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have nominated, constituted, and appointed, and by these presents do nominate, constitute, and appoint him our second commissioner for the purpose of this our commission, and we do hereby give unto him full power and authority to be present with and to assist our first commissioner in the due execution thereof, and also in the case of the death, absence, or incapacity of our said first commissioner, to supply his place and to act singly as our commissioner for the due execution of this our commission.
“In witness whereof we have signed these presents with our royal hand, given at our Court, at Osborne House, the 18th day of December, in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and fifty-six, and in the twentieth year of our reign. “ By Her Majesty's command.
The original instructions issued to Captain Prevost were contained in two letters addressed to him by Lord Clarendon, dated 20th December, 1856. The first letter was as follows:(1)
“Foreign Office, December 20th, 1856. “ SIR,—I enclose you herewith a commission, under Her Majesty's sign manual, appointing you to be Her Majesty's first commissioner for ascertaining and marking out so much of the boundary, under the first article of the treaty between Great Britain and the United States, of which a copy is enclosed, as is traced from the point where the forty-ninth parallel north latitude strikes the eastern shore of the Gulf of Georgia, and also appointing Captain Richards to be Her Majesty's second commissioner, and authorising him to be present with, to aid and assist you in the execution of your duties as first commissioner; and, in case of your being incapacitated by any cause from the performance of your duties, to supply your place as first commissioner.
(1) American State Papers, p. 100.
“ Under the authority of this appointment, Captain Richards may, if you consider it desirable, be present at, and take part in, the discussions between yourself and the commissioner or commissioners appointed by the United States, but the responsibility for the conduct of the commission, and the control of its proceedings, as far as the British portion of it is concerned, rests exclusively with yourself. Captain Richards is placed under your orders, and you will assign to him a portion of the duties devolving upon the commission as you may consider expedient.
“I have appointed Mr. George Young to be secretary to the commission, and he will also be under your orders. In a subsequent despatch I furnish you with detailed instructions for your guidance; and I have only, therefore, to state to you, in my present despatch, that the boundary line which may be agreed upon must be accurately laid down on a map drawn in duplicate, and each copy of such map must be signed by the commissioners of both parties, and annexed to the protocol, also signed in duplicate, in which the agreement come to shall be recorded. The Board of Admiralty have been requested to supply you with such scientific instruments as you may require for the use of the commission, and with any maps or charts which may be likely to be useful to you. You will report to me from time to time, and in duplicate, your proceedings in execution of the instructions which I have addressed to you.
“ CLARENDON. “ Captain Prevost, R.N., &c., &c."
Additional instructions were at the same time issued to Captain Prevost, which, so far as they related to the character of his duties, and to the extent of his powers, were as follows :()
“ The Queen, having been pleased to appoint you to be Her Majesty's First Commissioner for marking out so much
(1) American State Papers, p. 104.
of the boundary between Her Majesty's possessions in North America, and the territories of the United States, as is comprised between the continent of America and Vancouver's Island, I have to furnish you with the following instructions for your guidance in the execution of the duties intrusted to you by Her Majesty. The boundary which, in conjunction with one or more commissioners appointed by the Government of the United States, it will be your duty accurately to define, is described in the treaty between Great Britain and the United States, of June 15th, 1846, in the following general terms:
6. From the point on the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude, where the boundary laid down in existing treaties and conventions between Great Britain and the United States terminates, the line of boundary between the territories of Her Britannic Majesty and those of the United States shall be continued westward along the said forty-ninth parallel · of north latitude to the middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouver's Island, and thence southerly, through the middle of the said channel and of Fucas Strait to the Pacific Ocean: Provided, however, that the navigation of the whole of the said channel and straits south of the fortyninth parallel of north latitude remain free and open to both parties.
" It is to be regretted that no map or plan was annexed to the treaty on which the line of boundary thus indicated was laid down, as in the intermediate space between the continent and Vancouver's Island, there are several smaller islands, through and among which different channels run, in various directions, along one or more of which a passage to the southward, from the Gulf of Georgia to the Strait of Juan di Fuca, may be found.
“At the time, however, when the treaty was concluded, in 1846, only one navigable channel was known to exist, viz., that known by the name of Rosario Strait (sometimes called Vancouver's Channel), which runs due south from the lower extremity of the Gulf of Georgia to the eastern extremity
of the Straits of Fuca. A line drawn through the centre of the Gulf of Georgia, and along the centre of the channel, would, therefore, exactly answer the description of the channel contained in the treaty. On this ground, Her Majesty's Government, shortly after the conclusion of the treaty of 1846, proposed to the Government of the United States, that the channel known as Rosario Strait should be adopted, by mutual agreement, as the channel of the treaty ; but the Government of the United States showed no disposition to accede to this proposition; and, on the contrary, in the year 1848, through their Minister at this Court, Mr. Bancroft, they spoke of another channel more immediately adjacent to Vancouver's Island, namely, the Channel of Arro, as that through which the boundary line passed. Since that time the question of defining the boundary has remained in abeyance, because the legislature of the United States has refrained from appropriating the sums necessary to meet the expenses incidental to the operation. This obstacle has now been removed, but Her Majesty's Government have not thought it advisable, after what has passed on the subject, to renew the proposal, that, as a preliminary to the meeting of their respective Commissioners, the two Governments should come to an understanding between themselves, as to what was the channel of the treaty. That channel is, therefore, now to be ascertained. It is to be sought for between Vancouver's Island and the mainland, in an archipelago of islands, hitherto unsurveyed by any British authority; though it would seem, from a chart published in the United States, in the year 1854, called ' A Reconnaissance of Canal de Arro and Strait of Rosario,' that a survey has been made of it, on the part of the United States Government.
" It will be the duty of Her Majesty's commissioner to ascertain, with the assistance of the officers placed under his orders, and in communication and conjunction with the commissioners of the United States, what is the channel through the middle of which, and of Fuca Straits, according to the terms of the treaty, the line is to run from the forty-ninth degree of north latitude to the Pacific Ocean. The first operation will, of course, be to determine with accuracy the point at which the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude strikes the eastern shore of the Gulf of Georgia, and to mark that point by a substantial monument. That point ascertained, the commissioners will carry on the line of boundary, as prescribed in the treaty, along the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude to the middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouver's Island.
" The point next to be ascertained is the middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouver's Island, from which the boundary line is to be drawn in a southerly direction, through the middle of the said channel.
" That point will probably be found somewhere about 123° 15' west longitude. At whatever place this point may be fixed, the line is to be drawn from thence through the middle of the channel separating the continent from Vancouver's Island in a southerly direction.
“In this part of the space between them there is only one channel-namely, the Gulf of Georgia, and it would seem, therefore, to be clear, that the line must be drawn along the centre of that gulf to its southern extremity, where it ceases to be the only channel between the continent and Vancouver's Island.
“At the other extreme point of the boundary between the territories of Great Britain and the United States-namely, the Straits of Juan de Fuca—there is only one channel, and along the centre of that channel the boundary line is to be drawn.
“Any question, indeed, as to which channel is to be adopted as the true line of boundary indicated by the treaty, can only arise when there is more than one channel which might be supposed to answer the description of the treaty.
“ So long as there is only one channel separating the continent and Vancouver's Island, no doubt can be entertained, and, therefore, the centre of the Gulf of Georgia, so far as the latitude where it ceases to be the only channel, and the