perished by a miserable death, have entered, as it were, upon a new life of freedom and civilization. In fact, it is not possible to tell our colonial authorities what Mr. Webster asks, for it would be to tell them not to execute the law. I hope, therefore, to hear from her Majesty's Government that they have no intention of entering into any such stipulations as Mr. Webster appears to expect, and that they will maintain, without evasion or reservation, the ground on which the late Government took its stand in regard to the case of the Enterprize. I can only say, that if they depart from that ground, it will, in my opinion, be exceedingly disgraceful to the British name. Well, then, Sir, these are my objections to this treaty. But we are told by its defenders, that bad as it is, it has, nevertheless settled all disputes, and insured henceforward perpetual sunshine, and undisturbed peace, har- 1216 mony, and good-will, between the two countries. Why, Sir, but a few weeks had elapsed after the signature of the treaty, when a very different story was told to our plenipotentiary himself. Before he left the American shore, he attended two dinners, the one at Boston, the other at New York; at these dinners, while the roofs were ringing with the triumphant shout of the exulting assembly, who felt as Americans, that they had gained a great diplomatic victory over our negotiator; in the midst of the vociferous acclamations with which the announcement of the treaty was received, our plenipotentiary was bid to remember, that all questions between the two countries were not settled; that there still remained great and important points of difference; and he was plainly and distinctly admonished, that firm and lasting peace must not be expected, unless all those other questions were settled in the same spirit as the Boundary Question, that is to say, by complete concession on the part of England to the demands and pretensions of the United States. And has nothing else occurred to the same effect? When Parliament met, the right hon. Baronet was asked whether he acquiesced in the interpretation which the President of the United States, in his recent message to Congress, bad put upon the effect of the Treaty of Washington, as to the differences which had arisen between the two countries, in regard to the right of ascertaining the nationality of suspected vessels. In reply, the right hon. Baronet flatly contradicted the President; a proof that this Treaty has at least not hitherto succeeded in establishing a perfect understanding between the two Governments. Then there is another Boundary Question still unsettled, relative to what is called the Oregon Territory, on the banks of the Columbia River, on the west coast of North America: what has happened lately about that question? Why, the Senate have actually passed a bill for immediately taking forcible possession of the whole of that territory, and the Senator who brought in that bill, expressed his conviction that the American claim to this territory would immediately be acquiesced in by Great Britain, if it was only urged in what he was pleased to call a proper manner. It is impossible, I conceive, that this bill should pass the other 1217 branches of the legislature; but if it were to pass, and to be acted upon, it would be a declaration of war. It would be the invasion and seizure of a territory in dispute, by virtue of a decree made by one of the parties in its own favour. Thus, even before this vaunted Treaty, which was to settle all disputes, extinguish all differences, and secure perpetual peace, has come into operation, new differences have arisen, and old ones have been revived. A fresh proof how true it is that undue concessions, instead of securing peace, only increase the appetite for aggression; and depend upon it that if we go on submitting to every pretension of every foreign power, and conceding every thing which may be sternly demanded of us, we shall be driven at last to a point, at which war will become inevitable, but will be begun at a disadvantage. I have mentioned the public dinners which our Plenipotentiary attended at Boston and at New York; and I cannot quit the subject without expressing the pain and regret with which I read the language held by the noble Lord upon those occasions, coming as it did from a person holding a commission from the Crown, and addressed to an assembly of foreigners. The noble Lord spoke of Boston as "the old cradle of American Liberty and Independence," and called it on that account, "a hallowed spot." I can understand a man, and should not be disposed to differ from him, who should say, that we were wrong in our quarrel with our North American provinces; that our war with them began in injustice, perhaps as great as the incapacity with which it was carried on; but no man can deny that the loss of those colonies was a great blow to the power of the British Empire, and that our feebleness in the war much lowered our military reputation. I can, however, comprehend a man who should say that he would rather that the power of the British Empire should have suffered the injury which the result of that American war inflicted on it, than that the British Constitution should have had to sustain the shock which would have been produced by the success of our illegal attempt. But such a preference could only be a choice of evils; and I cannot conceive that any Englishman can look back with satisfaction to that disgraceful period of our history, when we proved ourselves both weak and wrong. It ill becomes an Englishman to exult in the 1218 humiliation of his country, or to find a topic for triumph in her defeats; least of all, when addressing an assembly of foreigners, whose fathers gained the double victory of right and of might over our own; and when the person who so addresses them, still holds a high commission under the British Crown. I shall now conclude. I think I have shewn good grounds for asserting that the negotiations which led to this treaty were ill conducted, that the treaty is disadvantageous, and that if matters had been more judiciously managed, far better terms might have been obtained. But there the treaty is; it has been concluded, and has been ratified; and even if the ratifications had not yet been exchanged, ill as I think of the treaty, I would not wish the ratification to be with held; for I should be very sorry to see the Crown of England refuse to ratify a treaty which had been concluded by a duly authorised plenipotentiary. I know that many people think that this treaty will lay the foundation for permanent good-will and friendly feeling between the two nations. I wish it may do so; but I fear that by placing the United States in a better military position in regard to us than they occupied before, and by inducing them to think that we shall yield whenever they hold out, it will encourage them to press upon us unjust demands, and will afford them increased means of supporting such pretensions; and that thus, instead of securing peace, it will prove the source of new quarrels. I shall most sincerely rejoice if I am wrong, for sure I am that nothing could be more calamitous to both countries, than a war between Great Britain and the United States. I will endeavour to hope, however, that this truth may be felt in America as well as here, that the concessions we have now made, instead of rendering the United States more unreasonable in future, may incline them, through a sense of justice, to be more moderate on other matters; and that thus the expectations which the Government entertain of solid friendship between the two countries may be fully and amply realised.
§ Sir Robert Peel
said, the noble Lord has occupied nearly three hours [a voice, "more"]—the noble Lord has occupied more than three hours in stating to the House his reasons for asserting that her Majesty's Government have acted unwisely and improperly in the selection they made 1219 of a representative of the British Crown to negotiate on behalf of this country, in bringing to a satisfactory settlement disputes which had lasted more than a quarter of a century. The noble Lord has attempted to show, that those negotiations have been ill-conducted, that the terms agreed to were unfavourable to Great Britain. The noble Lord denounced the treaties; he denounced the parties to those treaties; and yet the House cannot have forgotten that the powerful party, of which the noble Lord is one of the heads, attempted for years to bring that question to a satisfactory issue, and attempted to do so in vain; yet now, the noble Lord docs not think it inconsistent with his public duty to make the motion which is at pre sent before you, and to deliver the speech which you have just heard. The noble Lord tells you, that I told the hon. Member for Montrose, that I did not propose to lay those papers before the House. What was the exact state of the case? When the hon. Member put that question to me, I did state that I conceived it would be prejudicial to the public service to lay before the House the whole of the correspondence between Mr. Webster and Lord Ash bur ton; but when the noble Lord thought proper to give notice of a motion upon this subject, I said I would give all the materials which might be necessary for bringing that motion with the fullest effect before the House, and accordingly I laid upon the Table every paper and document necessary for the purpose of making out any case which the noble Lord might think necessary, in order that there should be no technical objection or difficulty whatever; but it must now be obvious to the House that the noble Lord has evaded the opportunity thus afforded to him in a manner most unworthy of the position which he occupies. The noble Lord well knows that I afforded him every facility, if he so thought fit, to move a vote of censure upon us and upon the representative whom we selected. He well knew, that if he felt himself warranted in moving against us a condemnation of the treaty, and of the negotiations which preceded that treaty, he might have done so without encountering any technical or official difficulty; but, if he had done so, I should have met such a motion by an amendment distinctly approving of the course which we have taken from the outset, and confirming the conclusion to which we have conducted the whole proceeding; and the noble Lord 1220 knows that that amendment would have been carried by a very large majority of this House. The noble Lord says, he has sufficient materials to enable him to judge of the principles of that treaty—he has sufficient to enable him to pronounce that the negotiations have been most unwisely and improperly conducted—that the terms of the treaty are insufficient and inequitable; and holding his position, and with these opinions, the noble Lord thinks it a manly and becoming course to call for papers which I have already intimated that I do not think it consistent with the public interest to produce. The noble Lord says, that the treaty is now ratified, and on that ground he would not now propose a vote of condemnation. That was not the ground taken when Lord Sidmouth concluded the treaty of Amiens. That treaty had been ratified, when Mr. Windham and Lord Grenville who thought it unwise and unjust, did not shrink from the manly course of calling on the House to express an opinion upon it. In 1783, when the peace of Versailles was made, it was made, and after it was beyond the control of Parliament, the treaty having been ratified and the ratifications exchanged, Lord John Cavendish did not shrink from calling upon the House to declare its opinion upon the treaty. He moved a resolution, distinctly implying that the treaty ought to be adhered to, but censuring those by whom it had been concluded. The result was, the affirmation of the treaty, and the exclusion from power of those by whom the treaty was ratified. The noble Lord has no pretext, therefore, for avoiding a resolution condemnatory of the treaty, on the ground of its being ratified, because it would be quite consistent for the noble Lord to move the affirmation of the treaty, and to provide for its ratification, and at the same time condemn those under whose auspices it has been concluded. I will now take notice of the principal topics to which the noble Lord has adverted, and I think it will be more convenient not exactly to follow the order of the noble Lord's observations, but to separate those which refer to questions connected with slavery from those which are connected with the much more important question, in my opinion—the question of more pressing interest—that relating to the boundary. The noble Lord says, that her Majesty's Government have taken what he must call a backward step with respect to slavery. He offers three proofs of that disposition on the part 1221 of her Majesty's Government to retrocession. The first is with the two articles of the present treaty, which relate to the suppression of the slave-trade by the United States. The noble Lord says, that by having inserted those two articles in the treaty, we appear to admit that the United States will, by acceding to those articles, fulfil all the obligations imposed on them by the treaty of Ghent. This is the article of the treaty of Ghent, with respect to the slave-trade:—Whereas the traffic in slaves is irreconcileable with the principles of humanity and justice, and whereas both his Majesty and the United States are desirous of continuing their efforts to promote its entire abolition, it is hereby agreed that both the contracting parties shall use their best endeavours to accomplish so desirable an object.I ask, what has the noble Lord done for the purpose of inducing the United States to fulfil the obligation of that treaty? The noble Lord was ten years Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and since the year 1814 the articles of the treaty of Ghent have been in force. Has the noble Lord prevailed on America to submit to the right of search? Has the noble Lord Lord prevailed on the United States to take any step so effectual for the suppression of the slave-trade as the step which they have now consented to take on the coast of Africa? For the first time, in the year 1842, the American government has consented to conjoin its efforts with those of Great Britain, on the coast of Africa, for the purpose of suppressing the slave-trade. They have agreed to appoint a sufficient and adequate squadron for the purpose of preventing vessels bearing the American flag from being concerned in the slave-trade. What right has the noble Lord to assume that that is understood as a complete fulfilment of the treaty of Ghent? And what step, I repeat, was the noble Lord enabled to take, during the ten years he was in power, more effectual than that to which the American government has now consented? By the 9th article of the treaty they promise to do that which they promised in the treaty of Ghent—namely, to join with us in addressing all becoming representations and remonstrances to any and all the powers within whose dominions a slave market is allowed to exist; and in urging upon all such powers the propriety and duty of closing such markets at once and for ever. So far from the present Government having 1222 taken a retrograde step with respect to slavery, I say that, by prevailing upon the American government to appoint a squadron to co-operate with this country, thay have taken a step more effectual, and more in advance, than the late Government of the noble Lord was enabled to take. The second proof which the noble Lord adduces of our retrocession is totally unconnected with the present discussion—namely, the course pursued by France in refusing to ratify the late treaty. The noble Lord admits, that France was willing to sign with him a treaty extending the right of search, but says that, in consequence of the treaty of the 15th of July, 1840, France refused to sign it. He said, that the French government anticipated sentiments more favourable to France from the present Cabinet, and that they deferred ratifying the treaty out of compliment to us. So far as the wishes of the Government were concerned, that showed no retrograde step. But the French government did ultimately, in consequence of the intervention of the Chamber of Deputies, the popular assembly representing the opinions of the French people, hesitate to fulfil their original intentions, and decline to ratify the treaty. It was not General Cass who was the cause of that refusal. The cause was the noble Lord, whose policy towards France almost brought England to a state of direct and open hostility with that country. It was the noble Lord who embittered and exasperated the public feeling of France towards England, by the prosecution of his schemes in Syria, and who may claim the exclusive credit of having caused the rejection of that treaty. What course would the noble Lord have us pursue? The noble Lord was aware of the non-ratification in the course of last Session. Why did the noble Lord make no motion on the subject, and hardly put a question in the couse of last Session? Because he was aware, that all would have felt it to be an unseemly thing in him, who had been the cause of this interruption in the progress of humanity, to stand up and charge her Majesty's Government with the blame of having prevented an extension of the right of search, and a cordial union with France. The third of the noble Lord's proofs of the alleged indisposition on the part of the present Government to exert itself for the suppression of slavery, was the instructions given by my noble Friend, the Secretary of State for Foreign 1223 Affairs to her Majesty's vessels on the coast of Africa, to conform to the law of nations in their efforts for the suppression of slavery and the slave-trade. If I recollect rightly, the noble Lord opposite was called upon to make compensation for exceeding the law, in consequence of the destruction of barracoons. It is right that this country should exert itself to the utmost for the suppression of slavery; but its exertions ought to be limited by some regard for the law of nations. You may depend upon it, that if you attempt to exercise your power with a disregard of the obligations of the law of nations, you will be called upon for compensation for any acts unwarranted by that law. My noble Friend acted in conformity with the opinion of him who advises the Government with respect to the law of nations. My noble Friend quoted the opinion of the Queen's Advocate, that blockading rivers, landing and destroying buildings, carrying off persons, held in slavery, from a country with which Great Britain was not at war, could not be justified by the law of nations or the provisions of any existing treaty—that, however desirable it might be to put an end to the slave-trade, the good, however eminent, ought not to be obtained otherwise than by legal means. That opinion warranted my noble Friend, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, in saying that it was desirable that her Majesty's naval officers employed in suppressing the slave-trade ought to abstain from destroying slave-factories and carrying off persons, unless from territories with respect to which England was authorised by treaty to act in that manner. I am perfectly certain, that if you transgress the law of nations, your efforts, however well intended, will be less effectual than if you respect the rights of other countries. This is all I contend for. I say, employ all your naval power, and let no consideration of expense prevent you from enforcing the rights of humanity, but do not disregard, if your intervention is to be ultimately effectual, if you wish to conciliate the good opinion of other countries and induce them to co-operate with you, do not disregard the great principles of public law to which all nations are alike subject. The next point to which I shall refer, is the article of the late treaty providing for the mutual surrender of persons charged with offences. The noble Lord admits, that the general object aimed at by the article is a wise one, 1224 that where the countries have a common boundary, the escape of criminals, by stepping over that boundary, is prejudicial to the cause of good order, and injurious to the interests of both countries. The reciprocal delivery of heinous criminals is clearly an object of importance to civilised governments. But I admit to the noble Lord, that we must take great care, lest, in the application of that principle, we interfere with the rights of those who become freemen by stepping upon our soil. But the object must, be secured by law. The article of the treaty cannot take effect without an act of Parliament, and, as a bill upon the subject will be introduced, it will be better to postpone the consideration of details until that bill comes under discussion, I may observe that there is a special provision in the eleventh article of the treaty, that, if experience should show that the two objects cannot be reconciled—the surrender of criminals, and the due protection of those who, being slaves in one country, become free by passing into the other; then the tenth article is to cease to operate, and is to continue in force until one or other of the parties shall signify its wish to terminate it, and no longer. That is a wise and prudent provision, by which, if any injustice arise from the operation of the treaty, it may be remedied. The next point to which the noble Lord referred was the correspondence in the case of the Creole. The noble Lord must observe that no stipulations have been entered into by Lord Ashburton on that subject. Lord Ashburton expressed a wish to reserve, for the consideration of the Government at home, the arrangement which it might be desirable to make with respect to cases similar to that of the Creole; but he declined to enter into stipulations on the subject. He said, that, for reasons which he stated, he thought it better that the question should be settled in London, where the chances would be much increased of a settlement likely to satisfy the United States. But on discussing the question of the Creole, Lord Ashburton laid down clearly and unequivocally this great principle. He says:—Upon the great general principles affecting this case, we do not differ; you admit, that if slaves, the property of American citizens, escape into British territories, it is not expected that they will be restored, and you may be well assured that there is no wish on our part that they should reach our shores, or that British possessions should be used as decoys 1225 for the violators of the laws of a friendly neighbour. When these slaves do reach us, by whatever means, there is no alternative. The present state of British law is in this respect too well known to require repetition, nor need I remind you that it is exactly the same with the laws of every part of the United States, where a state of slavery is not recognised; and that the slave put on shore at Nassau would be dealt with exactly as would a foreign slave landed under any circumstances whatever at Boston.Lord Ashburton, then, on referring to the peculiar position of the southern coast of the United States, contended that the municipal law of each country should be put in force. That law, of course, gives the privileges of freedom to the man who has become free by touching the British soil. Lord Ashburton declared finally that he was not empowered to enter into engagements or stipulations on the principle involved in the case of the Creole. As to the compensation demanded from us in that case, the British Government has refused to grant any. They maintain the principle that the slave coming upon British soil is free, without regard to any claim for compensation by the master of such slave. The noble Lord afterwards observed that every point of difference had not been adjusted. If every point of difference has not been adjusted, I apprehend one reason is, that Lord Ashburton did not enter into every possible point of eventual difference, lest he might excite fears and prejudices which would prevent a satisfactory settlement of the one question which has been the festering sore in our relations with the United States for the last twenty-five years. That is the one question which has exasperated every other, and embittered every prejudice against England. When we succeeded to the Government the country was trembling upon the verge between peace and war. It was difficult to say to what side the balance would incline, and Lord Ashburton's great object was to effect, not merely an adjustment, but an honourable and satisfactory adjustment of that one great question, being satisfied that a settlement of that would lead to a good understanding upon all others. The question of the Oregon territory, no doubt, is not adjusted, but on that it is not necessary that I should address the House at any length. With respect to the course which the American government has taken, the noble Lord makes no allowance for the position of a government so open to po- 1226 pular influence as that of America. We, however, deal with the executive government and not with the senate. We have proposed to that government to consider the means of effecting a conciliatory adjustment respecting the Oregon territory; and we have met with no repulse, but have received assurances, in reply to our proposition, that the executive government of the United States is anxious to come to an adjustment of that question; and we have every reason to hope, that unless we revive the former animosity and embitter the feelings between the two countries, that our attempt to settle that question by negotiation will be satisfactory. The noble Lord says that the Senate has passed a bill, which I believe it has not passed. 1 think the votes were equally divided; but whatever the Senate may do, it is impossible for the executive government to approve of such a bill after having expressed a desire to negotiate. The noble Lord says the adoption of that bill would be a case of war. I will not discuss hypothetical cases of war, when, as I have said, the executive government has signified to us its desire to maintain peace, and to effect a satisfactory adjustment of the question of the Oregon territory. I trust in the assurances of the executive government, and I will not believe that it will give its consent to a legislative measure at variance with those assurances. I have reserved for the last that most important part of the negotiation which relates to the determination of the boundary between her Majesty's north eastern provinces in North America and the United States. We have felt it our duty to attempt to draw a conventional line for the purpose of settling that question. We have felt it our duty to pursue a different course from that which the noble Lord had pursued, with but little success. Instead of new explorating surveys, and new arbitrations, we have sought and obtained an adjustment of this much litigated question, which was fast endangering the relations of amity between the two countries. Sixty years have now passed since the seeds of these dissensions were sown. In the year 1783 England made a treaty with the United States, in utter ignorance of the geographical position of the country. From 1783 until 1841 not only had no progress been made in solving the difficulties arising from that treaty, but the question was placed, after that lapse of time, in a worse position than ever. An attempt to settle it by the treaty of Ghent was 1227 made, and that failed. Proposals have been repeatedly made since, both by the United States and the British Government, for the purpose of effecting a settlement. Negotiations were tried in 1827, and the aid of an arbitrator called in; an impartial sovereign was selected for the purpose of determining, or attempting to determine what was the boundary contemplated by the parties who made the treaty of 1783. The subject was under deliberation for two or three years, and at length the King of Holland made an award, in which he stated that it was utterly impossible that that treaty could be strictly executed. The substance of his award was, that from the vagueness of the language of the treaty, it was impossible to decide in favour of either party, without violating the principles of law with regard to the other. He therefore strongly advised a compromise, and suggested that a conventional line should be drawn, dividing the territory equitably between the two countries. The American Government had the award under consideration in 1832. The British Government on receiving it, professed their readiness to accept the award. When the noble Lord made a notification to that effect, he declared he thought the claim of Great Britain perfectly well founded, that the parties to the treaty of 1783 intended to give Great Britain what she claimed, but he was so anxious for a satisfactory termination of the difference that he waived the extreme right of Great Britain, and would accept the award of the King of the Netherlands. In 1832 the Senate of the United States determined not to accept the award. They said the arbitrator had no right to accept a com promise—that he was bound to decide in favour of one or the other. On that ground they refused to be bound by the award. Did the noble Lord refuse to be bound by it also? No; for three years after that decision the noble Lord kept pressing upon the United States the acceptance of the boundary line suggested by the King of Holland. The moment the United States refused to accept it, the noble Lord was freed from any obligation he might feel to accept the award. But for three years he pressed it upon America. He wished the United States to take that very crest of hills which overlooks the St. Lawrence, for giving up which the noble Lord complains of us. During that period he had opportunities of taking military advice, of ascertaining whether the country would be endangered 1228 by the proposed boundary. On this point the noble Lord had no excuse. He might have been ignorant of the geographical situation of certain mountains, but at any time between 1832 to 1835 he had the means of ascertaining whether, by advancing the American boundary to the crest of hills overlooking the St. Lawrence, he would be endangering the military security of Canada or not. Canada and Quebec had been threatened by insurgents, a war was apprehended with the United States, and public attention had been called to the subject. It was well and generally known, that the proposed boundary was unfavourable to us; yet for three years the noble Lord continued to press upon the American government the adoption of a line which he now says by having been adopted, exposes to the utmost danger our Canadian possessions. Well, then, in 1835, all his efforts to persuade the American government to adopt the award having proved ineffectual, in October, 1835, the noble Lord gave notice that he declined to be bound any longer by the award, and since that period he has tried all in his power to settle the question by negotiation. But let me ask with what success? I will trace briefly the progress of the negotiation, and what had been done till my noble Friend, Lord Ashburton, took the matter in hand. The noble Lord says my noble Friend is a simple-minded man, and is not skilled in the arts of diplomacy. Now, my noble Friend may not be intimately acquainted with the technicalities of the Foreign Office—he may want the skill to write long protocols; but what did you do in the ten years you were in power?—what was the position in which you left the question? I submit you have had enough of the cunning of diplomacy in former years. You had a choice of diplomatists. You had men of the first eminence in all the trickery and artifices of diplomacy, and what was your success? In what position did you leave the negotiations in 1841, after having had all these skilled and practised diplomatists at your command, Sir Charles Vaughan included, and Lord Heytesbury, whom you would not allow to govern India, but whom you think so admirably fitted, and I agree with you for diplomatic functions—you had all these and your master-mind directing them—and I will now show, tracing the negotiations, in what position you left this question, a position scarcely less admirable than that in which you left affairs in Aff- 1229 ghanistan. Well, in 1835, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in the United States, foreseeing the hopelessness of negotiating, made a proposition to the English Government; which proposition you left for months without notice. It might have been most proper that you should not accept the offer of Mr. Livingstone—it might be most proper that you should reject it; but why did you not answer it? Why, with war almost trembling in the balance, did you contemptuously make no answer to the proposition made to you? Why leave the American government for months—nay, for more than half a year, in ignorance of your intentions? Well, then, in 1837 and 1838, you again entered into communication with the United States. That government proposed, or suggested the appointment of an exploratory commission. You consented to adopt the suggestion, but in doing so you told them, that you anticipated no benefit as the result of it. Well, in 1838 you renewed your communications with the United States, and you pressed upon her government the policy, not of appointing an exploratory commission, but of agreeing to a conventional line. You then thought the only true policy to be pursued was to enter into a compromise, and agree to draw a conventional line of frontier between the two countries. On the 10th of January, 1838, your Minister, Mr. Fox, in writing to Mr. Forsyth, says:—Both governments have agreed to consider the award of the King of the Netherlands as binding upon neither party, and the two governments, therefore, are as free in this respect as they were before the reference to that sovereign was made. The British Government, despairing of the possibility of drawing a line that shall be in literal conformity with the words of the treaty of 1783, has suggested that a conventional line should be substituted for the line described in the treaty, and has proposed, that, in accordance with the principles of equity, and in pursuance of the general practice of mankind in similar cases, the object of difference should be equally divided between the two differing parties, each of whom is alike convinced of the justice of his claim.This is the view taken of the question by the noble Lord and his minister in 1838. But he went further. In the same document Mr. Fox says—Her Majesty's Government exceedingly regret that such an obstacle should exist to prevent that settlement (the division of the disputed territory), which, under all the circum- 1230 stances of the case, appears to be the simplest, the readiest, the most satisfactory, and the most just.No language of mine could be half so strong in favour of the treaty concluded by my noble Friend; but the language of Mr. Fox was even yet more strong, for in a subsequent paragraph he says—But the very existence of such conflicting pretensions seems to point out the expediency of a compromise; and what compromise can be more fair than that which would give to each party one-half of the Subject-matter in dispute.These are strong opinions to come from the noble Lord who made the statement which the House has just heard. Can any one for a moment doubt that in 1838 the noble Lord was in favour of a conventional line The American government had however suggested the appointment of an exploring commission, but the noble Lord told them that such a commission never could lead to any useful result, and there fore he objected to it; but so anxious was he to conciliate that he would not with hold his consent to its appointment, if the principle upon which it was to act could he agreed upon. But what did the noble Lord do—what did he effect from 1838 up to September, 1841, when he quitted office? The noble Lord attempted to come to an agreement upon the principle, and I will show you the result. He began by telling the American government that he despaired of success, and when the American government asked the question, "How is the inquiry of the commission to lead to a practical result?" the noble Lord answered with a species of sneer in which he much indulged on some occasions, that inasmuch as the proposal for its appointment originated with them, they were the proper persons to answer the questions; he could not do it because Her Majesty's Government had already expressed an opinion that it could lead to no useful result. Mr. Fox, in the letter to Mr. Forsyth to which I before referred, says,Her Majesty's Government have them selves already stated, that they have little expectation that such a commission could lead to any useful result, and they would on that account be disposed to object to it, and if Her Majesty's Government were now to agree to appoint such a commission it would be only in compliance with the desire so strongly expressed by the government of the United States, and in spite of doubts which Her Majesty's Government still continue to entertain of the efficacy of the measure.1231 [Lord Palmerston—Read the whole.]—I have no objection, for I do not wish to misquote the noble Lord. He proceeds as follows;—But with respect to the way in which the report of the commission might be expected to lead to an ultimate settlement of the question, Her Majesty's Government in the first place conceived that it was meant by the Government of the United States, that if the commission should discover highlands answering to the description of the treaty, a connecting line drawn from those highlands to the head of the St. Croix should be deemed to be a portion of the boundary line between the two countries. But her Majesty's Government would further beg to refer Mr. Forsyth to the notes of Mr. Maclane of the 5th of June, 1833, and of the 11th and 28th of March, 1834, on this subject; in which it will be seen that the Government of the United States appears to have contemplated as one of the possible results of the proposed commission of exploration, that such additional information might possibly be obtained respecting the features of the country, in the district to which the treaty relates, as might remove all doubt as to the impracticability of laying down a boundary in strict accordance with the letter of the treaty. And if the investigation of the proposed commission should show that there is no reasonable prospect of finding a line strictly conformable with the description contained in the treaty of 1783, the constitutional difficulties which now prevent the United States from agreeing to a conventional line may possibly be removed, and the way may thus be prepared for the satisfactory settlement of the difference by an equitable division of the disputed territory. But if the two governments should agree to the appointment of such a commission, it would be necessary that their agreement should first be recorded in a convention, and, it would obviously be indispensable that the state of Maine should be an assenting party to the arrangement.Well, the commission to the appointment of which the noble Lord gave his consent in 1838 was to lead to an equitable division of the disputed territory; we have come to that settlement without any of the expense or delay of a commission; and I will ask the House whether, under the circumstances in which we were placed last year, we did not act a wise and prudent part. Now, I wish the House to bear in mind what it is I am labouring to prove. I want to show that when we came into power in 1841, it was most desirable that we should attempt to effect a conciliatory arrangement with America, at once, and without the loss of time and the expense of an exploratory commission. What I want to prove is, that the line agreed to and 1232 settled by my noble Friend is one perfectly consistent with the honour of the country, and one which only a few short years ago the noble Lord was himself anxious to adopt, and I think I have already gone far to prove that our course was a wise one, and that by adopting a conventional line we took the course the noble Lord himself was anxious to pursue in 1838. It appears that the principle of a commission was agreed upon by the two governments in 1838. On the 6th of April, 1838, the noble Lord sent out the draft of a convention for the new commission. The noble Lord thought that the principles he laid down in that draft could not be departed from. On the 29th of July, 1839, it was found, however, that Mr. Forsyth, so far from accepting and adopting the draught of the convention so sent him by the noble Lord, sent Mr. Fox his draught of the American counter-project —another project for a commission, and then the noble Lord found that there was a wide difference between himself and the government at Washington—that there was, in fact, no agreement between them. On the 3d of July, 1840, the noble Lord, writing to Mr. Fox, says:The British Government accordingly transmitted in April of last year, for the consideration of the President, the draught of a convention to regulate the proceedings of the proposed commission. The preamble of that draught recited textually the agreement which had been come to, by means of notes which had been exchanged between the two Governments; and the articles of the draught were framed, as her Majesty's Government considered, in strict conformity with that agreement. But the government of the United States did not think proper to assent to the convention so proposed. That government did not, indeed, allege that the proposed convention was at variance with the result of the previous correspondence between the two governments; but it thought that convention would establish a joint commission ' of mere exploration and survey; and the President was of opinion that the step next to be taken by the two governments ought to bear upon its face stipulations which must necessarily lead to a final settlement under some form or other, and within a reasonable time. The United States government accordingly sent to you, for transmission to her Majesty's Government, a counter-draught of convention, varying considerably, as Mr. Forsyth admitted, in some parts, from the draught as proposed by her Majesty's Government. But Mr. Forsyth added, that the United States government did not deem it necessary to comment upon the alterations so made, as the text of the counter- 1233 draught would be found sufficiently perspicuous.Now this was the state of matters in 1840. We had then Lord Palmerston complaining of nothing effectual having been done; but then, they had got the British project and the American counter-project. There was this difference, however, between them—the one contained the proposition for appointing an arbitrator, and the other did not. It was the American project that proposed an arbitrator. Then the noble Lord wrote to Mr. Fox that he rejected the project of the American government altogether. Well, on the 30th of June, 1840, the noble Lord sent Mr. Fox another draught of a convention, which was transmitted by him to Mr. Forsyth on the 28th of July, and how was it received? Why, on the 13th of August, also in 1840, Mr. Forsyth sent our minister another counter-project—a second counter-project, even as the noble Lord had done, nor had they come to any better understanding down to August 1841, when the time was approaching for the change in the Government. On the 24th August, 1841, only a few days before the noble Lord left office, he wrote to Mr. Fox as follows:Her Majesty's Government received with very great regret the second American counter-draft of a convention for determining the boundary between the United States and the British North American provinces, which you transmitted to me last autumn, in your despatch of the 15th of August, 1840, because that counter-draft contained so many inadmissible propositions, that it plainly showed that her Majesty's Government could entertain no hope of concluding any arrangement on this subject with the Government of Mr. Van Buren, and that there was no use in taking any further steps in the negotiation till the new President should come into power. Her Majesty's Government had certainly persuaded themselves that the draught which, in pursuance of your instructions, you presented to Mr. Forsyth on the 28th of July, 1840, was so fair in its provisions, and so well calculated to bring the differences between the two Governments about the boundary to a just and satisfactory conclusion, that it would have been at once accepted by the government of the United States, or that if the American government had proposed to make any alterations in it, those alterations would have related merely to matters of detail, and would not have borne upon any essential points of the arrangement; and her Majesty's Government were the more confirmed in this hope, because almost all the main principles of the arrangement which that draught was intended to carry into execution 1234 had, as her Majesty's Government conceived, been either suggested by, or agreed to, by the United Stales' Government itself.This was in August, 1841, and I may be allowed to remark that the noble Lord, in objecting to the propositions of the American government had used terms, which, if ever expressions exhibited dissent to a proposition that diplomatist disapproved of, most successfully expressed dissent in all its varieties. After a negotiation of four years, the noble Lord said of the arrangements proposed by the Government of the United States, that as to the preamble, her Majesty's Government "cannot possibly agree;" to the second article, "her Majesty's Government cannot consent;" to the third article, "her Majesty's Government must object. "The seventh article, it was said, imposes duties upon the commissioners "incompatible with each other." I am quoting the very words used by the noble Lord, and to every article there was an objection stated in a different form till they came to the tenth, and of that the noble Lord said,—But of all the propositions made by the American government, none can be more in admissible than that contained in article 10.Thus to one article the noble Lord cannot agree—to a second he cannot assent—to a third he said it proposed incompatible duties—and the fourth was more objectionable than the preceding; for that article, he said, suggested that Mitchell's map should be used as evidence bearing upon the question, whereas every one knew that it was full of gross inaccuracies, and "her Majesty's Government can never agree to this proposal, nor to any modification of it. Thus they had begun this discussion in 1783, and in 1841 we find the noble Lord with all his diplomatic skill, and all his knowledge, and all his astuteness, and aided as he might have been by Sir C. Vaughan and Lord Heytesbury, still with no prospect of peace before him; but on the contrary, almost two days before he quitted office, declaring that he could not agree, that he dissented, that he entirely dissented, and that he positively declined to assent to propositions made to him; that these propositions were founded upon principles utterly to be repudiated; that the first was inadmissible, the second bad, and the third worse; and finally, that the noble Lord, on behalf of the British Government, abandoned every hope of settling the question, as long as 1235 Mr. Van Buren was in the president's chair. It was in this state that the noble Lord left these negotiations. But then the noble Lord had said that he would make proposals of his own for settling the dispute. And what does the House think were the noble Lord's proposals in that desperate state of circumstances? The proposal of the noble Lord, after fifty-eight years of controversy, submitted by him to the American government for the purpose of a speedy settlement, was, that commissioners should be nominated on both sides; that they should attempt to make a settlement of this long disputed question; and then, if that failed, that the King of Prussia, the King of Sardinia, and the King of Saxony, were to be called in not to act as umpires, but they were each to be requested to name a scientific man, and that these three members of a scientific commission should proceed to arbitrate. Was there ever a proposition like this suggested for the arrangement of a question on which two countries had differed for fifty-eight years. And this, too, was proposed after the failure of the arbitration on the part of the King of Holland, and when they had their commission of exploration in vain. And yet, with all this, there were to be three scientific men, foreign professors—one from Prussia, one from Sardinia, and one from Saxony ! to do what? and where were they to meet, or how were they to come to a satisfactory adjustment? What must the people of the State of Main have thought of this proposition when they read that they were to be visited by three professors from Saxony, Sardinia, and Prussia. But what said the noble Lord's own minister on hearing of this proposition. Mr. Fox, in writing to the noble Lord said, "For God's sake, if you have arbitrators, do not have professional men." That was on record. "Have, he said, if you like, three sovereigns, but no philosophers." It was true that their judgment should be guided by scientific men; but the final judgment should be with statesmen and not with mere professors, and this, for many obvious reasons, was a point of very great importance. So also said Mr. Feartherstonhaugh whom the noble Lord had praised, and praised justly. But then, the noble Lord relied solely upon Mr. Feat her stonhaugh and Colonel Mudge. The noble Lord would not depart one inch from Feather stonhaugh and Mudge. Ten years had elapsed before the noble Lord would agree 1236 to settle the question, and then he would not move from the conclusions to which he had arrived through the means of those two gentlemen. The instant Mr. Webster came into office, the noble Lord attacked him with Featherstonhaugh and Mudge. He called upon Mr. Webster to submit. "But no," said Mr. Webster, "I have got a Featherstonhaugh and Mudge of my own, and I am as well satisfied with these as you are with yours." The noble Lord wanted to force conviction on the United States; but they would not be convinced. But what said Mr. Featherstonhaugh to the noble Lord's proposition? That it was quite true a commission might be appointed; but the commissioners might not give in their report until the expiration of eight or ten years, and then the expense of the commission might exceed the value of the territory in dispute, and, after all, the decision might be against them. For God's sake said Mr. Fox the noble Lord's minister, do not appoint professors; go on said the noble Lord's favourite commissioner, with a commission if you will, but it may exceed the value of the territory, and after all the decision may be against you. However, there was a change in the American government, and then Mr. Fox in despair set about executing the instructions of the noble Lord. The noble Lord said:—Let us consider the American contre projet as unreasonable, undeserving of answer—as withdrawn from consideration, and now submit my original projet to Mr. Webster, the new Secretary of State, and persuade him it is reasonable.Mr. Fox accordingly waited on Mr. Webster, and thus describes the reception his proposals met with from that gentleman, "I found him entirely ignorant of the last previous movements of the two Governments on the subject." Mr. Webster not having watched the progress of these projets and contre-projets, says, "Give me time to master this difficult question. "I know what that is: I have been trying to wade through it ever since it began in 1783, and I ask the sympathy of any one who has been subjected to a similar infliction. At last Mr. Fox reports, from communications with Mr. Webster, his conviction of a willingness to conclude the dispute by the compromise of a conventional line of boundary. That was the conclusion which Mr. Webster, a wise and sagacious man, came to before he had waded through one-half of the controversy; 1237 and as we came to the same conclusion we resolved, instead of appointing commissioners, trusting to the evidence Mr. Fox adduced of a readiness on the part of the United States government to act in a spirit of conciliation, we resolved to make one effort to conclude the long-pending dispute by a conventional line mutually satisfactory. And was it not time for us to do so? There are questions which admit of delay; there are speculative points of difference which may be hung up for years without compromising national interests or injuriously affecting the settlement of them; but there are others in respect to which delay brings with it certain peril. And what was the power of the arguments in this case against further delay? Have you read the correspondence of your own colonial officers as to what passed on the frontier. I hope to hear from a late high commissioner, the gallant Officer near me, his testimony as to what was the result of the delay respecting the disputed territory. [Sir H. Douglas: "Hear."] Did we gain by this procrastination? No. America was nearer at hand. Every month that passed was undermining our dominion over that continent. I ask my gallant and hon. Friend for (instance), whether in 1828 he did not apprehend an American subject and bring him to trial for encroachments on this disputed territory, and whether on the very spot on which he was taken, a fort has not since been erected by the authorities of Maine. [Sir H. Douglas: "Hear."] The vast tide of population — that rapid and resistless tide which knows no ebb — presses on from day to day, and each month that passed saw our territory further encroached on—the dominion we had in 1838 we retained not in 1840; and had we postponed the settlement for another five years, the question would have settled itself by a contest for actual possession. If we had pursued then the course for the future which had been pursued in the past, let me tell you that, however boastful your language might have been, you would have placed yourself in an infinitely worse position than when you previously attempted to settle the question. Now let me refer to some of our colonial authorities to prove that it would not have been wise in us (notwithstanding our Featherstonhaugh and Mudge), to have waited, relying on commissions, for some five years longer, with no reasonable prospect of a satisfactory settlement. In April 1238 1840, Sir J. Harvey writes thus to Mr. Fox:—A sudden and entirely unexpected interruption has been made by a large body of the people of Maine (under the authority of certain resolutions of the Legislature of the State) into a part of the territory in dispute which has hitherto been in the possession of Great Britain.Sir J. Harvey had the good fortune to meet with an excellent and judicious officer with whom he came to an agreement, by the exercise of mutual forbearance and discretion. But what was that agreement:That Great Britain should hold a part of the disputed territory of Maine, denying the right of such possession, and that Maine should hold another portion of the territory, Great Britain denying the right of such occupation.Here then was the convention. What is the account of the hostile preparations of Maine afforded by our Minister, Mr. Sherwood:Everything wears in Maine a warlike appearance; the people are hot for it. The draughting of the militia has commenced. There can be no doubt of the intention of the State; it is, to take possession of the territory we claim.And was the agreement entered into with Sir John Harvey adhered to by the State? What said Sir John Harvey to Mr. Fox.Upon the ratification of an agreement to this effect, accompanied as it was by an assurance from General Scott (which to me was entirely conclusive), of his conviction that it would be fulfilled by Maine ' cheerfully and in good faith,' I immediately ordered back to Canada her Majesty's 11th regiment, which was then in the occupation of both banks of the St. John river, just below the confluence of it with the Madawaska, and I shortly afterwards despatched the warden of the disputed territory with a suitable posse, with instructions to seize and destroy all timber illegally cut, and effectually to prevent, by the force of the laws of this province, all further depredations upon the timber of that portion of the disputed territory comprised in the valley of the Upper St. John. Scarcely, however, had these orders been given, and these movements made, in the very spirit, as I declare to your Excellency, of an anxious desire on my part to give effect to what I considered to be the true intent of the arrangement, when I learned, with equal astonishment and concern, that a portion of the armed posse of Maine had not only advanced from the valley of the Restook to that of the Upper St. John, and had established and commenced fortifying itself (why do this, if not conscious of the infringement of the agree meat which it was committing?) at the mouth 1239 of the Fish River; but that the person in charge of this party (of the name of Nye), had actually threatened to arrest the British warden (whose posse was unarmed) in the execution of the duties which I had assigned to him.These are the evidences of the impropriety of delay. What further is the advice of Lord Sydenham. On the 21st of May, 1841 (one of the last letters the noble Lord could have written), he thus wrote to Sir W. Colebrooke:—I entertain the most decided opinion that the Americans ought never to have been permitted by Sir John Harvey to form that establishment, which was in direct and open violation of the convention made by himself; but it has been suffered, and thus the curious anomaly is presented of an armed posse, in the pay and under the authority of a foreign state, being stationed in a district over which her Majesty claims and has exercised jurisdiction. Whilst, therefore, it is true that the authority of the warden extends, even according to the interpretation above referred to, over the fort at Fish River, it would, in my opinion, be extremely imprudent and unwise to call it in question, unless we are prepared to carry it to its full extent, which would really be the removal of the American posse altogether. A case might arise of so grave a character, in the shape of insult or injury to her Majesty's subjects along the St. John's, as would necessitate interference with this force, and justify the collision that must attend it, but every endeavour should be used to avoid it, and certainly the offence contemplated as likely to call for it, is one of the last which would be a sufficient motive for what might be attended with such serious consequences.That is the account Lord Sydenham gave of the state of affairs; you cannot repel his authority. Yet what more humiliating position could the interests of this country be placed in? We are obliged to march men to drive a foreign force out of our territory. What a situation of relations with the United States! We know the state of things in 1841 was such that twenty-two battalions were in Canada, and if we had not settled the question, those battalions would have remained there. Lord Sydenham, moreover, said,—From my despatch of the 21stult., your Excellency will have learned my views in regard to the exercise by the warden of any authority over that part of the disputed territory now in possession of the state of Maine.—I still continue to think that every exertion should be made not inconsistent with the national honour and the safety of her Majesty's subjects, to prevent a collision; but it is impossible to allow the people of Maine to carry out the schemes which you suppose to be in 1240 contemplation without an entire sacrifice of British interests. I trust that the further in information which Mr. M'Lauchlan is seeking, will show that some mistake exists as to their intentions, if not, 1 shall immediately upon receiving your letter and further report, apply to Mr. Fox, with a request that he will at once appeal to the federal government to prevent acts on the part of Maine, which are contrary to the existing arrangements between the countries, and which, if persisted in, must inevitably lead to collision.Sir W. Colebrooke wrote to the same effect to the noble Lord. He said—The encroachments that have taken place, and the embarrassments that they have occasioned, induces me to consider that no time should be lost for effecting such a settlement as may be now practicable, and not a compromise of the settlers' rights on either side of the St. John's. Circumstances might, at one time, have induced the Americans to assent to such a line, if any were attainable, preferable to that proposed: but the settlements on the south of the river would lead the people of Maine to oppose it, and such opposition would effectually prevent the United States from assenting to it.Have I not, then, by strict proof, shown that in 1841 the matter admitted of no delay?—that the public peace on the frontier was compromised—that our amicable relations with the United States were en dangered—that it would have been unwise to enter upon a new commission which might have lasted for years, and must have led either to our loss of the territory by constant encroachment, or to the necessity for a resort to arms for its protection? We determined, then, to make every effort for an honourable adjustment, and to invite with that view, the assistance of a nobleman we believed best calculated, by his character, to attract the confidence of both countries. The noble Lord opposite says there were some prejudices and interests as to the United States, which precluded Lord Ashburton from being the proper person for such a commission. Sir, I never heard of such prejudices. I never heard of such imputations. Nor do I believe that there could be any considerations to which Lord Ashburton would listen except that of his country's real welfare. And, I will add, that it was through his own wish alone that he became not a Cabinet Councillor of her Majesty. He filled office with me in 1835. There is no man in the whole range of public characters, whom I consider more calculated to give strength to a Government than Lord Ashburton. But ambition was not his object: 1241 he sought only an honourable retirement; cheered by the satisfactory recollection of many years' creditable discharge of public duties. Through his own act alone he was not included in the Cabinet. It was at the earnest request of the Administration that he, disregarding private wishes and inclinations, and believing his influence might be beneficial for the preservation of peace, undertook his important mission; and, in my opinion, be deserves well of his country—not only for having undertaken it, but for the manner in which he per formed it. His conduct merits approbation, and I claim for the Government all the responsibility which belongs to an entire approval of it. We think him entitled to every acknowledgment; it is the Government, therefore, not Lord Ashburton, that is to be condemned on account of the treaty if condemnation be considered just. But I conceive, that instead of condemnation, Lord Ashburton and the Government ought to meet with public acknowledgment and gratitude. He went out to the United States to effect a settlement. I think I have shown that it would have been unwise to attempt further explorations and inquiries by commissions. In some quarters, it appears that the American Minister, Mr. Webster, has met with censure on account of the treaty, similar to that which has assailed Lord Ashburton; but I believe he was equally animated by a spirit of sincere regard for the interests of his country, uninfluenced by political considerations. If then, a conventional line were to be adopted, what basis were we to take for the negotiation? We hoped for a more favourable line than the King of Holland had assigned us. What impression does the noble Lord entertain as to the likelihood of the people of the United States agreeing to a line more favourable for us? For my part, I am convinced they were honestly persuaded of the justice of their claims, from the highest to the lowest. Lord Ashburton found, on his arrival in America, one almost unanimous bonâ fide conscientious feeling that their claims were founded on justice. You may say it was an erroneous and unfounded impression; and you may be just as satisfied of the justice of our claim. But can you ever effect any adjustment without some degree of mutual concession? And the impression of the Americans had been strengthened by the noble Lord's conduct. The noble Lord did not insist on our extreme rights. He had listened to compromise; 1242 subsequently to 1835 he professed a readiness to divide the territory. The impression of those in America most favourable for a settlement was, that we might possibly allow an acquiescence in the award of the King of Holland ("the Dutchman's line"), but nothing beyond it: and if Lord Ashburton had attempted to take any other basis than this, he might as well have altogether abandoned the attempt at arrangement. As to advancing the boundary of the United States to certain heights in the neighbourhood of the St. Lawrence, we acted not hastily; we were most desirous that every boundary line should duly protect the interests of our North American provinces—which we were deter mined to defend with the whole power of the British Empire, so long as they manifested a sincere and honest desire to maintain the connexion. We did, therefore (feeling it of the highest moment not to compromise their security), before entering into any communication with Lord Ashburton, consult many of the highest military authorities; among them, the gallant Officer (Sir H. Douglas), whose ability and experience entitle his opinion to much respect, Sir James Kempt, Lord Seaton, Sir George Murray, and I may add, the Duke of Wellington. We consulted all these distinguished Officers as to the most desirable line of boundary in a military point of view. Our great object was to select, in preference to that part of the boundary awarded by the King of Holland, some boundary that should better countervail any possibility of dispute. And I apprehend that we succeeded. We have got more favourable terms by Lord Ashburton's boundary, so far as military security is concerned, than those which were given by the boundary of the King of Holland. We did deem it a great object to prevent the Americans from having the command of those heights which overlooked the St. Lawrence: but the King of Holland had given those heights to the United States; and I beg to tell the noble Lord, who is the foremost to condemn this proposal, that the acquiescence in that alteration of boundary has been met by great objections in the United States, and that there are some in the United States who consider that very great sacrifices have been made by that government in giving up that part of the boundary which was awarded to the United States by the King of Holland. Now, how stands the extent of territory? 1243 The noble Lord said in his despatch, that the division of territory by the King of Holland was in these proportions, three-fifths to the United States, and two-fifths only to Great Britain. The boundary of Lord Ashburton gives us a much larger extent of territory—that gives, I think, about seven-twelfths to the United States, and five-twelfths to Great Britain. Mr. Feat her stonhaugh calculates the difference in point of acres, and makes it also very favourable to Great Britain; I do not exactly bear in mind what the proportions were according to him, but I think that by the award of the King of Holland we had about 2,600,000 acres, and the Americans 4,500,000 acres, and that by the present division of territory we have about 3,400,000 acres, and the Americans about 3,700,000. So that if you take the extent of territory, the division made by Lord Ashburton is a little more in point of acres than that awarded by the King of Holland; and if you take the military frontier, the boundary of Lord Ashburton is more favourable than that of the King of Holland. The noble Lord referred to certain dinners which took place at Boston, New York, and at which Lord Ashburton had been present; and says, that the conclusion of this treaty was a matter of the utmost congratulation and triumph to the United States. Why, Sir, there are senators in the United States who take exactly the same view of this adjustment, as bearing upon the interests of the United States as the noble Lord takes of it in its bearing upon our interests. It is curious to contrast the language of the noble Lord with that of persons of great eminence and consideration in the United States, and I cannot give a more convincing proof of the difficulty which attended this question than by showing the discordant views of different persons with respect to it. A very eminent man in the United States, a man of great weight and influence in the senate—Mr. Benton, who voted against the treaty—in speaking of the concessions made by Mr. Webster. Now, just contrast this with the language of the noble Lord—Mr. Benton says,Such are the grants and concessions from Great Britain to the United States; few in number, small in value, nothing for her to yield, injurious to her to retain, and already ours as effectually without the treaty as with it. Except the restricted and compensated navigation of the lower St. John, all the rest was already ours—ours by the treat 1244 of 1783, and by the fact that Great Britain wanted none of these slips, or islands, or points of land, with the encumbrance of their republican inhabitants, which she makes a merit of yielding to us. Not so with our grants to her. They are large and valuable-material for her to receive—dangerous and injurious for us to yield—and involving, not only territory, but natural boundaries; and admitting a foreign power within the limits which nature herself and the treaty of 1783 had prescribed for the frontier of an independent nation. And here I frankly accost the subject, and say, that if our negotiator, in forming a general treaty for all the states, and in settling all the subjects in dispute between the two countries, had yielded to the British Crown all that the award of the King of the Netherlands granted, I should have said not a word. But in transcending that award, which he himself opposed as yielding too much—in giving up more now than the British Government demanded at the time of that award —in doing this, I find reasons for amazement and disapprobation. I am astonished at what I behold, and shall proceed to state the number and the magnitude of the sacrifices we have made, and demand from the friends of the negotiator the causes and the reasons for such extraordinary concessions.That is the language of Mr. Benton; he thinks the honour of the United States is absolutely sacrificed by the treaty that was made with Lord Ashburton. Then, speaking of the arrangement that was made about the Caroline and Mr. M'Leod in enabling the court of general authority of the United States to overrule the jurisdiction, with respect to a man committed by the states court, Mr. Benton says:—The infamous act—the habeas corpus against the states—squeamishly called the 'remedial justice act'—is now on the statute-book, the original polluting our code of law, the copy lying at the footstool of the British Queen. And this is the point we have reached. In the short space of a year and-a-half the national character has been run down, from the pinnacle of honour to the abyss of disgrace, I limit myself now to the affair of M'Leod and the Caroline alone; and say that, in this business, exclusive of other disgraces, the national character has been brought to the lowest point of contempt. It required the Walpole administration, twenty-five long years of cowardly submission to France and Spain, to complete the degradation of Great Britain; our present rulers have completed the same work for their own country in the short space of eighteen months. And this is the state of our America ! —that America which Jackson and Van Buren left so proud!—that America which, with 3,000,000 of people, fought and worsted the British empire—with 7,000,000 fought it, and worsted it again—and now, with 18,000,000. 1245 truckles to the British Queen, and invents all sorts of propitiatory apologies for her, when the most ample atonement is due to itself.These are the opinions of the Palmerston of America; and permit these extreme councillors to prevail, and you will soon have war between the two countries. But in this I confide—I confide in what I believe to be the vast preponderance of the influence of men in either country wishing and hoping for peace between them—J believe that the vast majority in America are actuated by a sincere desire for peace, and that they concur in the terms settled by Lord Ashburton. I believe that they are not prepared to act on the principles of the noble Lord on one hand, or of Mr. Benton upon the other. The noble Lord asks by implication, by the motion which he has made, the noble Lord asks the House to condemn Lord Ashburton, and to disapprove of his treaty. I entreat all those, whatever their party connection may be—whatever their political opinions may be, providing that they do believe that delay in this matter was no longer possible—that delay was injurious to Britain, not merely by the want of a definite treaty, but by the danger in which uncertainty placed the maintenance of peace—I entreat all those not to follow the noble Lord in his critical examination of minute details, but to take comprehensive views of the question, and declare by their language, by their speeches, by their votes, their satisfaction that these differences, with respect to this boundary, are adjusted on honourable and mutually conciliatory terms. Depend upon it no adjustment will be to our advantage which is not based upon conciliatory terms. If you have three professors to reinforce Messrs. Mudge and Featherstonhaugh, and if you force a boundary upon a reluctant people, you may be abstractedly in the right; but your prospect of continued peace would be lowering and gloomy, if a sullen assent were to be given on the part of the United States. I say, therefore, that a measure of adjustment was not the only object, it was necessary that that measure should be a satisfactory and conciliatory measure of adjustment. Why, we are not now minutely to criticise the treaty. Let us think how our North American provinces have been treated. It is their interests which have been principally compromised, if any have been compromised; but I do not believe that even that has been the case. Or that British interests, with boundaries extending for 1246 nearly 3,000 miles, with millions on millions of acres of territory have been compromised. Let us think of the value of these lands, and do not let us set up difficulties, do not let us even take into consideration the thousands, or (I am not inclined to underrate their value) the few millions of acres of extra territory. I don't undervalue the boundary of the Aroostook; but, a few thousands or millions of acres is nothing against the advantage of a permanent and satisfactory peace. And yet I would advise you to concede nothing inconsistent with your honour. I put out of the question the political aspect of affairs at the time this treaty was effected. I put out of consideration the political aspect of affairs at the time these disputes were settled. I do not ask you to look to the wars then being carried on in Affghanistan—to the wars being carried on in China—I do not ask you to look to the then state of our relations with France—I do not ask you to praise the treaty in connection with these circumstances—on the contrary, I believe that no dangers should ever induce you to make unjust and unwise arrangements. You are not entitled by any such considerations to sacrifice your North American colonies, and even if you had done so, I do not believe that your concessions would have laid the foundations of a lasting peace. You should do that which you believe to be wise and just; and make no undue concessions in order to preserve peace. Such concessions have a tendency to encourage the power to which they are made in its unjust demands; and I, therefore, place no stress on the position of affairs in other parts of the world at the time of the conclusion of the treaty. But, Sir, I say that that treaty was hailed with satisfaction by our North American colonies. The previous unsettled state of affairs had been felt as a grievous interruption to habits of honest industry—there had been no possibility of concluding sales of land—the uncertain position of affairs had interfered with business and industry; the inhabitants of our North American colonies gain much by the prospect of a continued peace. As far as public sentiment can be traced by the declarations of the public press, I find that nine-tenths of the newspapers published in these provinces are in favour of the treaty. The people, then, are not disturbed by those apprehensions of danger in the event of war, so long dwelt on by the noble Lord. They are sensible that those eventual dangers will be brought on 1247 them by allowing the approach of an American army within thirty miles of Quebec, were nothing compared to the hazards to be encountered were the question left unsettled. They thought all such fears as those insisted on by the noble Lord, were subordinate considerations, and they rejoiced in the adjustment of the question. There is one more point on which I must touch before I sit down. The noble Lord has spoken at great length of a map recently discovered. He seems to think that that map so discovered affords conclusive evidence of the justice of the British claims. Now, Sir, in the first place, let me observe to the noble Lord, that cotemporary maps may be—when the words of the treaty referred to by them are in themselves doubtful—they may be evidence of the intentions of those who framed them, but the treaty must be executed according to the words contained in it. Even if the map were sustained by the parties, it could not contravene the words of the treaty; but the noble Lord considers that a certain map which has been found in the archives of the foreign-office at Paris, is conclusive evidence of the justness of the British claims. Now, Sir, I am not prepared to acquiesce in any such assertion. Great blame has been thrown upon Mr. Webster with respect to this map. He has been charged with perfidy and want of good faith in not having at once disclosed to Lord Ashburton the fact of his possessing this map. Now, I must say that it is rather hard, when we know what are the practices of diplomatists and negotiators. I say it is rather hard to expect that the negotiator on the part of the United States should be held bound to disclose to the diplomatist with whom he was in treaty all the weak parts of his case, and I think, therefore, that the reflection cast upon Mr. Webster—a gentleman of worth and honour—are, with respect to this matter, very unjust. This map was, it is true, found in the archives of the foreign-office at Paris, and a letter of Dr. Franklin's has also been found, having reference to some map, but there is no direct connection between the map so found and the letter of Dr. Franklin. In general there is such a connection as in the case of maps referred to in despatches; but there is none in this case. There is nothing to show that the map so found is the identical map referred to by Dr. Franklin in his letter; and nothing can be more fallacious than relying on such maps. 1248 For let me state what may be said upon the other side of the question with respect to maps. We made inquiry about those maps in the foreign-office at Paris, and we could find none such as that in question at first. We have not been so neglectful in former times with respect to the matter as the noble Lord seems to think. We made inquiries, in 1826 and 1827, into the maps in the foreign office at Paris, for the purpose of throwing light upon the intentions of the negotiators of 1783. A strict search was made for any documents bearing in any upon the disputed question, but at that time neither letter nor map could be found. However, there were afterwards discovered, by a gentleman engaged in writing a history of America, a letter and a certain map, supposed by him to be the map referred to in the letter. In answer to our first inquiry, as I have already stated, no such map could be discovered. The first which we received from the foreign-office at Paris was a map framed in 1783 by Mr. Faden, geographer to the King of England. On that map is in scribed—"A Map of the Boundary of the United States, as agreed to by the treaty of 1783: by Mr. Faden, geographer to the King." Now, Sir, that map placed the boundary according to the American claim, yet it was a cotemporary map, and it was published by the geographer to the British King. There was a work which I have here, a political periodical of the time, published in 1783, called Bewe's Journal. It gives a full report of the debate in Parliament upon the treaty then being concluded, and, in order to illustrate the report, it also gives a map of the boundaries between the countries as then agreed to. That map, Sir, also adopts the line claimed by the United States. On subsequent inquiry, at Paris, we found a map, which must be the map referred to by Mr. Jared Sparkes. There is placed upon that map a broad red line, and that line marks out the boundary as claimed by the British. It is probably a map by M. d'Anville, of 1746, and there can be no doubt but that it is the map referred to by Mr. Jared Sparkes; but we can trace no indication of connection between it and the despatch of Dr. Franklin. To say that they were connected is a mere unfounded inference. But there is still another map. Here—in this country—in the library of the late King, was deposited a map by Mitchell, of the date 1753—that map was in the possession of the late King, and it 1249 was also in possession of the noble Lord, but he did not communicate its contents to Mr. Webster. It is marked by a broad red line, and on that line is written "Boundary, as described by our negotiator, Mr. Oswald;" and that line follows the claim of the United States. That map was on an extended scale. It was in possession of the late King, who was particularly curious in respect to geographical inquiries. On that map, I repeat, is placed the boundary line—that claimed by the United States, and on four different places on that line, "Boundary as described by Oswald." Now I do not say that that was the boundary ultimately settled by the negotiators; but nothing can be more fallacious than founding a claim upon cotemporary maps, unless you can also prove that they were adopted by the negotiators: and when the noble Lord takes it for granted that if we had resorted to arbitration we should have been successful in obtaining our claims, I cannot help thinking that the matter would be open to much discussion. Indeed, I do not believe that that claim of Great Britain was well-founded; that it is a claim which the negotiators intended to ratify. I cannot say, either, that the inquiries which have been instituted since Mr. Sparkes's discovery have materially strengthened my conviction either way. I think they leave matters much as they were, and nothing, I think, can be more delusive than the expectation that, if the question were referred to arbitration—the decision would inevitably have been given in your favour, in consequence of the evidence of maps, which would not be regarded as maps recognized by the negotiators themselves. And then, Sir, with reference to the maps discovered subsequently to the conclusion of the negotiations conducted by Lord Ashburton. The noble Lord opposite has stated that his predecessor in office had made all possible inquiry into the matter, and possessed all the elements of information connected with it. Lord Ashburton then had a right to draw the same conclusion. He had a right to presume that he was sent abroad in possession of all the elements of information on which a satisfactory conclusion could be come to, and therefore the subsequent discovery of the map in Paris, even if it could be positively connected with Dr. Franklin's despatch, would be no ground for the impeachment of the treaty of Lord Ashburton, or for proving that he had not ably and honourably discharged his du- 1250 ties. If blame should fall upon any one, it should fall upon those who have been conducting these negotiations for years. But I think that I have shown that no blame can be attached either to Lord Aberdeen or Mr. Canning; that they did what they could to search the archives of the foreign-office at Paris for information connected with the subject. The documents lately discovered were not kept in the political department of the French foreign-office, but in the historical department, and it was thus that while they had eluded former search they had come to be discovered by Mr. Jared Sparkes. Nothing must be said as impeaching the accuracy or good faith of that gentleman, but he himself admits that the map which he discovered could not be traced to have had any connexion with the despatch of Dr. Franklin. I am not aware that there is any other point noticed by the noble Lord to which I have omitted to refer. As I said before, I deeply regret that the noble Lord should have brought forward such a motion as he has to-night proposed. Most willingly would I have consented to the production of additional papers on this subject, if I could have done so consistently with my sense of public duty. In consenting to a change in the line awarded by the King of Holland, as I have before stated, our chief object was to consult the security and the military defence of our North American colonies. I think it must be quite evident to the House that it would be inconsistent with my duty to present any correspondence bearing upon that subject. I should also decidedly object, in the case of a negotiation which has been brought to a successful result, to lay upon the Table of the House all the confidential communications which may have passed between the executive Government of this country and the individual by whom they were represented. I do not believe that there is any precedent which would warrant the production of papers of this nature under such circumstances. Where the endeavour to conclude a treaty has failed, and where it might be necessary to appeal to the House for its opinion, it might be justifiable to lay before the public the whole correspondence on the subject. My objection to produce the correspondence required by the noble Lord does not arise from any mere consideration of the interests of the Government. As I before stated, we adopt the conduct of Lord Ashburton—we approve his conduct 1251 and we hold ourselves responsible for it. If, therefore, the noble Lord should wish to move a direct vote of censure, without calling for further documents, he may involve the Government in that censure; but, acting upon the principles on which men in office must act, I am bound to consider whether it be consistent with the public interests to produce the confidential communications between the Government and their representative, Lord Ashburton; and I must state that I think the production of such correspondence would be most injurious to the public interests. It is, however, competent to the noble Lord to press his motion to a division; but if the noble Lord does adopt that course, it will be with a view of calling upon the House to mark its condemnation of the Government for having sent Lord Ashburton to the United States to conclude this treaty, and to censure Lord Ashburton for the course which he has pursued. I do hope that the House will not lend itself, so far as Lord Ashburton is concerned, to such an act of injustice. That noble Lord, following the course which he has uniformly pursued, influenced only by a desire to promote the public welfare, and to maintain peace between this country and the United States, sacrificed his own private convenience—his private ease—in order that he might undertake this mission. Lord Ashburton and Mr. Webster have both been the objects of condemnation in their respective countries. Lord Ashburton has been, in this country, the victim of anonymous calumnies; and I am confident that no hon. Member of this House could have sanctioned those calumnies who would have adopted any other course than that of proposing a direct motion of inculpation, calling upon the House to pronounce its censure on the conduct of a man so aspersed. The motion of to-night is in itself a complete vindication of, and triumph for, Lord Ashburton. If a powerful party can bring forward no other motion reflecting upon the conduct of Lord Ashburton than—not a vote of censure—not a motion implying the slightest blame—but a mere proposal for the production of papers which the author of the motion knows cannot be produced—I say that any vindication of Lord Ashburton is wholly unnecessary. The nature and character of the motion itself constitute the vindication and the triumph of Lord Ashburton. The noble Lord is afraid to propose a vote implying censure, lest I should move an amendment, 1252 which would be carried by a vast majority, approving of the treaty, and of the conduct of Lord Ashburton. The private character of Lord Ashburton—much as I regard that noble Lord—is to me a matter of comparative unimportance, compared with the public interests which are involved in the decision which the House may adopt upon this motion. The decision of to-night, if to-night a decision is come to, will involve the opinion of the House as to the adjustment of the differences between this country and America. I do not mean to say that all the subjects of differences between the United States and this country have been adjusted by this treaty, but 1 speak of those peculiar differences which caused considerable exasperation in both countries, and which afforded reason for apprehending the disturbance of tranquillity. If you are desirous for the maintenance of peace—if you believe that this negotiation has contributed to lay the foundation of peace—then I call upon you not to be misled by a plausible motion calling for further papers to imply a doubtful and equivocal opinion; but if, upon the whole, you are satisfied that the conduct of the Government and of its representative, Lord Ashburton, has been influenced by pure motives—that it has been wise and just—that it has contributed to lay the foundation of a better understanding with the United States—then I do intreat you, whatever be your party differences from us, whatever be your political principles, to mark your opinion in favour of peace by negativing the motion of the noble Lord.
§ Mr. Macaulay
said, I hope, Sir, I shall find credit with the House when I state, with all earnestness, that the few observations which in the discharge of my duty to my country I feel bound to offer on this occasion, are in no respect dictated by any feelings of either national or personal animosity. The feeling of national animosity is in all cases odious, but such animosity on the part of Englishmen towards the people of the United States, may justly be termed unnatural. Whatever intercourse I have had with the citizens of the United States has been uniformly an interchange of courtesies and kind offices; and as a public man, and as an Englishman, I can think of that great community only as one composed of persons whose veins are full of our blood, whose minds are nourished by our literature, and whose most valuable institutions 1253 are derived from our own. As a public man, again, I cannot but reflect that while peace is in all quarters the greatest of blessings, while war in any part of the world must be regarded as one of the greatest of public calamities, a war with the United States would be of all the calamities that could befal this country the most disastrous, for it would unite with all the horrors of foreign war many of the peculiar enormities of civil conflict; it would interrupt that salutary connexion which exists between the two countries; it would produce frightful disturbance of trade; it would involve in extensive ruin private families; and it would obstruct, to a greater extent than any other event I can well conceive, the great interests of humanity and civilization. Having protested that towards the United States I entertain no feeling of ill-will, I can with equal truth make the same declaration with respect to the noble individual whose conduct is peculiarly under discussion; and I cannot easily conceive, from anything I have seen or heard, that Lord Ashburton can, in this House or elsewhere, have any personal enemy. I readily and cordially admit the extent of his information; and I sincerely admire those eminent abilities which I have seen displayed in this House with great profit and advantage to the public, and from which I have myself derived pleasure and instruction. I readily admit his integrity, and his many amiable qualities; and if in anything I may say, I should, with reference to that noble Lord, exceed the limits of the strictest decorum, or the rules of Parliamentary debate, I can only say with regard to anything I may so utter, that I beforehand wish it unsaid. But his Lord ship knows, and those connected with him know, that it is the duty of public men to scrutinize most strictly the conduct of the responsible servants of the Crown; and they know that on no occasion could it be more important to do so than with reference to the subject now under discussion. Indeed, after the declaration which has been made by the right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel), it is more important to scrutinize the conduct of the Government with respect to this question than at first sight appeared necessary. The right hon. Baronet takes upon himself, and upon the Government of which he is the head, the entire and complete responsibility of the matter and manner of this important ne- 1254 gotiation. Now this negotiation is not only important in itself, on account of the interests at stake, but in another point of view it is of great importance. It is the first great negotiation which since the last change of Ministry has been concluded between England and any foreign power. Coming into office after exclusion from power, with a short interval, for, I think, upwards of ten years, the Members of the present Government found that our relations with the United States presented one of the most important, subjects to which their attention could be directed. They considered the subject, they state, with extreme attention; they selected, with the greatest care, a negotiator for the purpose of carrying their views into effect; they approve, in every respect, of his conduct. The fruits of this negotiation lie before us; and we must consider ourselves as inquiring, not merely whether this treaty is a just and proper one—not merely whether this correspondence be honour able to the abilities and public spirit of Lord Ashburton—but, seeing how probable it is that the present Government will for a considerable time retain their position in power—whether their policy be pacific in truth, or pacific only in show, and whether, on the system they seem at present inclined to pursue, it is probable that the honour and interests of this country are likely to be promoted—I shall commence by making a concession which I think the right hon. Baronet opposite will admit to be a large one, and for making which, I fear, the noble Lord near me (Lord Palmerston) may consider that I merit some degree of blame. Though I am firmly convinced, that if this question were tried as a mere matter of right, we have, with regard to the boundary, clearly ceded too much; though I think we have ceded not only that which we had a right to keep, but that which it would in many respects have been advantageous to us to have retained; though I think the negotiations, in many of the points mentioned by my noble Friend, have been on that subject most unskilfully conducted; yet I feel, and I have always felt, most strongly the immense importance of arriving at a settlement of this question. I have always felt that when a subject has been agitated during so many years—when it has excited so much exasperation—when, on both sides, there is so firm a conviction of the justice of their respective claims— 1255 something must be sacrificed. It is necessary, I admit, under such circumstances, that a compromise should be made. I cannot better express my opinion on this subject than by adopting the language of the hon. Member for Halifax at the begining of the present Session:—I am ready to admit (my hon. Friend said), that if the causes of differences between the two countries are fairly adjusted, if the arrangements are such as to close the present, and preclude future causes of dispute, I am not one of those who would attach much importance to a few square miles of territory more or less; but then I must have a distinct assurance that those causes of difference have actually been removed.The conditions, however, which I think myself entitled to demand, when we have been ceding what the right hon. Baronet opposite admits, if 1 understood him, to be our right are these three:—First, that the dignity and honour of this country shall be in no respect compromised by the manner in which the arrangement shall be made. To that condition, if I correctly understood the right hon. Baronet, he will I doubt not, give his assent. The second condition I must require is, that the treaty purchased by this sacrifice of our rights shall be a treaty which either removes all causes of difference, or if it does not effect that, at least does not place us with regard to any of them in a decidedly worse position than that in which we stood before the treaty was concluded; and lastly, I am entitled to demand that this treaty shall be one which has produced on both sides kindly and cordial feelings, and which has rendered the recurrence of any difficulties such as those which preceded it in the highest degree improbable. I regret to say that I entertain very grave doubts—I may say more than doubts—whether the negotiations, and the treaty which has resulted from them, will be found to fulfil these conditions. First, then, as to the question of national honour. I must say that it is impossible to read through this correspondence, to compare the letters, without exception, of the English Plenipotentiary with those which emanated from the American secretary, without being struck with a certain, humble, caressing, wheedling tone which pervades them, and which seems to me utterly inconsistent with the dignity of the office which Lord Ashburton occupied. Many cases, which 1256 I could cite, occur to me; some of them—indeed most of them—appear slight at the first glance; but as Lord Bacon says,A straw will serve to show you which way the wind blows.I think it was highly improper on the part of Lord Ashburton to state to the government of the United States, as a reason why he should be especially trusted by them, and why they should act with more confidence and cordiality towards him, that he had opposed the last war with America. I think that was not the course an English Ambassador ought to have pursued. I disapprove of that war; it occurred before my time; but as far as I have obtained information on the subject, I think that those who joined Lord Ashburton in opposing that war acted a wise and patriotic part. But I conceive that when a person receives the Queen's command to go forth as her representative, he is in that capacity the organ of the Government, and he is not entitled to ask the favour and confidence of the power to which he is accredited on the ground that his opinion is opposed to the line of con duct which has been pursued by his Government and by his Sovereign, that conduct having been sanctioned and sup ported by the voice of the Houses of Lords and Commons. Can any hon. Gentleman furnish me with a diplomatic precedent for such conduct? I remember none, although I confess my own diplomatic studies have not been so extensive as I could wish. I do remember, however, the negotiations of 1806, and if Mr. Fox had chosen to do so, he might then have made a merit with the French Government of his constant and determined opposition to the war with France. He might have said in his letter to Talleyrand, "I have been the firm opponent of war. When every one was clamouring for war against France, and when the Opposition dwindled down to thirty or forty Members, I cried, Peace, peace, peace!'" But Mr. Fox—the greatest diplomatist, Lord Grenville said, who ever lived—knew too well what pertained to his duty as a public man, and never by one word did he repudiate or disclaim any act of his predecessors, or make any distinction between himself and Mr. Pitt. In this correspondence, however, Lord Ashburton expresses his strong disapproval of the last war. I will take one document of some import- 1257 ance; and I shall be surprised if I do not satisfy the House that a stain has been inflicted on the character of this country, such as it will be very difficult to parallel in the whole history of diplomacy. With respect to the Madawaska settlement, Lord Ashburton says:—The history and circumstances of this settlement are well known to you. It was originally formed from the French establishments in Acadie, and has been uninterruptedly under French or British dominion, and never under any other laws. The inhabitants have professed great apprehensions of being surrendered by Great Britain, and have lately sent an earnest petition to the Queen, deprecating that being done. Further, this settlement forms one united community, all connected together, and living some on one and some on the other side of the river, which forms a sort of high road between them. It seems self evident that no more inconvenient line of boundary could well be drawn than one which divides in two an existing municipality—in convenient as well to the inhabitants them selves as to the authorities under which they are to live. There would be evident hardship I might say, cruelty, in separating this now happy and contented village.Now, I will put it to the House, can any obligation be stronger than that which lies on a Sovereign to keep under his Government—except where he is bound by justice, or compelled by overpowering force, to cede a territory—all those subjects who are attached to his sway? The cession of a terrritory, the inhabitants of which implore you to retain them under your Government, is the very last calamity which conquest brings on a nation. The answer returned to this communication by the United States' Government is in a very different tone. Indeed, the whole tone of the correspondence on the part of the United Stales is firm, resolute, vigilant, and unyielding; but I must do them the justice to say, that except in this single instance, there is no case in which offence can be justly taken.
In this case I cannot acquit the Secretary of the United States of having offered something in the nature of a serious affront—I hope it was not intentional—to the English Government. The Secretary of the United States informs Lord Ashburton, in his reply to the noble Lord's letter, that heForbears from going into the consideration of the mass of other arguments and proofs, for the same reasons which restrain your Lordship from entering into an extended 1258 discussion of the question, as well as because your Lordship will have an opportunity of perusing a paper, addressed to me by the commissioners of Maine, which strongly presents the subject, on other grounds, and in other lights.I think that, under the circumstances, I am entitled to say, that Mr. Webster adopts the opinions expressed by the Maine commissioners. He says distinctly that he will not enter into the arguments urged by Lord Ashburton, because he sends him a paper drawn up by the commissioners of Maine, which presents the question in a strong point of view. Now, see in what manner the Maine commissioners address themselves to Lord Ashburton's argument about the feeling of the people of Madawaska. They pronounce an invective on the tyranny which they allege England has exercised towards that very people. They say,The hard lot and sufferings of these people and of their fathers, give them a claim to our sympathies. The atrocious cruelties practised upon their ancestors are matters of history. The appalling details of them are among their traditions. The fathers and mothers have taught them to their children. When fleeing from their oppressors in 1785, they settled down in the wilderness of Madawaska; they believed and understood them selves to be within the limits and jurisdiction of the United States, a people of whom France had been the friend and ally in the war which had just terminated in their independence, and who was still the friend and ally of France in peace. Their history since that period has lost little of its interest. Too few in number, too weak in resources, too remote to expect or receive aid, they submitted to whatever master assumed authority over them. With a knowledge of their history, and the wrongs they and their ancestors have suffered, it will be difficult for the people of Maine to bring themselves into the belief that these people are opposed to living under the mild and gentle sway of our free institutions. It will be equally difficult for the people of Maine to satisfy themselves that it is only from a lively and disinterested sympathy for these poor Frenchmen that the Government of Great Britain is so solicitous to retain possession of the south bank of the St. John, extending from the due north line more than fifty miles up to Fish River.This is he paper transmitted by Mr. Webster to Lord Ashburton, in answer to his Lordship's earnest appeal in behalf of the people of Madawaska! It avers distinctly that the British Government had alienated the people of Madawaska by its cruel conduct towards them, and insi- 1259 nuates broadly that Lord Ashburton's declared sympathy for them was nothing but hypocrisy. I venture to say, that if any such paper had been addressed by Lord Ashburton to Mr. Webster, a sharp reply would instantly have been returned to it. Any one who looks at the whole of this correspondence, cannot fail to observe a marked contrast between the tone of the representatives of the two Governments. What was Lord Ashburton's re ply to the passage which I have read? Nothing but an expression of profound respect for the gentlemen of Maine. His Lordship says, in his next Letter to Mr. Webster:—If the observations contained in my note of the 13th ultimo have given rise to these consequences, I much regret it; and I would now pass over all these more than useless discussions, and proceed at once to notice the proposals you make, if I were not apprehensive that my so doing might be construed into some want of respect for the parties from whom these observations have proceeded.Then comes an observation respecting the people of Madawaska:—It is sufficiently explained in my plan for a settlement, why I was anxious not to divide, in two parts, by our new line of boundary, the Madawaska settlements; and I am sorry to say, that the information I have since received, both as to local circumstances and the anxiety of the people themselves, tends strongly to confirm my impressions.That is to say, as he had said at first, that it would be a cruel act—that it would be "an evident hardship," to separate these people; that he should consider such a separation, by placing them under separate laws and Governments, "a most harsh proceeding"— that it would be making aliens of a people who wished to remain under the protection of the British Crown; but still—the noble Lord in effect goes on to say—but still, as the commissioners of Maine say, that it is hypocrisy in the British Government to say that these people wish to remain under our protection, you may take them. That is what Lord Ashburton says. And then Lord Ashburton puts the matter on the ground of humanity, and says,—I had hoped that the other equivalents which I had offered, combined with the sense entertained by the government of the United States of the pressing importance of the case, on the ground of humanity, would have been sufficient for the purpose I so anxiously desired; but perceiving from your note, as well 1260 as from personal conversation, that concession on this point is insisted upon, I might be disposed to consider, whether my anxious desire to arrive at a friendly settlement would not justify me in yielding, however reluctantly, if the latter part of your proposals, did not, if finally persevered in, forbid all hope of any settlement whatever.This was the miserable result. After being insulted by the commissioners of Maine, and told that the English Government was guilty of nothing but hypocrisy in pretending to feel any anxiety for the people of Madawaska, Lord Ashburton quietly gives them up! Now, if it was necessary to give these people up, was it necessary for the English Government to degrade itself by going to another government, and asking to be permitted to retain sovereignty over them, on the ground of humanity. Why should the Queen of England ask leave to retain control over her subjects on the ground of humanity. I can conceive only two grounds on which her Majesty's Government could be justified in resorting to the plea of humanity. If the United States had a clear right to the territory, we might with propriety have begged them to forego their claim on the score of humanity. Again, we might have had recourse to the same plea if we had suffered some terrible reverse in war, as we know that after the battle of Jena the Queen of Prussia almost went down on her knees, in order to obtain the single town of Magdeburgh; but, I ask, was there any thing in the relations subsisting between England and the United States to make it imperative onus to say, "We have a right to these people; they are clinging to us for protection, we wish to retain them under our Sovereign's Government; pray, for the sake of humanity, let us do so." If the thing was to be done, if the Government had, after all, made up its mind to sacrifice them, why exhibit itself before all the world in the degrading position of a supplicant to the United States on the score of humanity. Most part of these negotiations were carried on generally at conferences and discussions; very little of it was conducted by means of writing. One of the most important articles in the treaty is the 8th, which appears to have been negotiated without a single line of correspondence having passed between Lord Ashburton and Mr. Webster. Now, if it was necessary that this country should submit to the disgrace which I maintain is involved in the Madawaska transact- 1261 tion, why was that not also decided by oral negotiation? Why was our humiliation paraded before all the world in this correspondence? Far be it from me to recommend anything like a contumelious policy towards other nations—far be it from me to advocate the adoption of a bullying policy; but I do say that the self-respect which exacts from nations, with whom we are treating—courteous conduct, is essential to the independence and security of a nation. There is a distinction between bravado and the adoption of a high tone becoming the position and character of a great nation. I have said that the correspondence on the Table exhibits a marked difference in the tone of the negotiation of Great Britain and the United States. Mr. Webster writes on this subject—Your Lordship's observations, upon the propriety of preserving the unity of the Madawaska settlement are in a great measure just, and altogether founded, I doubt not, in entirely good motives. They savour of humanity and a kind regard to the interests and feelings of individuals. But the difficulties seem insuperable.Well then, can any human being say, that our honour was not concerned in preserving to the British Crown this territory of Madawaska, the settlers upon it being anxiously desirous to remain under our sway. Observe too, the tone in which Mr. Webster receives even the mildest and gentlest remonstrance on the part of Lord Ashburton. Lord Ashburton had ventured to express a doubt in the correspondence relative to the Caroline, whether, in a particular instance, the American government would possess sufficient control over its subjects in their conduct towards other states—a very natural doubt, considering what has happened in late years. Mr. Webster, how ever, did not suffer the observation to pass for a moment without replying to it, and he declared—It is for the Congress of the United States, whose attention has been called to the subject, to say what further provisions ought to be made to expedite proceedings in such cases; and in answer to your Lordship's questions, towards the close of your note, I have to say that the government of the United States holds itself, not only fully disposed, but fully competent to carry into practice every principle which it avows or acknowledges, and to fulfil every duty and obligation which it owes to foreign governments, their citizens, or subjects.1262 I ask any one to compare the letters o Lord Ashburton and of Mr. Webster from the beginning to the end of the correspondence, and to declare whether an entirely different spirit does not pervade every sentence of them. I think, there fore, that I have made out some ground at least on which to support the first point which I proposed to establish, and that there is grave reason to doubt whether the dignity of the country has not been grievously compromised in this negotiation. The negotiation I must ob serve, far from settling all the points in dispute between the two countries, has placed some of them in a worse position than that in which they previously stood. At this late hour 1 will confine my self to only one of these points. I undertake to prove that, with respect to that most important point in dispute between the two nations, the right of visit, the treaty of Washington has placed us on a worse footing than we stood on before. The right of visit has, it is well known, excited a strong feeling in the United States, and the right hon. Baronet opposite has declared that the British Government will not abandon it. Now I wish to under stand from the Gentlemen opposite, what construction they put upon the words of the eighth article of the treaty? It runs thus:—The parties mutually stipulate, that each shall prepare, equip, and maintain in service on the coast of Africa a sufficient and adequate squadron, or naval force of vessels, of suitable numbers and descriptions, to carry in all not less than eighty guns, to enforce, separately and respectively the laws, rights, and obligations of each of the two countries for the suppression of the slave-trade; the said squadrons to be independent of each other, but the two governments stipulating nevertheless to give such orders to the officers commanding their respective forces, as shall enable them most effectually to act in consort and co-operation, upon mutual consultation, as exigencies may arise, for the attainment of the true object of this article; copies of all such articles to be communicated by each government to the other respectively.Does that article mean that we have ceded the right of visit or not? The right hon. Baronet has told us distinctly that it does not; but in what sense is that article received in the United States? The right hon. Baronet, if I understood him aright took some exception to the reference which has been made to 1263 the conduct of the American senate with reference to this question, and said that the president was the only executive organ. I contend that the senate is a portion of the executive power. Gentlemen must be aware that by the constitution of the United Slates, the consent of the senate is as necessary to make a treaty binding on America as the ratification of the Sovereign in this country. Now I hold in my hand the report of a speech delivered by Mr. Rioes, the senator for Virginia, and chairman of the committee of foreign relations to which the, treaty of Washington was referred, and upon the report of which it was ratified. Mr. Rioes, in referring to the eighth article, said, that under that, each power is to act separately and independently of the other, and neither power would be at liberty to visit the vessels of the other. I say that the eighth article is, in fact, so much waste paper; for it has been received in one sense in America and in another in London. Her Majesty has ratified the treaty in the sense that it does not abandon the right of visit, and the American president has ratified it in the sense that it does. Did any one ever hear of such a mode of settling long-disputed questions between two countries, and laying the foundation of long-continued amity? It would be bad enough if the matter were to stop here for the present, and we should hear nothing of the results for four or five years; but the very hand which has sown the seeds of dissension has also provided for their immediate fructification. It is provided that each country shall send a squadron, to enforce separately and respectively the Jaws, rights, and obligations of each, and it is intended these squadrons are to act with a view to obtain the same end. How? Why, by one having instructions to enforce the right of search, and by the other having instructions to resist it. Was there ever such a device for bringing two nations into collision? Here are two squadrons, commanded by high-spirited officers, and manned by gallant crews—the one being instructed to do that which the other is told to consider an outrage on their flag. No device could have been more elaborately and ingeniously contrived to destroy the chance of maintaining pacific relations between the two countries. It is a curious circumstance that this article, so important in itself, and so strangely framed, is one respecting which not a 1264 single line of explanation is to be found in the correspondence—every thing respecting it would seem to have passed in conversation. Which of the two suppositions am I to adopt? Am I to suppose that Lord Ashburton, not intending to abandon the right of visit, yet in conversation with Mr. Webster inadvertently let fall some expressions which induced that gentleman to believe that he did abandon it. [Sir R. Peel: No]. I accept the right hon. Baronet's denial; but then, look at the other horn of the dilemma. How came it into the head of Mr. Webster, within a week of the signature of the treaty, to inform the committee of Foreign Affairs of the Senate that we had given up the right of visit?—and how came it into the head of the American President to make the same declaration? I am unwilling to attribute this apparent misapprehension to intention or misrepresentation on the part of the American authorities. Perhaps it is better to suppose that Lord Ashburton, in his conferences with Mr. Webster, allowed his speech to get the better of him. I have sometimes observed that that able and ingenious man, when on the floor of this House, allowed his speech to get the mastery of him, and so has given utterance to words which he had not well weighed before, nor could accurately remember after. To suppose that the government of the United States should, before the ink of the treaty was yet dry, have committed an act of state craft such as its conduct if insincere would be, is to imagine a proceeding which could not be accurately described in very mild terms. However, the first proof we have of the amicable effects of the treaty of Washington is, that on the first day of the Session, the Prime Minister of England is obliged to rise in the House of Commons and contradict what the American president had stated about the eighth article. This is not a symptom betokening the existence of that state of amity which we have been brought to expect would be the result of the treaty. I cannot help referring to another point, I allude to the bill introduced into the Senate respecting the Oregon territory. That such a bill should have been carried by a majority, is sufficiently indicative of the state of feeling in America towards this country. It should be borne in mind, that the senate is not dependent for its existence on the popular will; it is elected, not by a demo- 1265 cratic body, and endures for six years. It is a body which comprises amongst its members a large proportion of the men of the greatest weight and most distinguished for their ability in the United States. When such a bill as that about the Oregon territory can find supporters in such an assembly, it shows the state of public feeling which has sprung in America from the Washington Treaty. One other matter connected with this view of the question I may refer to. It was, it must be admitted, sufficiently ungracious conduct on the part of the American minister at Paris, General Cass, to interfere to prevent France from joining in the treaty of the five powers on the subject of the right of search. But was it necessary that, in the very first speech which the American President made after the signing of the treaty of Washington, he should take credit for having, in that respect, frustrated the policy of England? This is another proof of the amity which has sprung up from the Treaty of Washington. Look again at the language used in the Senate—not only the language of those who entertained strong feelings against England, but of Mr. Calhoun, who was always supposed to be favourable to this country. What did he say? when speaking on the right of visit. He said, that if England put any other interpretation on the treaty than that in which it was construed in America, she must "do it at her peril." Does this look like a pacific result? The right hon. Baronet tells us that he has not abandoned one particle of his position, and he will not, of course, now disgrace the country by receding. The noble Lord had spent eight or nine months in arranging a treaty which is to secure peace and friendship, and what is the result? Are not the symptoms of pugnacity still greater than they were before? And is not this the natural result of the course which has been pursued? What other effect could be hoped for? How can any nation respect a Government which has ceased to respect it self? I said before, and I now repeat, that, instead of procuring for us the blessings and advantages of peace, the course pursued has every tendency to plunge us speedily into a war with America; and it is because of the strong sense which I entertain of the advantages of peace, and because I feel that the policy indicated in the papers before the House 1266 is not calculated to insure peace, that I now express those sentiments. It will not do for this country at one moment to take certain steps in the cause of humanity, and shortly after to retrace them when resisted by other nations. The moment we abdicate any one object because of the resistance of another power, England loses the high place which she holds amongst the nations, and then every other power will be increasing in its demands for fresh exactions. What do we see daily in the French papers? They have taken the tone from this circumstance, and are constantly referring to the example of America as one to be followed. They say, only let M. Guizot bully the English as the American President has done, and France would soon triumph over the arrogant pretensions of the haughty islanders. Everything in the country conspires to make it an object of general envy with other nations. Its great power, its immense wealth, its extensive empire, its flag floating in every sea, all contribute to that effect. It is easy to talk of the treaty of July, and to attribute the feeling of hostility to that, but it is well known, everybody knows, that even the powers who are parties to that treaty, entertain a feeling of envy towards this country. Under these circumstances, I am satisfied that if you suffer yourselves to be treated with anything like contempt by other nations—if you allow any doubt to arise as to the spirit with which you are prepared to maintain the interests of this country in your dealings with the other powers of the world-—if you allow it once to be thought that the higher the ground taken by others the lower will be your tone, and the more submissive you will become—if you allow these impressions to go abroad, founded upon your public intercourse with any one nation, then I am satisfied, I say, that you will soon have to contend with more than one enemy for your place among the nations of the world. I do not say that these are maxims which can be used by every Government. I do not say that there may not be some petty principality or some insignificant republic to which they would not apply, that there may not be some Duke of Lucca or some republic of Geneva that might not find it safe to adopt them; but I say that that is not the state of our country; that she has been too great ever to find her safety in humble littleness. If she cannot find safety in her 1267 firmness and her dignity, England can never find it in subserviency and shame. These are my charges against this treaty. Allowing, in the first instance, that the boundary line is not the only direct source of censure, I say that the negotiation generally has been conducted in such a manner as to lower the character of this country. And secondly, I say that the negotiation has been so conducted, and the treaty has been so framed, that it has left one of the most serious causes of irritation more inflamed than before. I say, that one article of the treaty has been ratified in one sense at Washington and in another sense in London. I say, that you are both sending your squadrons to meet each other under circumstances in which they can be scarcely friendly. I see no symptoms leading me to believe that the effect of all your humiliation has been to obtain any kind feeling, any esteem, any respect from the United States. On the contrary, as far as I can judge the disposition on the part of public men in the United States, I think they seem to believe that that power has nothing to do but to take a very high and resolute tone in order to obtain whatever it may wish. I think, too, I can see in the feeling of the other powers of the world towards you the effect of what you have done with the United States. I think I can see on their part a belief that they advantageously profit by adopting the example set them by the United States. And I conceive, therefore, that this policy of yours, though professedly pacific—and which, as far as your intentions and those of Lord Ashburton went was, so—is more likely than any other policy ever adopted by any Government of this country to bring on before long some most fearful and devastating war.
§ Sir H. Douglas
; My right hon. Friend, the right hon. Baronet at the head of her Majesty's Government, having referred to me as particularly conversant with this question, I cannot hesitate to rise in conformity with that reference. Indeed, I shall never shrink, however reluctant I am to trespass on the time of the House, from taking a part in any discussion which may come up upon any matter on which I may speak on my own actual experience and personal knowledge. Had I been called upon, some ten or twelve years ago, to state my opinion as to the expediency of compromising this question by a Conventional 1268 line such as is contained in this treaty, I certainly should not have been prepared to advise, support, or defend such an arrangement as this. But, Sir, this question has undergone great and important adverse changes, since I had any thing to do with it, by which it has been brought into a position far less propitious to an amicable and successful assertion of British claims, and the establishment of British rights, than it was at the period of the accession of the noble Lord, the Member for Tiverton, and his Colleagues, to office. Will the House permit me to explain, and which I shall do as concisely as possible, in what these changes consist, and why I should now defend an arrangement which I would have deprecated twelve years ago. I shall travel very rapidly over the ground which the noble Lord has traversed very leisurely and ably, from the period of 1783 down wards; for I shall make but one stop between that period and the time at which I first became practically connected with this question. That stop I shall make at an ill-omened period in the history of this controversy, viz. 1794, when, by a convention of arbitration between the two countries, the eastern source of the St. Croix was decided, and declared, to be the point from which should be drawn the north line, which, together with some other line, the existence of which is, however, nowhere to be found or proved, was to form the N.W. angle of Nova Scotia, described in the treaty, but never laid down, and from the point of which angle the Boundary should be traced along certain high lands, the description of which it is not necessary now to go into. When I was appointed to the Government of New Brunswick in 1823, I raised the question whether the Monument—a monument indeed!—erected at that point, might be attacked, and the proceedings which had placed it there, be overthrown whether, in short, we could get into the terms of the treaty, unshackled by this arrangement: the answer was—No, that is not an open question— to attack the monument, would be to attack the faith of treaties. We were, therefore, obliged to make the best of a case, by no means so good as it would have been, had the north line been drawn from the western, instead of the eastern source of the St. Croix river. The lineal frontier of the United States was, accordingly, fixed in position, and in extent too, at least as far as Mars Hill, by this unfortunate arrangement of 1794; and from this results 1269 the great disadvantage and inconvenience of that frontier being so near to the river St. John, and, consequently, to the line of communication, by the ordinary route, through New Brunswick, to Quebec. If hon. Members will refer to the maps, which I perceive many have in their hand, they will observe this proximity, and see that between the Monument and Mars Hill, there stands the United States town and military post of Holton Town, which, communicating nearly with the upper waters of the Penobscot, possesses, by that communication, advantages as a military communication which ours does not; and which makes of Holton Town what, in military parlance, we call a tête, from which an inroad into the British Province, or incursions to intercept the communication through it, by the ordinary route, are much more dangerous than any that could be made from any other part of the north eastern frontier of the United States. Now, no possible termination, or adjustment in, the late arrangement—nothing that Lord Ashburton could have done—could have remedied this fixed and settled inconvenience and disadvantage; and it is for this reason that I have adverted here, to this material circumstance, before I proceed further into this question. When the government of the United States were preparing for the submission of this case to arbitration, they had the sagacity to see that, in as much as possession is nine points of the law, they would proceed to arbitration with manifest disadvantage in claiming a territory of which we had always held entire and exclusive possession and jurisdiction, and therefore they determined to shake those rights, by various encroachments and intrusions. Agents were sent into the disputed territory, to perambulate and reconnoitre and report, at several periods. Against these intrusions I protested, upon reading their proceedings, as published afterwards, in the United States papers, or reported to me by our own local authorities; and I was little prepared for so serious an attempt to disturb the possession, as that which soon afterwards was made. In October, 1827, an agent, by the name of Baker, was sent from the States of Massachusets and Maine, and with the knowledge, if not the consent, of the government, to dispute the right of Great Britain to the exclusive possession and jurisdiction of the territory claimed by the United States. Baker proceeded into the Madawaska Settlement, and warned the settlers that the 1270 disputed territory was as much American as British territory; that the people did wrong in obeying British laws, serving in the British militia, voting for Members of Parliament; that the possession was con structive, and that the jurisdiction and sovereignty, as well as the possession were concurrent. And this agent so timed his proceedings, as to intercept the postman conveying the British mail from Halifax through Frederickton to Quebec, and he warned him off from ever intruding on that territory again, without the consent of the government of the United States. I had received instructions from Lord Bathurst in November, 1825,Not to relinquish any act of practical sovereignty which had ever been exercised in and over the disputed territory.Those instructions did not contemplate, nor did I, such an aggression as this; but I determined to interpret them further for myself. I considered that Great Britain, as the original possessor, by colonization and conquest, of the whole of British North America, must remain vested with the possession of the whole of that territory, until divested of it by competent acts and powers; that where any doubt existed, as to the demarcation of those portions set off, from the original possessions of Great Britain to the United States, that doubt must be construed in favour of her retaining the actual possession of any part so claimed; that the United States asserted a claim to more territory than had been set off from the possessions of Great Britain by the treaty of 1783, but that until they established their right to this, and the Provincial Government should be directed so to relinquish the territory, thus claimed, it was my duty to maintain the possession and jurisdiction inviolate, and exclusively, without any distinction between that, or any other part of New Brunswick. Persons of my profession are sometimes suspected of being too prone to resort to our short-hand process of force—I think this is much otherwise. Besides, the education we receive as British gentlemen, general-officers must have been trained, through a long period of service to know, that the military is subordinate to the civil power, and that it should never be called upon but by, and to support the other; and when these two powers are vested in the same person, there is, I think, less danger of military force being resorted to improperly, or too soon. Thus, Sir, instead of sending for the Adjutant-general, I sent for the At- 1271 torney-general. I directed him to issue his precept to the high-sheriff of the county, to send him with a posse of constables to apprehend these parties, to bring them to Frederickton, to lodge criminal information against them for a seditious conspiracy within British territory, and to let the case go to the Supreme Court of the Province for adjudication. This, of course, occasioned great excitement. Immediately afterwards, I received a letter from the Governor of the State of Maine, protesting against the arrest of John Baker in territory which he (the Governor) maintained to belong to the United States, and demanding Baker's release, and the with drawing of all pretensions to exclusive jurisdiction, and that I should grant him full indemnity for his detention. That he, the Governor, would not do more than advert, delicately and respectfully, to the evils that must be produced, unless I complied with these demands, but that the arrest of their citizens on what they believed to be part of their own State, demanded its utmost energies for resistance. A proclamation at the same time appeared, of a very hostile character, and a large militia force was immediately called out. I had great scruples as to the propriety of being drawn into any correspondence with the Governor of the State of Maine; but 1 thought, upon reflection, that 1 ought for once to do this, merely to answer, courteously and respectfully, his letter. I hope the House will pardon me for dwelling upon this very material circumstance; it has little importance from any personal consideration relating either to the Governor of Maine or of New Brunswick; but the release of Mr. Baker, on this demand, or the stopping proceedings against him, would have amounted to an abandonment of the right I had asserted, by his apprehension. I was therefore determined to let the proceedings against him, go to their issue. 1 hold in my hand a copy of the answer I wrote to the Governor of Maine. I acknowledged the receipt of his Excellency's letter; I stated I would not presume to question the propriety of his Excellency's opening a correspondence with the governor of a foreign province, but that I knew I had no right to correspond with any, excepting those under whose orders I was placed, or with whom I had been directed to correspond. That if anything arising out of my administrative acts, was considered by his Excellency as giving him any cause of complaint, I would suggest that it would 1272 be his duly to make reference to his own general government, who would apply to His Majesty's Minister at Washington, to whom I would afford whatever information he might call for, to enable him to make whatever explanation he might deem fit; but that I could enter into no further correspondence with the Governor of the State of Maine. I assured his Excellency of my sincere and cordial desire to do all in my power to meet, with respect and consideration, the amicable disposition which his Excellency professed, and so to keep the questions at issue between the two countries, in a state the most propitious for amicable adjustment, and that would be by neither of us interfering with the question of right; and he, not to interfere with a possession which I was resolved to maintain inviolate. A few days after this, a gentleman, furnished with credentials from the Governor of the State of Maine, arrived in Frederickton, and requested an audience of me, to present a despatch, empowering him to demand the release of John Baker, and, moreover,That the persons who arrested him, should be delivered up to be tried by the laws of Maine, and dealt with as justice might require.I declined to recognize Mr. Davies in any official capacity; but considering this gentleman as a stranger of distinction, travelling in British territory, under the high introduction of the Governor of Maine, I directed that this very agreeable and excel lent person (as I have since known him to be) should be received with the greatest kindness and courtesy. The States of Massachusetts and Maine appealed to the general government for support; a detachment of the national troops was immediately ordered up to the frontier. The American Minister at the Court of Lon don, Mr. Lawrence, was directed to demand, that orders should be sent to me to release Baker; to indemnify him for detention, and to withdraw all pretensions to exclusive jurisdiction; and intimating that nothing but this, and my recall, could prevent war. The British Minister, Mr. Vaughan, was firm in his conduct, and confiding in my proceedings—and here I must refer to the able, firm, and dignified conduct of this very able and distinguished person—and I congratulate myself, upon having been so supported. His Majesty's Government supported me firmly and ably. I refer with great satisfaction to the correspondence which took place in August, 1828, between the late Lord Dudley, and particularly Lord Aberdeen, 1273 and Mr. Lawrence, on this subject. These, and the communications I received from the Colonial Office on this occasion, are, I may say, among the most valuable I possess. In the mean time the proceedings against Baker were carried on. After granting, on his application, more time to prepare, he was tried on 12th May, 1828, and sentenced to a short imprisonment, and a moderate fine. I took care the sentence should not be vindictive. Baker, having completed his confinement, refused to pay his fine, and thus prolonged his own imprisonment, for several months. This occasioned fresh excitement on the frontier, and threats that the United States' troops would march into the province I did not heed these—nor move a soldier or a constable. My preparations were made, and I should have had no difficulty how to act, had the frontier been crossed. Baker seeing me steady and determined, paid his fine to the King, and was released. Towards the end of the year, 1828, preparations were making in Maine to make a military road from Mars Hill, into the disputed territory. I protested against this, in December, 1828, and again in March, 1829, and I announced my determination, that if this should be attempted, I would not again have recourse to law proceedings, but, acting on the verdict pronounced against Baker in the supreme court, I would interfere, with military force, to prevent any intrusion into the disputed territory. This effectually deterred the Americans from any similar attempt in my time. Having reported all this to his Majesty's Government, I was ordered home, to be consulted on the statements then preparing for submission to the King of Holland. I must here say, that I considered the carrying out of these proceedings against Baker, of such vital importance, that I was determined I would not, under any circumstances, stop those proceedings. I stated this in the strongest terms. I will now confess, that even if the Government had been so weak as to direct me to do this, instead of supporting me in the vigorous and firm manner they did, I was determined to disobey this order, and resign my post. Now, Sir, upon the spot, the very identical spot, where I caused Baker to be apprehended, and thus firmly asserted exclusive possession, jurisdiction, and sovereignty, there now stands an American fort, established during the noble Lord's time, after a series of encroachments on the one hand, and concessions on the other, 1274 which I shall quickly run through. Why, Sir, this was concession, compromise, surrender, and even capitulation—it was con ceding all I had contended for; it was the surrender of everything I had asserted. The territory to the south of the St. John's was thus wholly usurped and taken military possession of. Fort Farifield was permitted to be built on the north line, nearly opposite to the mouth of the British river "Tobique," and the blockhouse, or Fort Jarvis, on the spot where Baker had been apprehended on the right bank of the St. John's, near the Fish river. Thus military possession of the country was taken by the United States; and, not with standing all the sympathy which has been expressed by the hon. Member for Edinburgh for the inhabitants of the Madawaska settlement, to the south of the St. John's, they were thus, provisionally, at least, turned over to the United States like serfs, by thus permitting the United States to acquire a possession, which, it was clear, would never be relinquished: and, moreover, the noble Lord offered to confirm this, without reserve, by the deliberate acceptance of the King of Holland's award, and afterwards by a distinct proposition that the line of the river St. John should be the boundary, from where the north line from the monument cuts that river. I shall say nothing here about the award of the King of Holland, but proceed to run through a series of encroachments and concessions as shewn first in the correspondence laid before Parliament in the folio 1831 to 1837. I resigned the government early in 1831, on account of some measures, adopted by the Government, which I did not like. I hope the House will not be alarmed at the appearance of this folio; but, at this late hour of the night, I have too much consideration for the House to do more than to advert, very cursorily, to its contents. It contains four causes of aggression and encroachment which I shall particularly mention. The first is that of the election held in the Madawaska settlement, under warrant of one of the justices of peace for the county of Penobscot, calling together the inhabitants of that district, to elect a moderator, town clerk, select men, and constables. These parties were apprehended by order of the then lieutenant-governor of the province, for "usurping the sovereignty of a large portion of his Majesty's dominions on both sides of the river St. John." The American Secretary of State, Mr. Livingstone, complained of this. He did not indeed demand their re- 1275 lease, but he requested it, and the parties were, at the instance of Mr. Livingstone, liberated, by instructions from his Majesty's Minister at Washington. The next case is that of opening a road, beyond the acknowledged boundaries of the United States, into the disputed territory, as far as the Restook river, and ultimately to be prolonged to the Madawaska settlement. The lieutenant-governor, of New Brunswick here, too, protested against this invasion of the territory. The British Minister likewise protested against these encroachments by the United States. The general government declined to interfere; they pleaded that "the direct control which the President can exercise over the state of Maine separately, is not clearly defined, and is almost resisted." The British Minister continued to protest against the construction of the road, and this was reported to the noble Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; but Maine, nevertheless, was permitted to proceed, and the road was earned on. In August, 1837, a certain "Ebenezer Greely" was sent into the Madawaska settlement, to take the census of the population there, and in other parts of the disputed territory, as belonging to the county of Penobscot, in the United States. He was apprehended by the provincial government. The American government required his release; a correspondence ensued between the governors of New Brunswick, and of the state of Maine. Greely is informed, that,—If he would desist, and would withdraw from the district, he would be allowed to do so—othevwise he would become amenable to the laws of the province.Greely rejected the proposal, and was remanded to gaol. The Governor of the State of Maine complained of this,As a deep invasion of the soil and Sovereignty of the State, and required the immediate enlargement of Mr. Greely.This was reported to Lord Palmerston. Mr. Stephenson had previously demanded of Lord Palmerston,The liberation of Greely, and compensation for his alleged wrongs.No answer to that demand appears in the correspondence; but Sir John Harvey says, July 31st, 1837, that,He had enlarged Ebenezer Greely, in consequence of a despatch he had that day received from His Majesty's Minister at Washington.1276 Greely was accordingly released on the 5th of August, 1837. On the 26th of the same month, of that year, Mr. Greely re-appeared in the Madawaska Settlement, resuming his former functions, viz. taking the census therein. He was immediately apprehended. Now, here it will no doubt be imagined, that, caught in so prompt and impudent a repetition of this aggression, vigorous measures would be adopted to punish this second very serious invasion of British rights. What does the House think was now done? Why, Greely was released again. The other case to which 1 would refer had I time, is that of the aggressions from New Hampshire into the disputed territory. These are contained in pages from 83 to 142 of this folio; but at this late hour of the night, I must lay it aside. I now come to the Folio of Correspondence from 1840 to 1841; and here I do particularly regret, that having been obliged to address the House at so late an hour, I must, out of consideration to the House, run rapidly over this part of the case likewise, referring to, rather than explaining, what I so much wish I might detail. This folio shows a complete and connected series of encroachments on the one hand, and concessions on the other: and, first, with respect to concurrent civil jurisdiction. A proposition to that effect had been suggested to me, on the specious pretext of preventing collisions and disorders between the authorities of Great Britain and Maine; but I had imagined that the best way to preclude these, was to keep those powers asunder, and to repress all such disorders by British authority, exclusively. But the noble Lord opposite acceded to this request, as appears by his despatch of June, 1840, instructing Mr. Fox,That the best way of maintaining friendly relations between the two countries would be to place these matters in the hands of the two Governments.Why, this was conceding concurrent civil jurisdiction. The consequence was, a proposition made by the United States, that each government should have charge of maintaining order in the disputed territory, by means of a civil force, to consist of an equal number of British subjects, and American citizens. This, Lord Palmerston assented to in August, 1840; and it was accordingly carried into execution. The government of the United States having made out this point, then objected to an exclusive military possession of the dis- 1277 puted territory by us, and complained of it accordingly,As a direct and palpable infringement of the subsisting arrangement;" (And)—Demanded the withdrawing of those troops whose presence was a violation of the existing agreement.The State Government of Maine called accordingly on the General Government,To take measures for the removal of the British troops. April, 1841.What was the reply; an order for the troops to remain?—No; they were withdrawn. The next proposition was to substitute detachments of national troops of Great Britain and the United States, in lieu of the civil posses, which, so far from having produced order, had occasioned disorder. Lord Palmerston, in July, 1841,Approved of the expediency of withdrawing the civil posses from the disputed territory, and of letting that territory be provisionally occupied by regular troops of Great Britain and the United States.This was surrendering another important point, viz. exclusive military possession, for which I have contended. After this admission of concurrent military possession, it was of course impossible to dispute the right of the United States to make a military communication; and accordingly, a military road was carried all the way across the disputed territory up to the St. Johns, and the establishment of military posts followed as a natural consequence; for the forces employed must needs have some abiding place. The Forts Fairfield and Jarvis were accordingly erected, by which the United States obtained, what they had long sought for—concurrent possession of the whole territory, up to that demarcation, under the American flag. Lord Sydenham does not appear to have approved of this. He says,It ought not to have been admitted; but, that under existing circumstances, it would not be advisable to disturb them.This is a true picture of the effects of all concessions, in such cases as this. The most remarkable change is, that the presence of British troops in any part of the disputed territory, even to the north of the St. John, was then denominated—(See Resolution of the Legislatures of Massachusetts and Maine, page 128)—British aggression, British invasion, British violation of the territory of Maine ! Now, as to the effect of these concessions. Sir William Col- 1278 brooke, Lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick, states, that the people of Maine were seeking on every occasion to avail themselves of any opening to advance their pretensions; and that if the Warden appointed by the Provincial Government (I appointed him) should have occasion to require the assistance of troops in support of his authority, it would occasion fresh excitement and difficulty. Lord Sydenham states, May, 1841,His most decided opinion, that the Americans ought never to have been permitted to form such establishments as bad been admitted; and which presented the curious anomaly of an armed force, in the pay, and under the authority of a foreign slate, stationed within a district over which her Majesty claims, and has ever exercised jurisdiction.And Sir William Colbrooke states (page 149), thatThe general effect was most serious, showing the inefficacy of the concessions made to the Americans, and the undue advantage they have taken of the conciliatory disposition manifested towards them.And now, as to the effects, the serious dangers and difficulties, occasioned by having permitted the United States to assume the position they had taken in the disputed territory, Sir William Colebrooke reports to Lord Sydenham, June, 1841,—The great difficulties resulting from the position which the Americans had been permitted to assume; his serious apprehension that collisions could not be avoided; and that, in fact, the assumption of jurisdiction within the disputed territory, and the establishment of a military post there, rendered it impracticable for the British Warden and the other magistrates to exercise any authority in that quarter.And, finally, Lord Sydenham declares to Mr. Fox, June, 1841—That, under these circumstances, the claims of Great Britain will be virtually decided by the occupation of the country by the United States, without the intervention of either government, upon the question of right.I have thus shown, that there was, at the period to which I have brought this sad history, a practical surrender of all that I had contended for in the case of Baker; and of all that I had done to maintain possession, and exercise exclusive jurisdiction, throughout my administration. I went to the Ionian Islands in April, 1835. I shall ever retain the interest I feel in the affairs of British North America; and I keep up 1279 an active correspondence with it. I saw and feared, that this question was, by procrastination and encroachments, getting into the danger which I have just explained. I have not reserved the information and knowledge I possess of that question, for any party purpose. I communicated much of what I am now saying on American affairs, to her Majesty's Government; to Lord Glenelg on one occasion; to the Marquess of Normanby, April, 1839, upon another; to Lord John Russell in December, 1841, on another—sincerely desirous of making that, or any other know ledge or information I may possess, avail able to the interests of my country, under any Administration. The Letter to Lord Normanby was particularly directed to show the importance of maintaining, firmly, the actual and exclusive possession, and likewise to urge the Government not to listen to any demand for the free navigation of the River St. John, up and down, as a right, which if conceded, the United States would apply to the River St. Lawrence. I have thus represented the real state of the case at the time Lord Ashburton entered on his functions. What was the effect of these concessions, as proved by the tone and terms used by Mr. Webster in reply to Lord Ashburton's proposition? If the United States had continued to be kept within their own acknowledged boundary, and never permitted to intrude into, or encroach upon that to which they claimed a right, but of which we exclusively held possession, there must have been a coming up, an advance on the part of the United States, to any conventional line which might be made to compromise this question—and accordingly, as in this case, an actual acquisition of territory by the United States, and a relinquishment by us. But instead of this, what do we find? Why, that the United States, having been permitted to assume possession of the territory, Mr. Webster, far from speaking of acquisition of territory, talks of the difficulty of relinquishing to Great Britain part of her own possession—yielding a valuable territory in another point, videlicit the Madawaska Settlement to the south of the St. John; in another passage, the relinquishment of another large portion of Maine territory north of the St. John; and, as an act of great generosity, consents at length to yield to Great Britain,All she needs, to secure her an unobstructed communication and connection of her colonies, with each other.1280 The noble Lord must have adverted to this, when he spoke of the arrogant tone adopted by Mr. Webster on the part of the United States, in his answer to Lord Ashburton's proposition, as though they, the United States, were the actual owners of the soil. But what else could have been expected, after such a series of encroachments on the one hand, and concessions on the other, as those to which I have referred? Did the noble Lord think that, after having been permitted to push their military posts up to the St. John, they would ever retire, unless driven back by force; or, in other words, without a war? Did he think that the United States would, under any circumstances, withdraw from the territory they had been permitted to usurp? that they would abandon and dismantle the fortifications they had been permitted to construct; strike the national flag they had been permitted to hoist—or, that they would be satisfied with any conventional boundary, short of the line which the noble Lord had permitted them to take? The Government of the United States was determined to make their stand there; and to meet Lord Ashburton in a manner and with atone, which the concessions made by the noble Lord enabled and encouraged them to assume; and, if there be anything in this treaty, in the opinion of any hon. Members, inconsistent with the interests of the country, prejudicial to the safety of our North American possessions, or derogatory to the honour of the Crown, I do say, that it is not to the charge of the present Government, that these evils should be laid, but to the charge of the noble Lord, who had permitted the civil jurisdiction, and military occupation of the territory, to be subverted and usurped; and which left nothing for his successors to do, but to compromise the question by a conventional line, or to adopt the other alternative, and go to war. Now with respect to the treaty it self, and here again I must express my regret that I must be very brief, I do regret that the line of the St. John, as a frontier, should not have been established, throughout, up to its proper source. I admit, that having assigned to the United States any territory to the north of the St. John is an eyesore; and certainly, if it had been possible for Lord Ashburton to refuse this, without rupturing the negotiations, he is much to blame. I had advised, strongly, the line of the St. John. It appears that Lord Ashburton proposed and pressed this, as far as he could; and 1281 there is every reason to believe that, if he had stood out for this, the agents of the State of Maine, to whom this was referred, would not have consented, and that the negotiations would have been ruptured accordingly. That portion of territory, cannot for a moment be considered worth standing in the way of the final settlement of this question. It is a poor territory, with very little valuable timber; and, as to its value in a military point of view, as bringing the United States Boundary nearer to the river St. Lawrence, and affording means of aggression, the frontier in that part, is twice as far from the river St. Lawrence, as that awarded by the King of Holland, which the noble Lord accepted. It is traced in a bottom, with commanding hills in front, between it and the St. Lawrence. The now decided frontier, is five times as far from Quebec, as Holton Town, the American Port, on the north line, is from the St. John's river; and nine or ten times as far from the river St. Lawrence (with commanding positions intervening) as Fort Fairfield is from the military communication between St. John and Quebec, along the St. John river; and, let the House bear in mind, that this fort the noble Lord permitted the Americans to erect.
Now, with respect to defence, it will not, of course, be expected, for obvious reasons, that I should go at any length, or in detail, into this part of the subject; but, I have no hesitation in saying, that nothing essential to defence, has been sacrificed by this treaty. As I have 'already said, the position most menacing the province of New Brunswick, and most inconvenient and dangerous to the military communication along the river St. John, is the United States military post of Holton Town; because it is the position of that line, as unhappily laid down from the eastern source of the St. Croix, which gives that lineal frontier its dangerous proximity to the river St. John throughout; and it was not in Lord Ashburton's power to remedy this. The great and main point of defence for the river St., John, and for the Province of New Brunswick, is St. Andrew's, and the territory on the right bank of the St. John. A respectable and permanent military post should be established at or near St. Andrew's; and means taken to ensure, under all circumstances, the possession of Passamaquoddy Bay, a capacious and magnificent bay, open at all times and seasons, one of the very finest 1282 bays, harbours, and roadsteads, on the coast of North America. So long as St. Andrew's, and that bay, shall be firmly held, no movement can be made towards the city of St. John's; nor any, with safety to an enemy, into the Province of New Brunswick; for St. Andrew's being thus a post into which, as commanding Passamaquoddy Bay, a large force might at any time he thrown; by the command which we have of the sea, St. Andrew's may not only become a point of pure defence, but of active offence, against the enemy's communications, as the map will show, which would effectually deter, if properly supported, any incursion, into New Brunswick. Then with respect to Rouse's Point, on the upper end of Lake Champlain, it was awarded to the United States by the King of Holland. The noble Lord accepted that award, and pressed its acceptance upon the government of the United States, for about three years. Rouse's Point is coveted by the United States, because, in our hands, it would be an offensive point against them, by commanding the entrance into the lake; but it is not a defensive point essential to us. If even we retained Rouse's Point, it would not be expedient to erect a fortress or post there: either would be highly inexpedient. It is an error, in general, to establish on any line, frontier, or advanced point, any work which, if not well supported, must fall immediately; and which, if supported, would render it necessary to do so, to such an extent, as necessarily to bring on, great operations upon a point most inconvenient on the one side, and most convenient on the other. It has been well said, that an army thus forced to fight, is more than half beaten. Against Rouse's Point the United States might bring, with the greatest convenience, combined forces, which the command of the lake would enable them to do, and which, to withstand, would require Rouse's Point to be supported with all our force, most disadvantageously and dangerously. The United States having gained that point, have attained their object; but they show no disposition to fortify it.
Now, as to military communications. I have already shown that the inconvenience and danger arising from the proximity of the frontier, to the existing military communication through New Brunswick, could not have been remedied by anything within Lord Ashburton's competency to effect. The truth is, that the existing military communication, through New Brunswick, with Quebec, is, at best, a very bad, incon- 1283 venient, and objectionable line; and this would be so, if even Lord Ashburton had gained for us, all the territory to the north of Mars Hill. A military communication, near and parallel to a frontier is, and always must be, inconvenient and dangerous. A better and safer military communication between Halifax, through New Brunswick, to the St. Lawrence, is, by Truro in Nova Scotia to Cumberland at the head of the Bay of Fundy; thence to Schediac, Reuchibuctoo, Miramichi, on the gulf shore of that province; thence to Bathurst, and Dalhousie, on the bay of Chaleurs, and from thence by certain rivers and lakes, in the line of which a good military road should be made, taking the line of the river Metis, to the St. Lawrence. On this line, called the Kempt Road, as suggested by the gallant and distinguished officer whose name it bears, we worked together; and this is the communication that should be established.
With respect to navigation of the river St. John, I will not attempt to go into detail on this part of the question, at this late hour; but I am prepared to defend it.
For all these reasons and considerations, I will avow, that I approve of this treaty; that I recognize the eminent services of the distinguished individual who has negotiated and brought it to a satisfactory conclusion; and I approve, highly and decidedly, of the ability and conduct of the noble Lord, the present Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and of her Majesty's Government, who, by their instructions, have accomplished this great settlement. But I must condemn the conduct of the noble Lord opposite, in having weakly conceded so much, as to have rendered such a compromise necessary. I admit that many of the despatches written by the noble Lord, contain, strong and good writing, exhibiting many flashes of spirit, and most commendable expressions of firmness—but these were but writing; and against all this, dealing with facts, I must again point to the several concessions made by the noble Lord, which admitted concurrent civil jurisdiction, concurrent military possession, and then the erection of American forts ! There they stand! Nor let the noble Lord imagine, that I, by the vote I gave the other night, refusing inquiry into another part of the noble Lord's policy,—that I approve of that policy. I do not agree with my right hon. Friend, the right hon. Baronet at the head of her 1284 Majesty's Government, that inquiry was inexpedient, on account of trenching on the Royal prerogative, because that objection, carried out, would preclude all inquiry on the part of this House. But I do agree, and I do feel, that inquiry would do no good—and might do much harm. It would dry no tears; it would assuage no grief, public or private; far from obliterating, it would revive the recollections of a terrible calamity; far from appeasing, it would embitter the sense of a recent disaster; and it certainly would not tend to impress the world with any high notion of British wisdom, or British policy, on the part of the government which directed that measure. The errors that were then committed, have been repaired; that ill-fated movement, beyond natural and reasonable limits, has been retraced, with credit to our arms; and with as little discredit to the country, and not more of anguish, than are consistent with, and due to, the terrible traces we have left behind,—the remains of our gallant countrymen, and their associates in arms, mouldering, unburied and unblest, in the fastnesses of a remote and savage region. The peace which had been disturbed by the noble Lord, has been restored; the confidence which had been impaired, has been regained; the Empire which had been shaken to its basis, has been re-established in all strength, moral, military, and political-It needed not, then, to institute unavailing inquiry, into what cannot be undone; and no more need be said on a subject, on which enough has been said and felt, to condemn it to all posterity. If, in the attack which the noble Lord has made on the foreign policy of her Majesty's present Government, and on the conduct of Lord Ashburton, the noble Lord opposite should have suggested, excited, or awakened any suspicion that there is anything in this arrangement, inconsistent with the public interest, detrimental to British North America, or derogatory to the honour of the Crown, then will that noble Lord have, by the proceedings of this night, called down upon his own head, in an especial manner, the serious responsibility of having, by procrastination and concession, rendered that compromise, or a far worse alternative, necessary; and if, amid considerations so momentous, and interests so vast, this House can stop, for a moment, to listen to those which speak in the person who has now the honour of addressing the House, I hope that the House will 1285 thing I did my duty in maintaining, firmly, as the servant of the then Government, the rights of jurisdiction, possession and sovereignty, which that now, under existing circumstances, I do my duty, as conscientiously, and not less fearlessly, in defending an arrangement which, upon the whole, I think, accomplishes every reasonable expectation, and attainable object; and which entitles the Government of her Majesty, by which this settlement has been accomplished, and the eminent and distinguished person who has been the happy instrument of effecting it, to the approbation of this House, and to the gratitude of the country
§ Debate adjourned
§ House Adjourned at half-past twelve