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intentions of the negotiators of the treaty by consulting all the evidence that could be found for his guidance, determined to carry the treaty into effect by running the line through the channel intended by them, wherever that channel was to be found.
“ The instructions to the British commissioner, however, were in substance the same as those proposed by Mr. Crampton for the two Governments to the joint commission, to run the line through the Rosario Strait, allowing him the discretionary power to adopt an intermediate channel, provided that the United States commissioner could not be induced to accept the channel claimed by the British Government. Under no circumstances, however, does he appear to have had the power to accept any channel that would not give his Government the Island of San Juan. This is clearly ascertained from his instructions, and the British commissioner leaves no doubt on the subject when he writes in his letter offering a compromise channel, “ beyond what I now offer I can no further go.'
“ From the correspondence which took place between Mr. Cass, Secretary of State, and Lord John Russell, the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, after the discussion between the joint commissioners had closed, it appears that the British Government renewed the proposition for compromise made by their commissioner, but it was declined. Mr. Cass, as will be seen by the accompanying copy of a note of the 25th of June, 1860, to Lord Lyons, then called upon the British Government to make a proposition for the adjustment of the difference between the two Governments. This suggestion was renewed by Mr. Trescot, Acting Secretary of State, on the 18th of August, 1860, in a note to Mr. Irvine, Chargé d'Affaires ad interim of Great Britain, and that Government proposed that the question should be left to the arbitration of one of the three following European powers, namely, Belgium, Denmark, or the Swiss Republic. This proposition was made in the note from Lord Lyons of the 10th of December, 1860, to General Cass, and no reply or counter proposition has been made to it.
“ During the late civil war it was not deemed advisable to pursue the negotiation upon the subject, and the questions between the United States and Great Britain arising out of that war have hitherto been so engrossing, that it has not been convenient to bestow attention upon others. It is hoped, however, that a suitable juncture for that purpose will soon occur, and that the point at issue may be amicably adjusted to the mutual satisfaction of the parties.
“The accompanying papers, maps, and cross-section will, it is believed, present to Congress the merits of the question, and the grounds upon which the executive department of this Government has claimed that the Island of San Juan and the other islands of the Haro Archipelago are within our boundaries as defined by the treaty.
“ With reference to the question of joint occupation of the Island of San Juan by military forces of the United States and Great Britain, it will be seen from the accompanying papers which relate to that subject that the arrangement was made during the administration of James Buchanan, with a view to avert collisions between the settlers or the military forces of the respective countries, such collisions being supposed to be imminent in 1859. The arrangement, however, is temporary in its character, and was made upon condition that no prejudice to the claim of either Government should result therefrom. • Respectfully submitted.
“ WILLIAM H. SEWARD. “The President."
MEANWHILE other highly interesting questions had arisen and grown into importance between the two countries, as, the Alabama claims; the Naturalisation Question ; the Fishery Question ; and the Reciprocity Treaty (Canada). Early in the year 1868, Mr. Adams, United States Minister at the Court of St. James's, received a despatch(1) from Mr. Seward, in which reference was made to the three first-inentioned
questions and to the Boundary Question, as being such as "might at any time, from accidental causes, occupy public attention, and give rise to exciting controversy.” Mr. Seward, at the same time suggested that “the true method of dealing with all these matters was by treating them jointly, and endeavouring, by means of a Conference, to settle them all.” The “ give and take” mode of dealing with and settling a variety of questions and disputes which have arisen between private persons is one which in theory will readily recommend itself to the mind; but a practical experience of such a mode of settlement will bring out many difficulties, at first hidden and unseen. The difficulties in
of such a mode of treatment become almost insuperable when the questions at issue have arisen
( ) Correspondence respecting the negotiations with the United States Government, presented to Parliament (1869), p. 1, No. 1.
between two mighty empires, whose policy respectively is actuated by myriads of conflicting interests, the advantage of one part of the empire being (apparently at least) incompatible with that of some other parts. Thus, under the principle above referred to, one of two Governments engaged in settling mutual claims, might be expected to set off injuries, received by its subjects from the other Government, against injuries inflicted by itself upon the subjects of the other; and considering a State as an abstraction, such a settlement would appear highly equitable. Either State would be benefited, and therefore, it might be urged, all the subjects of each would receive benefit. But the claimants themselves, the parties really injured, are their particular interests to be forgotten and overlooked, or in what manner are their claims to be arranged?
Lord Stanley, then Minister for Foreign Affairs, appears to have appreciated the difficulties in the way of such a mode of treating the question, for when Mr. Adams communicated to him the contents of the above despatch, he replied that he could not well understand what was to be the nature of the Conference suggested by Mr. Seward ; and asked,
How it was to be constituted ? with what powers? where to be held? and what advantage did Mr. Seward suppose there would be in discussing simultaneously, instead of separately, a variety of matters('), each of which was sufficiently intricate and perplexing when taken
(1) Correspondence respecting the negotiations with the United States Government, presented to Parliament (1869), p. 1, No. 1.
by itself?" The Naturalisation Question was considered by the United States Government to be that which most immediately pressed for settlement, and when, after some correspondence, it appeared that an arrangement would be arrived at, Mr. Reverdy Johnson, Mr. Adams's successor, received the following instructions from his Government:()
“ In case Her Majesty's Government shall adopt the required measures to adjust the naturalisation question, you will next be expected to give your attention to the adjustinent of the north-west boundary controversy, which involves the right of national dominion and property over the Island of San Juan on the frontier line between the United States and British Columbia.
“ It is understood that on the breaking out of the recent civil war in the United States, this boundary question was on the eve of being arranged by referring it to an impartial and friendly arbiter. The question is increasing in urgency with the growing settlements and population of the North-West, and with the multiplication of causes of litigation within the disputed territory. The United States still remain in a disposition favourable to the process of adjustment originally contemplated.
Our conclusion is, that in the event that you become convinced that an arrangement of the naturalisation question which would be satisfactory to the United States, in view of your previous instructions, can be made, then and in that case, you may open concurrent negotiations upon the two questions first herein named-to wit, San Juan and the Claims questions; but that those two negotiations shall not be completed, or your proceedings therein be deemed obligatory, until after the naturalisation question shall have been satisfactorily settled by treaty or by law of Parliament.”
On the 25th of September, 1868,(*) a conversation (") Correspondence respecting the negotiations with the United States Government, presented to Parliament (1869), p. 8, No. 12.
(2) Idem, pp. 17, 19, No. 20.