Page images

able to infer an expectation on the part of those who are offering it, not only that modifications may be suggested, but that they may be reasonably required.'

“ From the foregoing extracts you must perceive that the United States Government was not in a position to make concessions, and from the speech of Mr. Benton, which I submitted to your perusal, you will have seen that a portion of the members of the Senate insisted upon modifications, which would have been asked of the British Government, if Mr. Pakenham had been authorised to grant them, and were only prevented from doing so by the delay incident to sending to England.

“ I cannot therefore admit that any such alteration as you suggest could have possibly taken place. Everything connected with the settlement of the Oregon question was at that time deemed important. And no officer of the United States Government would have ventured to make such a concession without its being fully understood by all who had any connection with making or ratifying the treaty. Even the reason you suggest for the concession is one which would apply with greater force against the boundary line running through Rosario Straits than through the Canal de Haro; for Rosario Straits being narrower than the Canal de Haro, the objection to the former applies with greater force than it does to the latter. After much reflection and consideration, I am quite unable to conceive when and where this designed alteration could have taken place, and if it be not an entire supposition, I would respectfully ask for further information on the subject, in order that I may regulate my judgment accordingly.

“Your opinion that the line of boundary was altered, you say, is strengthened by your having been officially informed, by high and competent authority, that the channel commonly known in England as the Vancouver Strait—that now called the Rosario Strait-was the channel contemplated by the British Government as the channel of the treaty; and the mention of a particular channel by Mr. McLane, and the absence of the name of that channel from the treaty, together with the very peculiar wording of the treaty, would seem almost conclusively to prove the fact.

“ I have no means of determining the source from which the high and competent authority you refer to received his information ; but I would respectfully suggest that, after the cotemporaneous documentary evidence I have produced, the mere assertion of any person at this time, no matter what his position may be, unless he was immediately concerned in the negotiation of the treaty, can be of little weight. It is quite possible that the British Government may have contemplated Rosario Straits as the channel ; but I would respectfully submit that they proposed the Canal de Haro, and that the United States Government accepted that proposition.

66 In your endeavour to show that the Canal de Haro could not have been the only channel regarded in the United States as the channel of the treaty, both at the time of its ratification and afterwards, you state that you have in your possession a "Map of Oregon and Upper California, published at Washington City in 1848, drawn by Charles Preuss, “ under the order of the Senate of the United States," in which the boundary line between the British possessions and those of the United States, distinctly lithographed and coloured, is carried down through the channel now called Rosario Straits, &c. You further say that, if the Canal de Haro was the only channel contemplated by the Senate of the United States as the channel of the treaty, it seems remarkable that within a short period of its conclusion a map should be “ drawn under the order of the Senate,” and published and given forth to the world with a boundary line upon it, not drawn through the Canal de Haro,' but through Rosario Straits.

“I have also in my possession a copy of the same map, and, as its title declares, it is a 'Map of Oregon and Upper California, from the surveys of John Charles Frémont and other authorities, and is accompanied by a geographical memoir, which was also published by the Senate at the same time. By an examination of that memoir, it will be seen

that the accurate delineation of the boundary formed no part of the object for which the map was directed. The boundary line north, as well as south, on that map was drawn merely to show the extent of the country described in the memoir.

“By a comparison of the Mexican or southern boundary on the same map with the true line as defined by the commissioners and surveyors appointed under the treaty, an error quite as remarkable will be found on that line as on the northwestern boundary, and one which, upon examination, must completely dispel any impressions that may have been made upon your mind that it has any authenticity, or is of any authority whatever as a map showing the boundary between the British possessions and the United States. The best evidence of this is to be found in the fact that, after its publication, the Mexican boundary line was surveyed and marked by the United States Government without reference to Mr. Preuss's map, and the true line was found to be totally different from that laid down by Mr. Preuss.

“By examining carefully the lithographed line on this map, drawn from the forty-ninth parallel to the Straits of Fuca, it will be seen that, instead of running through the middle of Rosario Straits, as you suppose, it runs directly against Sinclair's Island on the north, and Cypress Island on the south, leaving a space of over five miles without any boundary line; but if this should be joined, it would bisect the two islands. It also runs tangent to Smith's Island on the eastern side-an island upon which it is the intention of the United States Government to build a light-house, and for which an appropriation has been made.

“I point out the inaccuracies of this map, so far as relates to the boundary line, without any intention of depreciating it in any respect, but simply in order to show you that it is not considered authority for the boundary lines drawn upon it, and that it was not intended to be so considered. I could exonerate the Senate from censure for publishing the map and giving it forth to the world with their apparent sanction, but I presume it will hardly be necessary for me to do so on this occasion.

“I have never seen the diagram, alluded to by you, of a portion of Oregon territory, dated . Surveyor-General's Office, Oregon City, October 21, 1852, and signed by John B. Preston, Surveyor-General,' and having the boundary line drawn through Rosario Straits ; but no authority can be attached to it, as it formed no part of the duties of the Surveyor-General's Office to determine the boundary line between the United States and British possessions. I am, however, informed, by credible authority, that Mr. Preston was led into the error by seeing the map of Mr. Preuss. Had he seen the Map of Vancouver's Island and the Adjacent Coasts, compiled from the surveys of Vancouver, Kellet, Simson, Galiano, and Valdes, &c. &c. &c. by J. Arrowsmith, 10, Soho Square, London, published April 11, 1849'—more recent than that of Preuss-he, no doubt, would have drawn the line through the Canal de Haro; for as that purports to be a map especially of Vancouver's Island and the coasts adjacent,' no doubt could have been entertained that much care was taken to make it accurately conform to the terms of the treaty. On that map, on a large scale, all the islands east of the Canal de Haro are coloured carefully with the same tint as that given to the territory to which they geographically and conventionally pertain—viz., that of the United States.

6 The maps of Preuss and Preston are of no authority as far as the boundary line is concerned. They therefore afford no evidence of the true channel of the treaty. And since its ratification, I am not aware of any authority having been given either by the United States or the British Government for surveying and mapping it definitively until the appointment of the present Commission.

6. In further illustration’ of your proposition that the Rosario Strait is the channel of the treaty,' you say that it would seem to be clear that, in whatever channel the boundary line commences its southerly course, it should continue through the middle of the said channel until it reaches the Straits of Fuca,' and add that it has been agreed that the initial point of the boundary line is found in the channel called the Gulf of Georgia, and the continuance of that channel is, as was deemed by Vancouver, through the Rosario Strait.'

“I fear there is some misunderstanding in regard to an initial point. I certainly am not aware of having agreed to any, though I do not deem it a matter of any moment whether the starting point of the line be at the forty-ninth parallel or the Pacific Ocean. But even granting that the line starts at the forty-ninth parallel, and is traced through the middle of the Gulf of Georgia, I do not admit that it must necessarily be continued through Rosario Straits, even if Vancouver's chart be referred to. You say Vancouver considered Rosario Strait a continuation of the Gulf of Georgia, and that it was included in that name. By an examination of the chart it will be perceived that the name as lettered passes directly through and over the cluster of islands between the Canal de Haro and the straits now called Rosario Straits, and that it was intended by Vancouver to apply the name of Gulf of Georgia to all the waters between Vancouver's Island and the continent as far south as Fuca Straits (if the lettering on his chart is to be considered as any guide), and applies equally to every other channel in the vicinity. But whatever name may have been given to the waters broken up by the islands, they are all continuations of the waters proceeding from the Straits of Fuca or Gulf of Georgia, and all perfectly on an equality in that respect. The Canal de Haro having the largest volume of water passing through it, it is the main channel among them, and therefore more particularly entitled to be considered as the continuation or connection of the two channels with which all are directly or indirectly connected. And here I beg to say, in regard to the relative merits of the two channels, I must again refer you to the extract from Captain Alden's report on that subject in my letter of the 2nd instant, in which he pronounces the Canal de Haro to be the widest, deepest, and best channel, and in almost every respect the better of the two.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »