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“ Her Britannic Majesty's Ship Satellite, Esquimault,
Vancouver's Island, December 22, 1857.(') “SIR,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your two letters, dated Fort Townshend, December 12th and December 15th.
“ 2. In reply to that of the former date, wherein you express your regret that I did not furnish you with a full copy of Her Majesty's commission, as well as of all other instructions by which I was governed in the performance of my duty as Joint Commissioner for carrying into effect that part of the first article of the treaty of 15th June, 1846, which relates to the water boundary between the United States and the British possessions, I must be permitted to express my regret—if not my surprise—that the very full and direct reply I made on the 8th instant to the inquiries contained in your letter of the 4th instant did not convey to you the meaning which I candidly, though most respectfully, conceive it ought to have done. Considering that at our first meeting our powers were mutually examined and found to be in due form and sufficient; considering that Her Majesty's commission was again placed in your hands, and again examined by you, when Captain Richards was introduced to you as Her Majesty's second commissioner; and considering the stage at which we had arrived in the duties assigned to us, I must say that when I received your letter of the 4th instant, it did appear to me to be somewhat out of order that you should, at this period, make a written application to me as to the nature of my powers, and should attempt to cast a doubt upon their scope being equal to your own, so far as the water boundary may be concerned. I, however, refrained from making any comment upon the act, but I readily and directly gave you the full information you asked for. In affording you that information I asserted, in the most straightforward and unmistakable manner, that I was governed by no instructions which would interfere with the full and entire exercise of my own judgment in the determination of the water boundary line, as established by the treaty. I
(1) American State Papers, p. 97.
repeated what is to be found constantly affirmed in all my previous correspondence, that I could never conscientiously agree to your views as to the Canal de Arro being the boundary channel, nor conscientiously admit that it was channel which answered to the channel determined by the treaty. I know not in what more positive and satisfactory manner I could answer the question you put to me, and could show you that I have not been governed by any prohibitory instructions in my proceedings, and that I have been acting entirely on my own conscientious convictions and on iny own free judgment. In your letter of the 4th instant you asked me a simple question as to whether you were correct in your inference that I had been governed by instructions which prevented me from adopting the Canal de Arro as the boundary channel.
In reply, I not only informed you that the inference was erroneous, but, being most anxious to satisfy you of the freedom of my action, I went beyond what you requested, for I furnished you with an extract from Her Majesty's commission, which was sufficient to show that, so long as I was acting as commissioner under that commission, I could not be governed by any instructions which would restrict the exercise of my judgment in the course of my proceedings. Such being the case, you must pardon me for feeling somewhat more than surprise, when I received your letter of the 12th instant, for it appears to me that notwithstanding all this evidence, and notwithstanding these assurances, you would still endeavour to insinuate that I have not been acting, to say the least, independently, in my official intercourse with you. Under such circumstances I respectfully conceive that, having a due regard to my own position, I should be adopting no more than a natural course, and I should be committing no discourteous act, were I to decline to enter further into the subject; but as I am really desirous to disabuse your mind of any doubts you may have conceived as to my powers being equal to your own, and as I am unwilling to take any step, however much it might be warranted, which would in the least appear as if I wished to avoid furnishing
documents or information that you can in reason diesire, I am, for the once, content to waive the foregoing considerations, and I therefore enclose to you herewith a full copy of Her Majesty's commission, constituting me her first commissioner for ascertaining the line of boundary as before described; and also a copy of the instructions which immediately relate to my duties as commissioner, and which are similar in their character to those furnished me as being the instructions issued to you by your Government. I have other instructions, it is true, all more or less connected with the special duties upon which I am employed, both as Her Majesty's commissioner and as captain of one of Her Majesty's ships; but as these instructions neither affect Her Majesty's commission, nor have any bearing upon the course I have pursued with regard to the boundary channel, you can hardly with reason require or expect that I should place them in your hands as United States Commissioner.
“ 3. After the positive assurances I have already given you, and have again conveyed to you in this letter, that I have been perfectly free and unfettered in my course of action, I think you cannot fail to be satisfied that I have not been governed by prohibitory instructions as to the adoption of the Canal de Arro as the boundary channel ; but that, by Her Majesty's commission, I am fully empowered to adopt the channel which shall carry the boundary line, as described in the first article of the treaty, without even the restriction which you mention as governing you—viz., that the said channel shall also correspond to the intention of the treatymakers.' It would therefore seem that I am less confined in the adoption of a boundary channel than you are, for I am at liberty to determine a channel from the treaty itself, without encumbering it with a consideration of any additional matter as to the intentions of either party. My commission refers to the treaty alone ; and so, I think, does yours. I rest my claim to the boundary channel entirely upon the evidence furnished by the first article of the treaty; you, at the outset, grounded your claim upon evidence of which no mention is to
be found in the treaty, and which, therefore, cannot be considered as forming part of the treaty; and you have since asserted that you are willing to let the question rest entirely' upon such evidence ; therefore, if your claim is to rest
entirely' upon evidence, apart from the treaty, it evidently cannot in any way rest upon the treaty. Under such circumstances there can be but little doubt as to which is the sounder claim of the two, if the treaty itself, and the commissions under which we profess to act, be of any value.
“ 4. In reply to your letter of the 15th instant I regret you
should have taken the trouble to furnish me with a copy of your commission as United States Commissioner, for I had · not attempted to cast any doubt upon your capability of joining with me in the demarcation of the water boundary line under the aforesaid treaty. I was satisfied, at the commencement of our proceedings, that, under your commission, you were sufficiently empowered to act, and therefore I had no desire, at the present time, to receive any renewal of the proof thereof.
Taking this opportunity of assuring you of my consideration and respect, I beg you will allow me to subscribe myself your most obedient and humble servant,
“ JAMES C. PREVOST, “ Captain H.B.M. Ship Satellite and H.M. First Commissioner
for determining the Line of Boundary, as before described. “ Archibald Campbell, Esq.,
“ United States Commissioner for the North-west Boundary.”
Mr. Campbell replied as follows :(
Washington City, D.C., April 14, 1858. “SIR,-Your letter of the 22nd December (enclosing a copy of your commission and original instructions), addressed to me at Port Townshend, Washington Territory, reached me at this place on the 1st ultimo.
“In reply thereto, I have the honour respectfully to state
(1) American State Papers, p. 100.
that, during our discussions in relation to the determination of the channel' separating the continent from Vancouver's Island, I thought I perceived that your mind was subject to difficulties not inherent in the question ; and this impression was strengthened when you informed me that you had instructions for your guidance, in the event of our disagreement, which, according to my recollection, were not embodied in those you exhibited to me at our first meeting.
“I knew your commission gave you ample powers to bind your Government; but there might be conditions in your instructions which would prevent you, under certain circuinstances, from exercising those powers to their full extent. And it occurred to me that, unless I could be informed of all the difficulties in the way of an agreement between us,
I should labour under great disadvantage in laying the matter before my Government for its further action.
“Under these impressions I made the inquiries contained in my letter of the 4th of December, and subsequently requested copies of your instructions. It would, perhaps, as you suggest, have been more regular to have made the request at an earlier period. But I do not know that either party could, of right, demand copies of the instructions given to the other by his Government. Nevertheless, as the British Ambassador at Washington had requested and promptly received, from the State Department, and you had been furnished by him with, a copy of the instructions given by my Government to me, I think that when I felt it necessary, eren at that late period, to apply to you for a copy of your instructions, the request should not have been considered unreasonable.
“ It is unnecessary to observe that the copy you furnish is not a compliance with my request, as it is not the document containing the directions cited by you, and which have been referred to as those likely to have embarrassed our proceedings.
“In conclusion, permit me to say I think you have misapprehended the object of my request for copies of your instructions. I did not by that request intend to convey the