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the most earnest desire to effect that settlement, and in firmly believing that it was the province of the commissioners to adjust any disagreement, without reference, by mutual concession and forbearance, I frankly offered to meet you half-way if you would reciprocate in the same spirit. This conciliatory offer on my part you positively refused to entertain, and I therefore think I am justly absolved from the delay which has in consequence arisen.
“5. I would, with the utmost respect, wish to remind you that on the 16th August last a joint commission meeting was held, at which I expressed my readiness to concert certain measures which it was desirable should then be completed; but proceedings therein were again delayed, not from any desire on my part, but through your declining to act unless I deferred in toto to the views you entertained in connection therewith.
“6. In conclusion, I beg to acquaint you that I have not received any instructions from my Government upon the subject of the reference made by me on account of the contrary views entertained by us, nor am I aware when it is probable that I may receive instructions.
“Permit me to assure you of my consideration and esteem, and believe me to remain your most obedient and humble servant,
« JAMES C. PREVOST,
“ Her Majesty's Commissioner, &c., &c. “ Archibald Campbell, Esq., “ Commissioner on the part of the United States, &c., &c."
Mr. Campbell replied in the following terms: (1)
“ Camp Simiahmoo, June 7, 1859. “ SIR,—I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 27th ultimo, in reply to mine of the 18th. The object of my letter, as stated therein, was to request you
(1) American State Papers, p. 110.
to inform me whether I am to expect any further communication from you in regard to the determination of the water boundary; and if so, at what period of time I may probably look for such communication.'
“In reply thereto, you say, 'I beg to acquaint you that I have not received any instructions from my Government upon the subject of the reference made by me on account of the contrary views entertained by us, nor am I aware when it is probable that I may receive instructions.
“ As your reply does not contain the information I asked for, I have the honour again to call your attention to my in. quiries, and very respectfully to request an explicit answer thereto.
“I have the honour to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
" ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL,
“ United States Commissioner. “ Captain James C. Prevost, R.N., “ British Commissioner, &c., &c., &c.”
To which Captain Prevost rejoined: (1)
“ Vancouver's Island, June 23, 1859. “SIR,—I have had the honour to receive your letter of the 7th instant, referring to a letter which you addressed to me on the 18th May last, and to my answer thereto, dated on the 27th May, of which you quote one paragraph, and then state that as such reply does not contain the information you asked for, you again beg to call my attention to your inquiries, and request an explicit answer.
“ 2. In return thereto, I beg very respectfully to refer you to my aforesaid letter of the 27th May, which, with every deference, I submit, when taken as a whole, conveys to you a very explicit answer to your communication of the 18th ultimo.
(1) American State Papers, p. 110.
“ With every assurance of consideration, I have the honour to be, sir, your most obedient servant,
“JAMES C. PREVOST,
“Her Majesty's Commissioner, &c., &c. “ Archibald Campbell, Esq., “ Commissioner on the part of the United States, &c., &c."
The United States Commissioner again wrote on the 9th of July, stating that the letter of the 27th of May contained only a very circumlocutory and evasive answer, and the correspondence closed with a formal acknowledgment from Captain Prevost. O)
After receiving the copies of the commission and instructions forwarded by Lord Malmesbury to Mr. Dallas, the United States Commissioner wrote to Mr. Cass as follows:
“ United States North-west Boundary Commission,
“ Camp Simiahmoo, August 4, 1859. “SIR, I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt (on the 25th ultimo) of your letter of the 8th of June. All of the accompanying documents were interesting to me, but the extract from Captain Prevost's secret instructions for his guidance was essential to a proper knowledge of the relations which now subsist between us as joint commissioners. I find from these instructions that I was fully justified in the apprehensions I communicated to him (subsequent to our discussion on the boundary question in November, 1857), that he was virtually, if not positively, prohibited from adopting the Canal de Haro as the boundary channel intended by the treaty. A perusal of these instructions throws a flood of light upon the tortuous and one-sided course which guided his action, with a view to bring about a disagreement and reference of the matter back to our respective Governments, unless he could accomplish the
(1) American State Papers, p. 111.
(2) Idem, p. 106.
object his Government had in view. Having been furnished at an early day, through his Government, with a copy of my instructions, he had the advantage of knowing that I was in no way hampered in regard to the channel through which the boundary line was to be run, while he knew that he dare not go further than the channel east of the island of San Juan. I cannot well conceive of a more dishonest mode of attempting to evade the obligations of a treaty, or a greater outrage upon the confiding disposition of the Government of the United States, than is exhibited in these instructions for the guidance of the British commissioner. Nor can I understand how an officer of the British navy could conscientiously undertake to carry a treaty into effect under such instructions.
“I have never regarded the duty of commissioner to carry the treaty into effect as of a diplomatic character. I have, therefore, from the outstart, been open and unreserved in my communication with my colleagues both of the land and water boundary. But I have learned by experience that their views of duty are widely different from mine. I came out here to do a fair and honest business—to carry out faithfully, on the part of my Government, a contract entered into with Great Britain. Although the language of the treaty is as clear as day, and scarcely admits of more than one meaning, I did not plant myself upon its mere letter, but, finding that the lapse of time, the changes of administration in our Government, and selfish interests on the part of the British Government, instigated by the Hudson's Bay Company, had enveloped its meaning in an air of obscurity, I made diligent search for evidence which would throw light upon the intention of the negotiators, framers, and ratifiers of the treaty, fully determined, whatever might be the result of my investigations, to give due weight to it, without partiality, fear, or favour. The various documents I have laid before the department will attest the sincerity with which I have laboured to bring forward the truth. The British commissioner, Captain Prevost, on the contrary, has taken the very opposite course. The pursuit or fair consideration of evidence to elucidate any obscurity in which the language of the treaty might be involved from any cause whatever has been most studiously avoided. A blind adherence to a tortured interpretation of the meaning of the words of the treaty has been with him apparently a sacred act of duty. This perverted reading of the treaty has been his infallible guide throughout my connection with him. And he has so resolutely shut his eyes to the light of the most authentic contemporaneous evidence I have laid before him, not only of the views of my Government, but also of his own, that I sincerely believe, though one should rise from the dead to confirm it, he would not give it credence.
“That so amiable and estimable a gentleman as Captain Prevost should pursue a course so inconsistent with the ordinary dictates of common sense and good judgment, to say nothing of the demands of high honour, has been to me a source of the most unfeigned regret and mystification. If the British Government, however, has the right to exact of its agents an implicit obedience to its mandates, regardless of all considerations but its interests, I must do Captain Prevost the justice of bearing witness to his devoted loyalty.
“I would respectfully call the attention of the department to the fact that there are still some points which must be embraced in the instructions for Captain Prevost's guidance which are not to be found in the extract forwarded to me. It is evident from the correspondence of Captain Prevost, that his claim to Rosario Straits on the ground of the very peculiar wording of the treaty, and his main objection to the Canal de Haro by his interpretation of the word southerly in the treaty, are derived from instructions; for he says in his letter of November 24, 1857, . The high and official authority to whom I alluded in my letter of the 9th instant as the source of my information that the Vancouver, or Rosario Strait, was the channel contemplated by the British Government, is Her Majesty's present Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, the Earl of Clarendon, and I cannot presume that he would intimate to me in writing, as he has done, that such was the case, unless he had substantial grounds for doing so.' Lord Napier, while