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Notice respecting the boundary between His Majesty's possessions in North America and the United States;… [McGillivray, Simon]; [Wilcocke, Samuel Hull, 1766?-1833] 1817

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 N OTIGE
RESPECTING
THE  BOUNDARY
7
BETWEEN
HIS MAJESTY'S POSSESSIONS IN NORTH AMERICA
A3SP
THE UNITED STATES
W1TB
% Mm
XXHXBITINO
THE PRINCIPAL
OP5HE
NORTH-WEST COMPANY.
35"      ■ «'
V.
f
      
NOTICE 
RESPECTING    *
/
-V
THE  BOUNDARY
>fl
BETWEEN
HIS MAJESTY'S POSSESSIONS IN NORTH AMERICA
AND
THE UNITED STATES;
WITH
% iftap of America,
BETWEEN LATITUDES  40° AND  70° NOBTH, AND LONGITUDES
80° AND 150° WEST;
EXHIBITING
THE PRINCIPAL TRADING STATIONS
OF THE
NORTH-WEST COMPANY;
AND
INTENDED TO ACCOMPANY THE NARRATIVE OF OCCURRENCES IN THE
INDIAN COUNTRIES OF NORTH AMERICA,
CONNECTED WITH
H THE EARL OF SELKIRK, THE HUDSON'S BAY AND THE NORTH-WEST
COMPANIES.
«W>
LONDON:
PRINTED BY B. MrMILLAN, BOW-STREET, COVENT-GARDEN.
  11
rf\
RESPECTING THE BOUNDARY BETWEEN HIS MAJESTY'S POSSESSIONS
IN NORTH AMERICA, AND THE UNITED STATES.
Referring to the Extracts herewith given of the Treaties
of 1783, 1794, and 1814, it is not intended to comment
upon the manifest geographical ignorance of the British
Negociators in the former of these Treaties, nor to enlarge
upon the important, and now irrecoverable, territorial advantages which they yielded to the Americans, without obtaining any acknowledgment or equivalent in return: this
Notice is meant merely to describe the boundary line now
claimed by the United States, and to explain the grounds
upon which their claims appear to be founded.
The line extending to the I most north-western point of
" the Lake of the Woods" being expressly ceded in the
Treaty of 1783, and recognized in all the subsequent Treaties, it would now be an useless, though an easy task, to
demonstrate its absurdity, and to show, that though the
Negociators had heard of | the Long Lake" and the
" Lake of the Woods" (through means of the Canadian
voyageurs, who alone had explored that part of the country, and who carried on the Fur Trade by that route), yet
that they were totally ignorant of the relative position of
these Lakes, and that their meaning icasy to follow the
head waters of the River St. Lawrence to its source, which
they conceived to be the Lake of the Woods, and from
thence to proceed due -west to intersect the Mississippi,
which was supposed to rise far to the northward of the
River St. Lawrence, and whose source is actually situated
B
Va
 4 
to the northward of the River St. Louis, which is the next
distant source of the waters of Lake Superior, and consequently of the River St. Lawrence.
The Lake of the Woods was, however, named as a
fixed point, and the American Government were of course
glad to avail themselves of the unintended accession of territory it grave them : the line between Lake Superior and
the Lake of the Woods, is now to be determined by Com-
missioners, and they will (ind some difficulty in agreeing
Upon it, because there is actually no water communication
between these Lakes, and there is no such Lake in exist-
ence as the " Long Lake" through which the line is described to run, though by that name it is supposed was
meant a succession of small Lakes, from which the River
of Lac la Pluie issues, and which are situated a short distance beyond the heighth of land which separates that
River and the other tributary streams, flowing: through the
Lake of the Woods towards Lake Winnipic, from those
which fall into Lake Superior.
The Treaty of 1794, states it to be "uncertain, whether
" the River Mississippi extends so far to the northward, as
" to be intersected by a line to be drawn due west from the
" Lake of the Woods," and provides for the appointment of
Commissioners to ascertain the point; and in the event of
its being ascertained, that the line running due west would
not intersect the Mississippi, it is stipulated, that " the
" two parties will thereupon proceed by amicable negocia-
I tion, to regulate the boundary line in that quarter accord-
" ing to justice and mutual convenience, and in conformity
I to the intent of the said Treaty" (of 1783).
No Commissioners have ever met under the Treaty of
1794, and consequently the line beyond the Lake of the
Woods has never been officially agreed upon. During the
negociatious which were carried on in London in 1806, be-
 tvveen Lord Holland and the late Lord Auckland on one
side, and Mr. Monroe (now President of the United States)
and Mr. Pinckney on the other, this part of the boundary
line was the subject of frequent discussion; and the Writer
of this Notice having at the time in his possession, an original Survey of the Country, between the Lake of the
Woods and the source of the Mississippi, made by Mr.
Thompson, Geographer to the North-West Company, was
called upon to produce the same, and had opportunities of
hearing some of the discussions which took place. The
most north-western point of the Lake of the Woods is situated in the latitude of 49° 20' north, and longitude 94° 30'
west, while Turtle Lake, which is the source of the Mississippi, is situated in latitude 47° 36' north, and longitude 95° 10' west; therefore a line from the Lake of the
Woods to the source of the Mississippi, would run about
SS W, while a line running due west, would of course never
intersect the Mississippi. The British Negociators contended, that the nearest line from the Lake of the Woods to
the Mississippi, was the true intent of the Treaty of 1783;
but the Americans insisted that the line was to run due ivest,
and since it never could intersect the Mississippi, that it
must run due west across the whole Continent. The point
was not decided in these negociations, being one of those
reserved for further discussion, when the Treaty was concluded, which the American Government afterwards refused
to ratify.
The justice of the case appears to have been clearly
against the American claims; for as the course of the River
Mississippi then formed the western boundary of their territory, they could not reasonably maintain any claim to territory situated to the westward of its source ; but their purchase of Louisiana, which took place in the same year, gave
them an opportunity of extending their claims indefinitely to
q        V~V      V* WJLVK,V
b2
 6
II
tlie westward, and of insisting upon the line due west from
the Lake of the Woods, as their northern boundary. An
American publication of that time, supposed to be written
by.one of their most eminent statesmen*, contains the following observations on the subject of " the British Treaty,77
as it was called in that country, which the President refused
to ratify, in consequence, as that author supposes, of the
new territorial claim, founded upon the purchase of Louisiana.    The passage referred to is as follows, viz.
" The Convention, however,  made complete provision
| for the subject matter of the Fourth and Fifth Articles of
" the old Treaty.    It fixed our eastern boundary, settled
| the  course of a  line from the Mississippi to the Lake
| of the Woods, and confirmed our title to Moose Island.
1 It was duly sent over to America; was received, and was
mentioned by the President to the Congress, as a satis-
j factory arrangement.    So far all went on smoothly.   But
" previous to  a  Ratification, the  Louisiana Treaty came
" forward, and seems at once to have fascinated our Ad-
" ministration.    Instead  of considering the  conditions of
" this costly bargain, they considered only how they should
" secure the merit of making it, to themselves.    And in-
" stead of adopting prudent measures to possess the valu-
" able tract, east  of the  Mississippi, which  was clearly
within the Grant, they set their fancies to work in stretch-
j the boundary north and west, so as to reach the Polar
" Circle  and  Pacific Ocean.     Careless  of the centuries
" which must roll away before we can populate our old do-
I main, the President, in his anxiety not to lose one acre
I of those prodigious deserts which extend from Lake Su-.
perior to Nootka Sound, refused to ratify the Convention, lest it should be  supposed that something   was
ii
i
ii
i
Gojuverneur Morris, formerly American Ambassador at Paris, and in London,
 " thereby surrendered of what we had purchased under the
" name of Louisiana. This may seem incredible, and we
" will not vouch for the truth. The true cause of his re*
" fksal may be one of those nrvsteries, which it is conve-
" nient to hide from the people. But it is a fact, that the
" Convention was not ratified, and that the President as-
" signed, for the omission, the reason just mentioned."
The boundary  line to the westward of the Lake of the
Woods still  remains unsettled, for  the Treaty of Ghent
contains no stipulation whatever upon the subject.    In the
mean time, it appears by a Map published in Philadelphia
in 1816, and understood to be sanctioned by the American
Government, that they claim even more than the line due
west as their boundary, and extend their territorial claim
across the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.—Starting
from the north-western point of the Lake of the Woods,
which they lay down in latitude 49° 40' north^ their line extends in that parallel to the south branch of the Red Rivet;
then down that branch about 15 miles, to its junction with
the Assiniboin  River, and along the course of the latter
River to its source, which carries them to the latitude of
about 52° north.    From thence they cross the intervening
heighth of land to the south branch of the Saskatchewan
River, and follow the course of that River, and of the Bow
River, which is one of its branches, to the source of the
latter in the Rocky Mountains.    Then returning to the parallel of latitude in which they started from the Lake of
the Woods, their assumed boundary extends upon that parallel 49° 40' north to Queen Charlotte's Sound, and including both shores of the Columbia River, they claim the
whole coast of the Pacific, as far as the Bay of St. Francisco, in latitude 37° 55' north.
Whoever may ultimately remain possessors of the shores
 of the Pacific, and the country adjoining the Columbia
River, which (let it be remembered) was first explored,
and the Trade of which is now possessed by the North-
West Company, yet there is little probability that the boundary claimed by the Americans, from the Lake of the Woods
to the Rocky Mountains, will ever be seriously disputed
with them | and the line due tcest, they appear at all events,
fully resolved to claim.
It is worthy of observation, that either of these lines will
include the greater part of the Territory granted to Lord
Selkirk by the Hudson's Bay Company, and that the Settlement at the Forks of the Red River was situated within,
or on the immediate confines of the American Territory.
In the Map accompanying this Notice, the American side
of the boundary line thus claimed by the United States is
coloured yelloiv ; the British side red; and the Coast of the
Pacific Ocean, being still considered to belong to Great
Britain, notwithstanding the American claim, is also coloured red; the Depots and Trading Stations of the North*
West Company are marked NW, with a deep red dot; and
the Territory specified in the Hudson's Bay Company's
Grant to the Earl of Selkirk, is coloured green.
 TREATY OF PARIS, 1783,
' ART. II. W
And that all disputes which might arise in future on the subject of the
boundaries of the said United States may be prevented, ii is hereby
agreed and declared, that the following are, and shall be their boundaries,
viz. From the north-west angle of Nova Scotia, viz. that angle which is
formed by a line drawn due north from the source of St. Croix River to
the Highlands, along the said Highlands, which divide those rivers
that empty themselves into the River St. Lawrence, from those which fall
into the Atlantic Ocean, to the north-westernmost head of Connecticut
River, thence down along the middle of that river to the forty-fifth de-
gree of north latitude; from thence, by a line due west, on said latitude,
until it strikes the River Iroquois or Cataraquy; thence along the middle
of said River into Lake Ontario, through the middle oj said Lake until
it strikes the communication by water between that Lake and Lake Erie;
thence along the middle of the said communication into Lake Erie,
through the middle of said Lake, until it arrives at the water communication between that Lake and Lake Huron; thence through the middle
of said Lake to the water communication between that Lake and Lake
Superior; thence through Lake Superior northward of the Isles Royal
and Philapeaux, to the Long Lake; thence through the middle of said
Long Lake, and the water communication between it and the Lake of
the Woods, to the said Lake of the Woods \ thence through the said
Lake to the most north-westernmost point thereof, and from thence
on a due west course to the River Mississippi, &c. &c.
TREATY OF LONDON, 1794,
ART. IV.
Whereas it is uncertain, whether the River Mississippi extends so
far to the northward, as to be intersected by a line to be drawn due west
from the Lake of the Woods, in the manner mentioned in the Treaty of
Peace between His Majesty and the United States; it is agreed, that
MM
 10 j Jt
measures shall be taken, in concert by His Majesty's Government and
the United States, for maMng a joint Survey of the said River, from one
degree of latitude below the fall of St. Anthony, to the principal source
or sources of the said River, and also of the parts adjacent thereto ; and
that if, on the result of such Survey, it should appear that the said River
ivould not be intersected by such a line as is above mentioned, the two
Parties will thereupon proceed, by amicable negociation, to regulate the
boundary Une in that quarter, as well as all other points to be adjusted
between the said Parties, according to justice and mutual convenience,
and in conformity to the intent of the said Treaty,
TREATY OF GHENT, 1814,
ART. VI. AND VII.
ARTICLE VI.
Whereas by the former Treaty of Peace, that portion of the boun*
dary of the United States, from the point where the 45th degree of
north latitude strikes the River Iroquois or Cataraquy, to the Lake
Superior, was declared to be " along the middle of said River into
tQ Lake Ontario, through, tlie middle of said Lake, until it strikes the
" communication by water between that Lake and Lake Erie, thence
" along the middle of said communication into Lake Erie, through the
0 middle of said Lake, until it arrives at the water communication into
81 Lake Huron, thence through the middle of said Lake to the water
€t communication between that Lake and Lake Superior ;" and whereas
doubts have arisen what was the middle of the said River, Lakes, and
water communications, and whether certain Islands lying in the same,
were within the Dominions of His Britannic Majesty or of the United
States : In order, therefore, finally to decide these doubts, they shall be
referred to two Commissioners, to be appointed, sworn, and authorized
to act exactly in the manner directed with respect to those mentioned in
the next preceding Article, unless otherwise specified in this present
Article.   The said Commissioners shall meet, in the first instance, at
I
 I" 11
Albany, in the State of New York, and shall have power to aajourn to
such other place or places as they shall think fit. The said Commission"
ers shall, by a report or declaration, under their hands and seals, dfe-
signate the boundary through the said River, Lakes, and water com'
munications, and decide to which of the two Contracting Parties the several Islands lying within the said Rivers, Lakes, and water commu~
nications, do respectively belong, in conformity with the true intent of
the said Treaty of 4783. And both Parties agree to consider such designation and decision as final and conclusive. And in the event of the
said two Commissioners differing, or both or either of them refusing,
declining, or wilfullly omitting to act, such reports, declarations, or
statements, shall be made by them, or either of them, and such reference to a friendly Sovereign or State shall be made, in all respects, as
in the latter part of the Fourth Article is contained, and in as full a
manner as if the same was herein repeated.
ARTICLE VII.
It is further agreed, that the said two last-mentioned Commissioners,
after they shall have executed the duties assigned to them in the preceding Article, shall be, and they are hereby authorized, upon their oat lis,
impartially to fix and determine, according to the true intent of the said
Treaty of Peace of 1783, that part of the boundary between the dominions of the two Powers, which extends from the water communication between Lake Huron and Lake Superior, to the most north-western
point of the Lake of the Woods; to decide to which of the two Parties
the several Islands lying in the Lakes, water communications and rivers
forming the said boundary, do respectively belong, in conformity with
the true intent of the said Treaty of Peace of 1783/ and to cause such
parts of the said boundary as require it, to be surveyed and marked.
The said Commissionefs shall, by a report or declaration, under their
hands and seals, designate the boundary aforesaid, state their decision
on the points thus referred to them, and particularize the latitude and
longitude of the most north-western point of the Lake of the Woods,
and of such other parts of the said boundary as they may deem proper.
And both Parties agree to consider such designation and decision as final
and conclusive.   And in the event of the said two Commissioners differ-
 
12- •    I'' .
ing, or both, or either of them, refusing, declining, or wilfully omitting to act, such reports, declarations, or statements shall be made by
them, or either of them, and such inference to a jriendly Sovereign or
State shall be made in all respects, as in the latter part of the Fourth
Article is contained, and in as full a manner as if the same teas herein
repeated.
.ondon • Printed by B. McMillan, >
iJow-Strect, C^veat-Gardei.    S
     

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