Page images
PDF
EPUB

ment on the subject, because nothing was ever said or hinted there which required it; but always, whenever conversation turned upon the subject, whether with Lord Palmerston or with the Under-Secretary of the Colonial Office, I always spoke of the Strait of Haro as undeniably the channel of the treaty, and no member of the British Government ever took issue with me. In running the line through the centre of the Straits of Haro, there may be one or two small islands about which a question might be raised, but as to the important group that the Hudson's Bay Company covet, the demand, if made, should be met at the outset as one too preposterous to be entertained as a question. “ Yours sincerely,

“GEORGE BANCROFT. “ Archibald Campbell, Esq., Commissioner, &c.".

“ Correspondence referred to by Mr. Bancroft will be found accompanying Mr. Campbell's letter, January 20, 1859.”

On the 1st of December, 1858, Mr. Campbell wrote to Mr. Cass, United States Secretary of State, and communicated to him the inferences which he (Mr. Campbell) had drawn from the tenacity with which Captain Prevost held to the opinions which he had formed on first approaching the consideration of the boundary question. ()

Mr. Cass thereupon wrote, on the 17th January, 1859, to Mr. Dallas, United States Minister at the Court of St. James, requesting him to obtain a copy of the instructions which had been given to Captain Prevost by Her Majesty's Government. (*)

Lord Malmesbury was then at the Foreign Office, and on being applied to he immediately forwarded to Mr. Dallas copies respectively of the commission and

(1) American State Papers, p. 92.
(3) Idem, p. 102; Mr. Cass to Mr. Dallas.

instructions, and further instructions which had been furnished to Captain Prevost, and which have been already above set out. (1)

On the 20th January, 1859, Mr. Campbell wrote as follows to Mr. Cass :

“Camp Simiahmoo, January 20, 1859. “SIR, I have the honour to request that the accompanying copy of a correspondence of Mr. Boyd, Chargé d'Affaires ad interim, and Mr. Bancroft, Minister to London, with the Department of State, be filed with the papers I have already transmitted to the department in relation to the water boundary.

“In connection with the various documents I have heretofore laid before you on the same subject, they expose the cautious and steady policy with which the British Government have been advancing, step by step, in their pretensions to the group of islands east of the Canal de Haro, in violation of the letter and spirit of the treaty of 1846, from its ratification to the present time.

“Mr. Bancroft's connection with Mr. Polk's administration, during the negotiation and ratification of the treaty, gave him the best means of knowing with certainty the views of the contracting powers, and particularly those of his own Government, in regard to the boundary line agreed upon between the United States and British possessions; and from his position as head of the Navy Department, he took particular interest in the water boundary, as is shown by his causing to be prepared, in advance of its publication, a tracing of Captain Wilkes's chart of the space between the continent and Vancouver's Island, with soundings, showing the Canal de Haro to be the nearest channel to Vancouver's Island, as well as the main channel. Ilis position at London as United States Minister, almost immediately after the ratification of the treaty, gave him good opportunity of ascertaining the views of the British Government in regard to the boundary channel at that early day. Until October, 1848, he appears to have

(1) American State Papers, p. 103; Lord Malmesbury to Mr. Dallas, (?) Idem, p. 54.

been under the impression that the Hudson's Bay Company alone coveted the possession of the valuable group of islands east of the Canal de Haro, and that the British Ministry did not favour their pretensions. His intercourse and correspondence with Lord Palmerston on the subject naturally led him to that conclusion. He openly declared, both verbally and by letter, the Canal de Haro to be the treaty 6 channel,' without any objection or denial on the part of Lord Palmerston, who, on the contrary, although studiously avoiding the mention of the Canal de Haro by name, virtually admits it when he says the soundings will be of great service to the commissioners in determining where the boundary line ought to run.

“By instructions from Lord Palmerston, Mr. Crampton, in his letter to Mr. Buchanan of January 13, 1848, proposed to the United States to appoint a joint commission for the purpose of marking out the water boundary; the commissioners to be sent out with joint instructions to carry the line down the channel through which Vancouver sailed (now called Rosario Straits), on the pretence that it was the only channel that hitherto had been surveyed and used, and that it was therefore natural to suppose that the negotiators of the Oregon treaty in employing the word channel' had that particular channel in view. To this communication no answer from Mr. Buchanan is found on the records of the department. But Mr. Crampton's letter to Mr. Marcy dated February 9, 1856, purports to give the reply of Mr. Buchanan to this proposition, without indicating, however, whether it was written or verbal. Mr. Buchanan is represented as entirely concurring in the expediency of losing no time in determining that portion of the boundary line; [he] nevertheless felt some objection to adopting the channel marked by Vancouver as the channel' designated by the treaty, in the absence of more accurate geographical information; and he suggested that the joint commissioners, when appointed, should be in the first place instructed to survey the region in question for the purpose of ascertaining whether the channel marked by Vancouver, or some other channel, as yet unexplored, between the numerous islands of the Gulf of Georgia, should be adopted as the channel designated by the treaty, or, in other words, should be found to be the main channel, through the middle of which, according to the generally admitted principle, the boundary line should be run.'

"" To this suggestion,'Mr. Crampton adds, 'Her Majesty's Government, in the hope that immediate measures would be taken by the Government of the United States to name commissioners to proceed to the spot with those already designated by the British Government, made no objection. And this statement seems to be confirmed by the note of Lord Palmerston to Mr. Bancroft acknowledging the receipt of Captain Wilkes's charts, in which he says: The information as to soundings contained in these charts will, no doubt, be of great service to the commissioners who are to be appointed under the treaty of the 15th of June, 1816, by assisting them in determining where the line of boundary described in the first article of that treaty ought to be run.' This note was written after Lord Palmerston had learned from Mr. Crampton that Mr. Buchanan would not consent to adopt Vancouver's Channel, but had suggested that further surveys be made and the main channel adopted.

“ During my discussion with Captain Prevost I had no special knowledge of Mr. Buchanan's views in regard to the water boundary any further than was to be gathered from his correspondence with Mr. McLane, published with the executive proceedings of the Senate after the injunction of secrecy was removed. From that I took the ground that Mr. Buchanan intended the Canal de Haro as the channel' through which the boundary line was to run, and that Mr. Pakenham must have had the same meaning when they concluded and signed the treaty. It was not until after I had reached Washington last winter that I obtained a copy of the Senate document containing Mr. Crampton's letter, from which the foregoing extracts are made. I transmitted a copy of it to the department with my report of the 10th February, and called attention to Mr. Crampton's letter.

“Lord Napier subsequently showed me a despatch from Mr. Crainpton to Lord Palmerston, informing him that, in

accordance with instructions, he had read to Mr. Buchanan, or communicated to him, the substance of the despatch he had received from his lordship, and minutely relating the conversation which ensued. It is substantially the same as that recorded in the letter to Mr. Marcy, though in regard to the main channel it is rather more emphatic. Mr. Buchanan is here represented as saying he thought the main channel, no matter where it should be found, was the one intended by the treaty. And, I think, it is also added that he said he had not given the subject much reflection, but was in favour of leaving the determination of the main channel to commissioners. He also requested Mr. Crampton to embody in a letter to him the views of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Mr. Crampton informs Lord Palmerston that he has embodied his instructions in a communication to Mr. Buchanan, and hopes his lordship will not disapprove of what he has done.

“ After I had submitted my report of the proceedings of the Joint Commission to the department, I was furnished with a copy of Mr. Buchanan's letter to Mr. Bancroft, dated December 28, 1846, in reply to one from Mr. Bancroft stating that it had been intimated to him that a question might arise in regard to the islands east of the Canal de Haro, and requesting authority to meet any such claim at the threshold, by the assertion of the Canal de Haro as the channel intended by the treaty. Mr. Buchanan here distinctly claims the Canal de Haro as the treaty channel, and quotes Mr. McLane's letter of the 18th of May to show that such also was the intention of Lord Aberdeen in making the proposition to the United States for a settlement of the Oregon question. He, at the same time, in compliance with Mr. Bancroft's request, transmits the traced copy of Wilkes's chart of the Canal de Haro, which Mr. Bancroft left in the Navy Department. In doing so, he says: “This will enable you to act understandingly upon any question which may hereafter arise between the two Governments in respect to the sovereignty of the islands situate between the continent and Vancouver's Island. It is not probable, however, that any claim of this character will be seriously preferred on the part of Her Britannic

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »