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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 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 admilted 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, 1846, 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. Crampton 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 Majesty's Government, to any island lying to the eastward of the Canal de Haro, as marked on Captain Wilkes's “ Map of the Oregon Territory.” This, I have no doubt, is the channel which Lord Aberdeen had in view, when in a conversation with Mr. McLane, about the middle of May last, on the subject of the resumption of the negotiation for an amicable settlement of the Oregon question, his lordship explained the character of the proposition he intended to submit through Mr. Pakenham.
“It would appear from the tenor of Mr. Buchanan's reference to the tracing of Captain Wilkes's chart of the Canal de Haro, that he was aware that it was the main channel in that particular part of the space between the continent and Vancouver's Island south of the forty-ninth parallel, where several channels are represented on the maps, as well as the particular channel understood between Mr. McLane and Lord Aberdeen, as carrying out the object of both Governments in deflecting from the forty-ninth parallel, viz. : to give the whole of Vancouver's Island to Great Britain. In conversing with Mr. Crampton on the subject, a year subsequently, without reference to maps or documents, and without giving the subject particular consideration, Mr. Buchanan may simply have remembered the fact that the Canal de Haro was the main channel, without recalling its name. Practically it can make no difference whether the main channel be adopted as
the channel' intended by the treaty upon the 'generally admitted principle’ recognised by Mr. Crampton, and assented to by Her Majesty's Government in 1848, or whether the Canal de Haro be adopted on the proof of cotemporaneous evidence that it was proposed by the British Government, and in good faith accepted by the United States as the boundary channel. In either case the Canal de Haro would be the boundary channel. In advocating it with Captain Prevost, I did not confine myself singly to either of these sufficient grounds, but maintained both with others equally forcible and tenable.
“Under the mere letter of the treaty, without any knowedge of, or reference to, the motives which induced the adoption of the water boundary, the channel which separates
the continent from Vancouver's Island' may fairly be construed as follows:
“1. As the channel ;' that is, the main channel, if there be more than one. And this is the view taken by nautical men generally, including officers of our navy, whom I have consulted in reference to the language of the treaty.
“ 2. The channel nearest to Vancouver's Island, without regard to its size, so that it is navigable; the proviso to the first article requiring that the navigation of said channel shall be free and open to both parties. If it had been intended to mean any other channel than that nearest Vancouver's Island, that island need not to have been mentioned at all, or if referred to, the channel which separates the continent from the archipelago east of Vancouver's Island,' or the channel nearest the continent,' would have been the proper description of the channel now claimed by the British Commissioner under the peculiarly precise and clear' language of the treaty.
“3. Upon the international ground that islands are natural appendages to the continent, and that, unless otherwise agreed, all the islands between the continent and Vancouver's Island east of the nearest navigable channel to Vancouver's Island pertain to the continent.
“ The Canal de Haro would be the channel under either of the above legitimate readings of the treaty.
“But leaving the mere letter of the treaty, and referring to the history of the negotiation to ascertain the cause which prevented the United States and the British Government from agreeing upon the prolongation of the forty-ninth parallel to the ocean, it will be found that the southern end of Vancouver's Island was alone the stumbling-block. The British Government refused to concede it to the United States, four-fifths of the island being north of the forty-ninth parallel; and the southern end, with its harbours, being the most valuable portion. The United States, considering the disadvantages of a divided jurisdiction of the island, and the probabilities of difficulties arising therefrom, reluctantly yielded it. This was the sole object in deviating from the forty-ninth parallel, and reduces the water boundary to a very simple question. It was