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The Alaska-Canada boundary dispute, under the Anglo-Russian treaty of 1825; the Russian-American Alaska… Hodgins, Thomas, 1828-1910 1903

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Under the Anglo-Russian Treaty of 1825; the Ross
Alaska Treaty of 1867 ; and the Anglo-Ame
Conventions of 1892, 1894 and 1897.
" A strip of land, at no point wider than 10 marine leagues running along the
Pacific Ocean, from 54° 40' to 60°, was assigned to Russia by the third Article of
Russia's Treaty with Great Britain."    "It is the same strip of land which the
United States acquired in the purchase of Alaska; the same strip of land which
gave to  British America, lying behind  it, a free access to the  Ocean. "—Mr.
Secretary Blaine to the British Ambassador, 1890.
" In the interpretation of International Conventions, Arbitration is recognized
by the Signatory Powers as the most effective, and at the same time the most
Hague Arbitration Treaty, 1S99.
" There is an International Law by which every controversy
may be adjudged and determined."—ViHVed States Argument in
Arbitration, 1S9S.
Wm, Tyrrell and Co., 8 King St. West.
Wm. Briggs, 29 Richmond St. West.
^    THE
Under the Anglo-Russian Treaty of 1825 ; the Russian-American
Alaska Treaty of 1867; and the Anglo-American
Conventions of 1892, 1894 and 1897.
" A strip of land, at no point wider thanlO marine leagues running along the
Pacific Ocean, from 54° 40' to 60°, was assigned to Russia by the third Article of
Russia's Treaty with Great Britain." "It is the same strip of land which the
United States acquired in the purchase of Alaska; the same strip of land which
gave to British America, lying behind it, a free access to the Ocean."—Mr.
Secretary Blaine to the British Ambassador, 1890.
'' In the interpretation of International Conventions, Arbitration is recognized
by the Signatory Powers as the most effective, and at the same time the most
equitable, means of settling Disputes which Diplomacy has failed to settle."—
Hague Arbitration Treaty, 1899.
" There is an International Law by which every controversy between Nations
may be adjudged and-determined."—United States Argument in the Behring Sea
Arbitration, 1893.
(From the Contemporary Review.)
,L and Co., 8 Ki
as, 29 Richmond Printed by
2-34 Lombard Street, Toronto.
/S ^tdd¥-
m ,nd Canada
The numerals (1), (2), and (3) above Lynn Canal indicate the Provisional Boundary
lines arranged between the United States and Great Britain in October, 1899.
They are about 20 miles from tide-water, and bar Canada's territorial rights along
the upper shores of Lynn Canal, and injuriously affect her privileges of passage
and coasting trade within what are claimed as the upper, or British, territorial
waters, and to and from the Pacific Ocean.  ALASKA-CANADA BOUNDARY DISPUTE.
The admission of British Columbia into the Dominion in 1871,
made Canada a party to the Alaska boundary dispute; and ever
since 1872 urgent and almost yearly requests have been made by the
British and Canadian Governments to the Government of the United
States for an "expeditious settlement" of the disputed line of demarcation between that Western Province and the Territory of
Alaska. The passive resistance of the United States to these requests
is inexplicable, unless on the unattractive assumption that the unsanctioned occupation by their Government of disputed British-
Canadian territory, and the national insistence in defending that
occupation, must ultimately, as' in former boundary disputes, assure
a diplomatic triumph over Great Britain, and secure to the Republic
a further cession of Canadian territory for the enlargement of Alaska.
The diplomatic disasters through which Canada has lost some of the
best agricultural portions of her original heritage* explain why
Canadians now look with intense anxiety for the just settlement of
the Alaska boundary controversy; for, as has been said by Sir Charles
• Dilke in his Problems of Greater Britain, "It is a fact that British
Diplomacy has cost Canada dear."
Ex-President Cleveland, an authority on the diplomatic policy of
the United States, has lately furnished in the Century Magazine, what
may be prophetic of that policy in the Alaska case:—
One or the other of two national neighbours claims that their
boundary line should be defined or rectified. If this is questioned, a
season of diplomatic untruthfulness and finesse sometimes intervenes, for the sake of appearances. Developments soon follow, however, that expose a grim determination, behind fine phrases of
diplomacy, and in the end the weaker nation frequently awakens to
the fact that it must either accede to an ultimatum dictated by its
stronger adversary, or look in the face of a despoliation of its territory; and, if such a stage is reached, superior strength and fighting .
ability, instead of suggesting magnanimity, are graspingly used to
enforce extreme demands, if not to consumate extensive spoliation.
ind American Diplomacy Affecting Canada, 1 And he added:—
"While on this point we are reminded of the methods of the shrewd
sharp trader who demands exorbitant terms, and with professions of
amicable consideration invites negotiation, looking for a result abundantly profitable in the large range for dicker which he has created—
a well-known specialty of his countrymen.
The Anglo-Russian Treaty of 1825, which described the now disputed boundary line of demarcation in Alaska, was the final settlement of a keen diplomatic controversy between Great Britain and
the United States on the one side, and Russia on the other, over a
Russian Ukase of 1821, claiming maritime sovereignty over 100 miles
of ocean in Behring Sea. (This Ukase was suddenly revived by the
United States in 1886, and under it about 20 British ships were confiscated or driven away, and some of their crews imprisoned and fined;
but these proceedings the Behring Sea Arbitration of 1893 decided
were violations of the Law of Nations).
The Treaty also settled the long pending controversy about the
territorial boundaries. As stated by Mr. Justice Harlan, of the
Supreme Court, in the Behring Sea Arbitration:—
The evidence is overwhelming that the positions taken by the
United States and Great Britain were substantially alike, namely,
that Russia claimed more territory on the north-west coast of America
than she had title to, either by discovery, or occupancy.
During the negotiations for the Treaty of 1825, Russia, while
admitting that she had no establishments on the southerly portion
of the coast, contended that "during the hunting and fishing seasons
the coast and adjacent waters were exploited by the Russian-American
Company, the only method of occupation which those latitudes were
susceptible of;" adding, "We limit our requirements to a mere strip
of the continent; and so that no objection be raised, we guarantee
the free navigation of the rivers." The expressions used by Count
Nesselrode, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, in describing
the strip of coast, were "etroite lisiere sur la cote;" "d'une simple
lisiere du continent;" "d'un mediocre espace de terre ferme." The
free navigation of the waters in the strip of'coast was proffered by
Count Nesselrode, thus: "La Russie leur assure de libres debouches;"
and finally by the Russian Plenipotentiaries in these words:—
His Imperial Majesty's Plenipotentiaries, foreseeing the case
where in the strip or border of coast belonging to Russia, waters
(fleuves) should be found, by means of which the British establishments should be made to have free intercourse with the Ocean, were
eager to offer, as a persuasive stipulation, the free navigation of those
waters.    (The words in the Treaty are "all rivers and streams.") The British instructions to the Minister at St. Petersburg were
as follows:—
In fixing the course of the eastern boundary of the strip of land
to be occupied by Russia on the coast, the seaward base of the mountains is assumed as that limit. But we have experience that other
mountains on the other side of the American continent, which had
been assumed in former treaties as lines of boundary, were incorrectly
laid down' on the maps; and this inaccuracy has given rise to very
troublesome discussions. It is therefore necessary that some other
security should be taken that the line of demarcation to be drawn
parallel to the coast as far as Mount St. Elias is not carried too far
inland. This should be done by a proviso that the line should in no
case, i.e., not in that of the mountains (which appear by the map
also to border the coast turning out to be far removed from it), be
carried further to the east than a specified number of leagues from
the sea. The utmost extent which His Majesty's Government would
be disposed to concede would be a distance of ten leagues; but it
would be desirable if your Excellency were enabled to obtain a still
more narrow limitation.
The Russian contre projet omitted the mountain sea-base, line, and
pi'oposed that the strip or border of coast "n'aura point en largeur
sur le continent plus de 10 lieues marines a partir du bord
mer." The British Foreign Secretary replied, "We cannot agree to
this change;"  adding:—
To avoid the chance of this inconvenience, we propose to qualify
'  the general proposition 'that the mountains shall be the boundary
with the condition, if those mountains should not be found to extend
beyond ten leagues from the coast.
The following Articles, and the despatch of the British Minister
to the Foreign Secretary stating that "The line of demarcation along
the strip of land assigned to Russia is laid down in the Convention
agreeably to your directions," shew that the British conditions as.
to the inland limits of the boundary line, were accepted by Russia,
and incorporated into the Treaty:—
III. The line of demarcation between the possessions of the High
Contracting Parties upon the coast of the continent, and the islands
of North America to the north-west, shall be drawn in the manner
following: Commencing from the southernmost part of the island
called Prince of Wales Island, which point lies in the parallel of 54°
40', north latitude and between the 131st and the 133rd degrees of
west longitude (meridian of Greenwich), the said line shall ascend
to the north along the channel called Portland Channel, as far as
the point of the continent where it strikes the 56th degree of north
latitude; from the last-mentioned point the line of demarcation shall
follow the summit of the mountains situated parallel to the coast,
as far as the point of intersection of the 141st degree of west longi- tude (of the same meridian); and finally, from the said point of
intersection, the said meridian line of the 141st degree, in its prolongation as far as the Frozen Ocean, shall form the limit between
the Russian and British possessions on the continent of America tq
the north-west.
IV. With' reference to the line of demarcation laid down ip the
preceding article, it is understood, first, that the island called Prince
of Wales Island shall belong wholly to Russia; second, that wherevei?
the summit of the mountains, which extend in a direction parallel to
the coast from the 56th degree of north latitude to the point of
intersection of the 141st degree of west longitude, shall prove to be of
a distance of more than ten marine leagues from the Ocean, the limit
between the British possessions and the strip of coast (la lisiere de
cote), which is to belong to Russia as above mentioned, shall be
formed by a line parallel to the windings of the coa£t, and
which shall never exceed the distance of ten marine leagues therefrom (et qui ne pourra jamais en etre eloignee que de 10 lieues
VI. It is understood that the subjects of His Britannic Majesty,
from whatever quarter they may arrive, whether from the Ocean, or
from the interior of the Continent, shall, for ever, enjoy the right of
navigating freely, and without any hindrance whatever, all the rivers
and streams which, in their course towards the Pacific Ocean,' may
cross the line (traverseront la ligne) of demarcation upon the strip
of coast described in Article III of the present Convention.
Articles III and IV were incorporated into the Russian Treaty
of 1867, by which Alaska was ceded to the United States.
And here should be noted the change of expression from "Sea"
in the draft pro jets, to "Ocean" in the Treaty. In the British draft
the words were, depuis la mer; and in the Russian, du bord de la
mer; in the Treaty they are, 10 lieues marines de 1'Ocean,—a more
accurate expression. The reason for the change may be found in the
argument of Mr. Wheaton before the Supreme Court of the United
States: "The §ea, technically so termed, includes ports and havens,
rivers and creeks, as well as the sea-coasts." And Mr. Justice Story
in another case held that only the unenclosed waters on the sea coast
outside the fauces terra?, were high seas (altum mare, or la haut
mer), or open ocean. The change_of expression, therefore, made the
inland distance of the Treaty line free of any possible doubt; and j
proves that the line of demarcation of the Russian strip of coast was
to be 10 marine leagues from the coast-line of the Pacific Ocean, and
not from the upper shores of inlets, bays, or other arms of the sea.
The following commentary in a Despatch, written by Mr. Secretary Blaine to the British Ambassador in  1890,  is  a diplomatic admission, on behalf of the United States, of "the spirit, intent and
meaning" of this Treaty:—
It will be observed that Article III expressly delimits the
' boundary between British America and the Russian possessions. The
delimitation is in minute detail from 54° 40' to the northern terminus
of the coast. The evident design of Article IV was to make certain
and definite the boundary line along the strip of coast, should there
be any doubt as to that line as laid down in Article III. It provided
that the boundary line, following the windings of the coast, should
never be more than ten marine leagues therefrom.
And his commentary on Article VI supports the British claim:—
Nothing is clearer than the reason for this. A strip of land, at
no point wider than ten marine leagues running along the Pacific
Ocean, from 54° 40' to 60°, was assigned to Russia by the third
article. Directly to the east of this strip of land, or as it might be
said, behind it, lay the British possessions. To shut out the inhabitants of the British possessions from the sea by this strip of land,
would have been not only unreasonable, but intolerable, to Great
Britain. Russia promptly conceded the privilege, and gave to Great
Britain the right of navigating all rivers crossing that strip of land
from 54° 40' to the point of intersection with the 141st degree of
longitude. Without this concession the Treaty could not have been
made. It is the same strip of land which the United States acquired
in the purchase of Alaska; the same strip, of land which gave to
British-America, lying behind it, a free access to the Ocean.
Senator Sumner, in the debate on the Alaska Treaty of 1867, described it as "a margin of the mainland, fronting on the Ocean, 30 miles
broad and 300 miles long, to Mount St. Elias." And Senator .Washburn admitted that Great Britain had a Treaty with Russia,
"giving her subjects, for ever, the free navigation of the rivers of
The recent contention of the United States, as stated in the
National Geographic Magazine by Mi-. Ex-Secretary Foster, is that
"Russia was'to have a continuous strip of territory on the mainland around all the inlets or arms of the sea;'' and that the boundary
line was not to cross, as claimed by Great Britain, such inlets or arms
of the sea at the distance of 10 marine leagues from the coast-line
of the Pacific Ocean. And he supports his contention by the argument ab ineonvenienti, that—
The purpose for which the strip was established would" be defeated
if it was to be broken in any part of its course by inlets, or arms of the
sea, extending into British territory. With the strip of territory so
established, all the interior waters of the Ocean, above its southern
limit, became Russian, and were to be inaccessible to British ships
and traders, except by express license. In these constructions of the Treaty, the Ex-Secretary dissents from
■ the expressed opinions of the late Mr. Secretary Blaine, and Senators
Sumner and Washburn,
Great Britain and Canada also dissent from this "rounding"
theory, and contend that the terms used, the restricted inland distance ■
of the mountain summits, together with the expression ne pourra
jamais, which imports, an imperative negative and veto on any
theorizing as to the inland locus of the line separating the territories
of the two nations, clearly indicate that the Russian territory was
to be, in the words of the.late Mr. Secretary Blaine, "a strip of land
at no point wider than 10 marine leagues, running along the Pacific
Ocean." And that the Treaty line was to cross inlets and arms of
the sea, at the 10 marine league distance, is clear from the Russian
"persuasive stipulation," as well as from the expression "cross the
line" in the Vlth Article; otherwise the Russian concession of free
navigation of all the rivers and streams which the boundary line
should cross, would be meaningless.
The practical effect of the claim of "a continuous strip of territory around all the arms or inlets of the sea,'' would be to nullify the
above concession, and also the Russian pledge of free navigation with
libres debouches assures through the inlets, or other arms of the
sea, along the Alaskan strip of coast. Taku Inlet is one-fifth of a
mile wide at its ocean-mouth, and extends inland for about 23
miles. The United States claim the whole inlet, and ten marine
leagues inland, instead of seven, miles. Lynn Canal has three ocean-
mouths (owing to two islands) of four and three-quarters, one and
three-quarters, and one and one-half miles wide, respectively, and
extends inland for about 70 miles; the United States claim the whole
canal, and also ten marine leagues of inland territory. Glacier
Bay is three and one-half miles wide, and extends inland for about
4r> miles from the ocean. The United . States claim the whole
bay, and also 10 marine leagues of inland territory. The 10 marine
leagues are equal to 30 marine miles; and the upper waters, beyond
that distance from the Pacific Ocean, are claimed by Great Britain
jfii'd Canada as British territorial waters. The British territory and
inland Avaters thus claimed by the United States, east of the Treaty
strip of coast, is about 320 miles from north to south, and from 14
to 70 miles wide. The United States seek to bar Great Britain's access
to the Pacific Ocean, and her coasting trade through the British portion
of these inlets and arms of the sea, guaranteed to her by the Treaty
of 1825. By the Law of Nations all the above are territorial waters,
and have all the legal incidents which pertain to land territory, except that their waters are subject to what is defined as the "imperfect right of free navigation."
Another practical effect of this "rounding" theory would make
those inlets or arms of the sea, assume a Janus-faced, or, more properly,
an amphibious, quality. By International Law they are the same as
land; but by importing the "rounding" theory into the Treaty, they
become ocean, and the lisiere overlaps on British soil.
By another strange discordance the United States concede
that the international boundary line crosses certain territorial waters,
geographically designated "rivers and streams;" but deny that it
crosses certain other territorial waters geographically designated
"inlets, bays and canals,"—although as to their territorial sovereignty International law treats both classes as though they were land.
The existence of such inlets, bays and canals cannot therefore authorize variations in the measurement.of the inland width of the lisiere
de cote. All such territorial waters are expressly within the terms of
the Behring Sea Regulations, which prohibit seal-hunting within "a
zone of 60 miles around the.Pribilof Islands, inclusive of the territorial waters."
But the British contention may be further tested by the
acknowledged authorities on International Law. From the many
judicial authorities on the law, the following may be cited from the
judgments, in the Keyn ease. Mr. Justice Brett (afterwards Lord
Esher) said:—
By the law of nations,—made, by the tacit consent of substantially all nations,—the open sea, within three miles of the coast,
is a part of the territory of the adjacent nation, as much, and as
completely, as if it were the land territory of. such nation.
And Chief Justice Cockburn also said:—
If an offence was committed in a bay or gulf, inter fauces terras,.
the common law could deal with it, because the parts of the sea, so
circumstanced, would be within the body of the adjacent county or
Wheaton on International law thus states the doctrine:—
The maritime territory of every State extends to the ports, harbours, bays, mouths of rivers, and adjacent parts of the sea, enclosed
by headlands belonging to the same State. The general usage of
nations superadds to this extent of territorial jurisdiction a distance
of a marine league, or as far as a cannon shot will reach from the
shore, along all the coast of the State. . . . The sea-coast does not
present a straight and regular line; it is on the contrary almost,
always intersected by bays, capes, etc.   If the maritime domain must venience would result. It has therefore been agreed to draw an
imaginary line from one promontory to another, for the place of
departure of the cannon shot.
An illustration of this doctrine of International law was given
by Mr. Justice Story: "Where there are islands enclosing a
harbour, in the manner in which Boston Harbour is enclosed, with
such narrow straits between them, the whole of its waters must be
considered as within the body of the county. Islands so situated
must be considered the opposite shores in the sense of the adjoining
land down to a line running across." And, "in the sense of the
common law, such waters seem to be within the fauces terrae, where
the main ocean terminates." 'And Daniel Webster argued that, by
the common law, ports and harbours are within the body of the
county, consequently not part of the high seas; and a navigable
arm of the sea, therefore, is no part of the high seas, which is the
open ocean, outside the fauces terrae. And the term "coast" has
been thus interpreted by another authority: "In general, the coastline follows the shore of the sea, but it crosses each inlet by an assumed
straight line from headland to headland."
These rules of International Law as to the sea-mouths of inlets,
have been incorporated into the municipal law of the United States.
Some of their State laws enact:
The territorial limit of this Commonwealth extends to one marine
league.from its shore at low-water mark. When an inlet or arm of
the sea does not exceed two marine leagues in width, between its
headlands, a straight line, from one headland to the other, is equivalent to the shore line.
These laws have been upheld by their Supreme Court; and in
giving judgment the Court held that,—
As between nations, the minimum limit of the territorial jurisdiction of a nation over tide-waters is a marine league from its coasts;
and bays wholly within the territory of a nation, which do not exceed
two marine leagues, or six geographical miles, in width at the jnouth,
are within the limit, and are part of the territory of the nation in
which they lie.
Senator.Morgan, in the Behring Sea case, stated that the claim of
territorial waters over an area of the sea that is clearly demarked by
land boundaries, though not entirely enclosed by the land, is dominion,
or ownership of the land beneath those waters, and is clearly sufficient
to support the municipal jurisdiction of the government.
The historic evolution of the limit of shore-defence is thus given
in Bluntsehli's Law of Nations:— The sovereignty of States over the sea extended originally to a
stone's throw from the coast); later to an arrow's shot; firearms
were then invented, and by rapid progress we have arrived at the
far-shooting of the cannon of the present age. But we still preserve
.the principle:  Terne dominium finitur, ubi finitur armorum vis.
But while the United States have sought to'hold Great Britain
bound by the six mile sea-mouth in Treaty and other disputes, they
have claimed and exercised the rights of sovereignty over bays and
inlets around their coast of much wider sea-mouths. In 1793 they
claimed that Delaware Bay, having a sea-mouth of 10.5 miles from
i headland to headland, widening to 25 miles inland, was part of the
maritime territory of the United States; and that the capture of a
British ship by a French frigate "within its capes before she had
reached the sea," was a violation of the territory and sovereignty of
the United States. From 1789, Congress has assumed that Chesapeake
Bay, having a sea-mouth of 12.7 miles from headland to headland,
and extending inland about 200,miles, was part of the territory, and
within the acknowledged jurisdiction, of the United States.
Senator Seward during a debate in the Senate in 1852 declared
that the contention of the United States that only bays six miles
wide, or less, at the mouth, could be considered as territorial waters,
proved too much, for it would divest the United States of Boston
Harbour, Long Island Sound, Delaware Bay, Chesapeake Bay,
Albemarle Sound, and others.
This six miles width, however, has been varied in some cases by
Treaties, which make the sea-mouth ten nautical miles, such as the
Anglo-French Treaty of 1839, the Anglo-German Treaty of 1866,
and the unratified Anglo-American Treaty of 1888. In the Netherlands Manual of International Law it is said:—
The littoral sea, or territorial water, is reckoned to begin from a
straight line drawn between the headlands, shoals or islands, which
form the mouth, pr entrance, of the closed bay or river, and between
which the breadth is not more than ten sea miles.
These authorities shew that landward of the coast-line of the ocean,
though indented by, and inclusive of, rivers, inlets, or arms of the
sea, of the mouth width of six miles, is the territory of the nation
which is sovereign of the coast, to the defined inland limit of its
dominium eminens. It must therefore be conceded that, as inlets
and land are the same in International Law as to sovereignty, the
Alaska boundary line must cross each at the ten marine league distance from the coast-line of the Pacific Ocean. An American apologist has lately asserted that "no strenuous
protest" was made by Canada; and he attempts to excuse the United
States trespass on British-Canadian territory by suggesting that the
United States may reply: "For some twenty-five years out of the
thirty which have elapsed since our purchase of Alaska, it was not
worth your while to make any serious effort towards a permanent
boundary settlement." The history of 'the urgent and persistent
appeals of the British and Canadian Governments to induce the
Government of the United States to settle the boundary, will prove
the falsity of the suggested excuse, and may recall a previously cited
Presidential commentary on diplomatic policy.
The Treaty ceding Alaska to the United States was signed on the
30th March, 1867; possession was obtained on the 18th October of
the same year, and the necessary legislation to give effect to the
Treaty was enacted by Congress on the 27th July, 1868. Canada
became territorially a party to the boundary dispute on the 20th
July, 1871.
(1) On the 12th March, 1872, attention was called by Canada
"to the necessity of some action being taken at an early date to have
the boundary line properly defined." To this Mr. Secretary Fish
replied on the 14th November, 1872, "that he was perfectly satisfied
of the expediency of such a measure, but he feared that Congress
'might not be willing to grant the necessary funds."
(2) On the 27th January, 1873, Canada agreed to pay one-half
of the British expenditure in marking the boundary.
(3) On the 12th February, 1873, in response to another appeal,
Mr. Secretary Fish "doubted whether Congress would ever be induced to vote the amount necessary to lay down the boundary completely, and hardly the amount required to determine the suggested
(4) On the 23rd May, 1873, the United States officials in Alaska
forbad to British subjects the free navigation of the Stikene and
Yukon rivers, guaranteed to them by the Russian Treaty of" 1825,
and the Washington Treaty of 1871; and gave notice that "no
foreign bottom should be allowed to' carry freight through American
territory on the Stikene river." The Canadian Government protested, and requested that Treaty rights should be observed.
(5) On the 16th January, 1874, the Canadian authorities represented the urgency of having the boundary established, as it seriously
affected vital questions Dearing upon navigation and commerce and
that "an alleged conflict of authority had arisen." (6) In 1875 certain British settlers laid out a town, claimed by
them to be on Canadian territory, but the United States officials
claimed that it was within their territory. The difficulty was discussed with Mr. Secretary Fish, who asked the British Minister what
he thought could be done to settle the question of jurisdiction. His
reply was "that the occurrence went to prove the wisdom of the
recommendation of Her Majesty's Government, made over two years
before, that no time should be lost in laying down the boundary between the two territories." Mr. Fish "feared that even for a partial
survey it would be difficult to obtain the necessary grant during the
next session of Congress," and suggested that "the settlers should
be called upon to suspend operations until the question of territory
should be decided,"—now a long and wearisome suspense.
(7) On the 23rd November, 1875, the Canadian Government
again pressed for "an expeditious settlement of the boundary," and
offered concerted measures for fixing the line on the Stikene river,
where the town had been laid put; but Mr. Fish "declared his conviction that it would be useless to apply to Congress for any amount
whatever for such purposes."
(8) In September, 1876, one Martin, a Canadian prisoner (with
a gaol record in both countries), who was being conveyed down the
Stikene river, made an assualt .with a gun on his guards, but was
overpowered, brought to Victoria, tried and convicted. Mr. Secretary Fish demanded his release, alleging that "a violation of the
sovereignty of the United States had been committed;'' and although
in the opinion of the Canadian Minister of Justice "there was no
evidence to shew in which of the two countries the act was commtted,''
on the advice of the Colonial Office, he was released and allowed to
return to the United States, "an action very gratifying to this (U.S.)
Government." And it was then clearly shewn that "the uncertainty
attending the question was not attributable to the Canadian Government, which had made earnest, though hitherto unsuccessful, efforts
to arrange for a joint commission to mark the limit at the Stikene.''
(9) During the same month, a Canadian merchant was notified
to remove his goods from his store, which he claimed was within
Canadian territory, or pay United States Customs' duties, the
American ^official insisting that it was "within the jurisdiction of
the United States." The store was afterwards, on a survey, found
to be seven miles within Canada.
(10) The same year the Secretary of the Treasury intimated that
immediately after the opening of navigation in the spring, his officers should treat certain localities as United States territory, by taking
proceedings against Canadian settlers, who might remain in such
localities, for the collection of United States Custom duties on goods
in their'possession. The Canadian Government represented these
facts to the British Government, "so that the rights of British subjects, as they now exist, may be maintained inviolate pending a
determination of the boundary line by the joint authority of the two
nations;" that "the Dominion Government had repeatedly taken
urgent action to have the boundary defined; and that it was wholly
the fault of the United States Government that it had not been so
determined;"  adding:—
It seems very remarkable that while the United States Government should have hitherto refused, or neglected, to take proper steps
to define the boundary, they should now seek to establish it in this
manner, in accordance with their own views, without any reference
to the British authorities, who are equally interested in the just
settlement of the international boundary.
(11) In March, 1877, an urgent representation was made to the
United States that it was "most desirable to decide where the jurisdiction of the United States ended, and that of British Columbia
began." Mr. Secretary Fish's only reply was that "the attention
of Congress had been requested to the matter."
(12) During the same month the Canadian Government again
protested against the action of the United States in treating certain
localities as being within United States' territory, and urged that
British settlers should not be interfered with; and advised the
Foreign Office that if a conventional, instead of the treaty, boundary
was proposed, it would not be unfair to conclude that the United
States, which had hitherto declined our proposals for a true settlement of the boundary, "would redouble its nressure for the removal
of British traders from places believed to be within our territory,
and continue its declinature to investigate the settlement of the
(13) On the 1st October, 1877, the attention of Mr. Secretary
Evarts was called to "the unsatisfactory state of uncertainty as to
the exact boundary between Alaska and Canada;" but he only
returned the old stereotyped reply that the subject "would again
be brought to the attention of Congress."
(14) On the 6th December, 1877, the Canadian Government again
complained of the attempt of the United States' officials to collect
Customs duties from British settlers; and protested that the Treasury,
■order was a direction to the officials "to assume that to be Alaskan territory which had hitherto been tacitly assumed to be Canadian
soil, and which the Canadian Government believed could be proved
to be so under the Russian Treaty of 1825.''
(15) On the 24th December, 1877, the Canadian Government
proposed that a survey' made at its expense on the Stikene River,
which had ascertained the points "ten marine leagues from the
coast," should be accepted by both: nations as the boundary line on
that river. Mr. Secretary Evarts on the 9th March, 1878, agreed to
this, on behalf of the United States, "on the nnderstanding that the
provisional arrangement in regard to the Alaska boundary, should
not be held to affect the Treaty rights of either party."
x Subsequent correspondence up to the Treaty-Convention of 1892, •
was much to the same effect. But the above facts seem to indicate
that there had been no definite Cabinet policy on the part of the
United States Government on the Alaska question, and that each
department was allowed to act on its own initiative.
Air. Secretary Fish's despatch on the Martin case in 1877, may
be cited as a rebuke to the ex parte action of his Government as set
out in the correspondence quoted above:—
The absence of a line defined and marked on the surface of the
earth, as that of the limit, or boundary, between two nations, cannot
confer upon either a jurisdiction beyond the point where such line
should, in fact, be. That is the boundary which the Treaty makes
the boundary; surveys make it certain, and patent, on the ground,
but do not alter rights, or change rightful jurisdiction. It may be
inconvenient, or difficult, in a particular case to ascertain whether
the spot on which some occurrence happened, is, or is not, beyond
the boundary line; buf this is a question of fact, upon the decision
of which the right to jurisdiction must depend.
And the remarks of the author of a work on American Diplomacy
are a corollary to that rebuke:—
It is not competent for one of the contracting parties to import
into a Treaty a construction based upon an ex parte interpretation
of its text, which is not accepted by the other party.
Some years earlier the United States acknowledged that "a
generous spirit of amity" had guided Great Britain in the following
It is, therefore, the wish of Her Majesty's Government neither
to concede, nor, for the present, to enforce any rights which are, in
their nature, open to any serious objection on the part of the United
States. Mr. Secretary Marcy once outlined the true international doctrine
respecting Disputed Territory as follows:—
When a dispute as to territorial limits arises between two nations
the ordinary course is to leave the territory claimed by them, respectively, in the same condition (or as nearly so as possible), in which
it was when the difficulty occurred, until an amicable arrangement
can be made in regard to conflicting pretensions to it. It has not
been the intention of the United States to deviate from this course;
nor has any notice been given by [the other nation] that she proposed
to assume jurisdiction over it, or to change the possession as it was
held at the conclusion of the Treaty, between the two nations.
It has been further contended on behalf of the United States that
because Great Britain accepted in the Treaty of 1825, a time limitation
of trading in the Russian inlets, she has, therefore, now no claim
to the upper portions of those inlets.    The Article is as follows:—
VII. It is also understood that for the space of ten years from -
the present Convention the vessels of the two powers, or of their
respective subjects, shall mutually be at liberty to frequent, without
any hindrance whatever, all the inland seas, gulfs, havens and creeks
on the coast mentioned in Article III, for the purpose of fishing and
trading with the natives.
The effect of this Article was to suspend the navigation laws of
each nation, and to give mutual rights of fishing and trading within
their respective territorial waters on the north-west coast of America,
for the limited period of ten years.
But when this and Article VI are read together, it will be
apparent that it was not Great Britain's, but Russia's, rights in the
territorial waters along the north-west coast, and also in the upper, or
British portions of the territorial Abaters east of the boundary line
of the lisiere, or strip of coast, that were subjected to the time limitation.    And although Great Britain was conceded a similar limited
streams which, in their course towards the Pa
the line of demarcation upon the strip of coa
III." No corresponding perpetual right to i
British portion of such territorial AA-aters. inlan
of the Russian strip of coast, Avas granted by G
And the United States, as the assignee-sovei
the Treaty of 1867, acquired the sovereignty oi
above Article, except in so far as it has since b<
to the United States, in the Treaty of Wash: Alaskan coast :-
Ve have three different stipulations on the part of Russia: one,
ing seas, gulfs, and havens on the Russian coast to British sub-
tor fishing and trading, with the natives); the second, making
Some waiver is also claimed by reason of a certain lease of the
coast and interior country "eastward of a certain supposed line,"
made, in 1839, by the Russian American Company to the Hudson's
Bay Company "for commercial purposes," and in settlement of its
the representative of the British CroAvn, it could not effect the
sovereign, or territorial, rights of Great Britain within the disputed
As to the claim of paper-traced boundary lines, the late Mr. Secretary Bayard has thus discredited them:—
j The line traced on the Coast Survey Map of Alaska, is as evidently
conjectural and theoretical as was the mountain summit traced by
Vancouver. It disregards the mountain topography of the country,
and traces a line on paper about thirty miles distant from the general
contour of the coast, with no salient landmarks or points of latitude
or longitude to determine its position at any point. It is in fact such
a line as it is next to impossible to survey through a mountainous
region, and its actual location there by a surveying commission would
be nearly as much a matter of conjecture as tracing it on paper with
a pair of dividers.
Perhaps much of this passive resistance of the United States to
the urgent appeals and protests of Great Britain and Canada, may be
traced to the old leaven of the political motives of both Russia and the
United States, in arranging the cession of Alaska. In Mr. Ex-Secretary Foster's Century of American Diplomacy, it is stated:—
Russia indicated a willingness [1845 to 1849,] to give us its
American possessions if we would adhere to the claim of 54° 40' on
the Pacific, and exclude Great Britain from that Ocean on the American continent. . . . Mr. Seward stated, soon after the cession was
perfected, that his object in acquiring Alaska was to prevent its
purchase by England, thereby preventing the extension of England's
coast line on the Pacific.
And Senator Sumner, in his speech on the Alaska Treaty before the
Senate, said that the motive of the United States for the acquisition of Alaska might be found in a desire to anticipate the imagined
schemes, or necessities, of Great Britain, as it had been sometimes
said that' Great Britain desired to buy, if Russia would sell.
There is, however, some hope,"that the recent Treaty-Conventions
made between the United States and Great Britain have re-affirmed,
and restored to its original international force, the boundary line of
1825, and thereby freed it of all previous contentions as to waiA'er, or
acquiescence in wrongful occupation of territory, by either nation; and
that the dispute may yet be settled by friendly diplomacy or
By a Treaty-Convention of the 22nd July, 1892, approved by the
Senate on the 25th of the same month, reciting that the United States
and Great Britain—
Being equally desirous to provide for the removal of all possible
cause of difference between their respective Governments in regard
to the delimitation of the boundary line between the United States
and Her Majesty's possessions in North America, in respect to such
portions of the said boundary as may not in fact have been permanently fixed in virtue of the Treaties heretofore concluded,
the Convention proceeds:—
The High Contracting Parties agree that a co-incident or joint
survey (as may in practice be found more convenient), shall be made
of the territory adjacent to that part of the boundary line of the
United States of America and the Dominion of Canada, dividing the
Territory of Alaska from the Province of British Columbia and the
North-West Territory of Canada, from the latitude of 54° 40' north
(Prince of Wales Island), to the point where the said boundary line
encounters the 141st degree of longitude westward from the meridian
of Greenwich (Mount St. Elias), by Commissions to be appointed
severally by the High Contracting Parties, with a view to the
ascertainment of the facts and data necessary to the permanent
delimitation of the said boundary line, in accordance Avith the spirit
and intent of the existing Treaties in regard to it, between Great
Britain and Russia, and between the United States and Russia.
The High Contracting Parties agree that as soon as practicable,
after the Report or Reports of the Commissions shall have been
received, they will proceed to consider and establish the boundary
line in question.
By a subsequent Convention the "above was re-affirmed, and the
time for making the Reports was extended to the 31st December,
1895. The joint Reports were submitted to the respective Governments on that date, but as yet no proceeding to establish the boundary
line has been considered.
These Conventions are new Treaty-compacts between the United
States and Great Britain, adopting and re-affirming the boundary line ted, by the United States, within the disputed territory, down
laimable against Great Britain under any rule of Interna-
s, or waiver of the original Treaty line of 1825, by either
tain or Canada.   And here it may be proper to observe
international offence, and therefore a breach of international good
On the 30th of January, 1897, another Treaty-Convention between
the two Governments was signed for the appointment of Commissioners to make the survey of the 141st degree of west longitude,
Avith a conditional right to deflect slightly, in case the summit of
Mount St. Elias did not lie on the said 141st meridian; but it has not
yet been proclaimed.
Prior to this latter Convention the town of Forty-mile had been
laid out by the United States on the Alaska side, as was supposed, of
the 141st parallel of west longitude. A joint survey, made since this
Convention, proved that the town was locally within Canadian territory; and the United States thereupon conceded that it was "subject
to the jurisdiction and laws of the Dominion."
To give effect to the conciliatory, and almost yearly, efforts of
Great Britain and Canada, High Commissioners were appointed in
1898, inter alia, to establish a boundary line by a friendly adjustment, or to refer the settlement of the disputed boundary line of 1825
to Arbitration. Here unfortunately "diplomatic finesse," with no
result except "damaging and dangerous delay," and indicating "a
grim determination, behind fine phrases of diplomacy, to enforce ex-,
treme demands, if not to consumate extensive spoliation,'' so graphically described by Ex-President Cleveland, became the policy of the
High Commissioners of the United States. Though Great Britain was
entitled by the Treaty-Convention of 1892, to hold the United States
bound by tjieir re-affirmance of the boundary line of 1825, she made
a generous and conciliatory offer to waive, for the advantage of the
United States, the unconditional terms of that Convention, and to
concede to the United States the benefit of the fifty-year occupation. or settlement, conditions, imposed by the United States on Great
Britain in the Venezuelan Arbitration. The British conciliatory offer
was nominally accepted, but was met by a contrecoup, which practically nullified the fifty-year limitation, by proposing,—in an automatic phrase drafted in the chancellerie of diplomatic finesse,—as a
condition of arbitration, that'' all towns and settlements at tide-water,
settled under the authority of the United States, at the date of this
Treaty, shall remain within the Territory of the United States,"—in
effect a realization of Ex-President Cleveland's prediction of "extensive spoliation," and a-reversal of the Forty-mile town case just
referred to.
The proposition may be cited as a sample of the superb daring of
American diplomacy. The most exhaustive eclectic in diplomatic
finesse would vainly search for precedents of a similar contrecoup in
previous diplomatic protocols.
Lord Clarendon once said in a debate on the Oregon question:—•
If the United States did consent to negotiate, it would seem that
it could only be upon the basis that England was unconditionally to'
surrender whatever might be claimed by the United States.
Ex-President Cleveland has aptly illustrated how aggressive occupations of another nation's territory affect international diplomacy:—
An extension of settlements in the disputed territory would necessarily complicate the situation, and furnish a convenient pretext for
the refusal of any concession, respecting the territory containing such
And again:—
It is uncharitable to see, in reference to possession, a hint of the
industrious manner in which [a nation] had attempted to improve its
position by permitting colonization, and other acts of possession, since
the boundary dispute began.
And, in commenting upon a contention that there should be no
arbitration in a late case, because a large part of the disputed territory had been occupied by the subjects of the contending nation, he
said that such a contention may well be suspected of weakness, when its
supporters are unwilling to subject it and their case to the test of an
impartial Arbitration.
The condition in affect proposed that the United States should withdraw from their Treaty-compact of 1892, and that Great Britain should
abandon all the sovereign rights, or territorial claims, and compensation therefor, which, she might be able to establish before the Arbitral
tribunal,  respecting  "towns  and  settlements  at  tide-water  settled [even wrongfully on British territory]  under the authority of the
United States," up to the future date of the proposed Arbitration.
The proposal was entirely inapplicable to the case of tide-water
toAvns or settlements located by the United States along the Pacific
coast, or to those along the tide-water shores of the rivers, or inlets.
Avithin the ten marine leagues' strip of coast, described in the Treaties
of 1825 and 1867. It could only be necessary for determining the
fate of toAvns and settlements located by the United States on the
tide-water shores, or inland waters, on the British side of the Treaty
line; and the High Commissioners, in proposing it, evidently assumed
that International Law would warrant the Arbitrators in deciding
that such towns and settlements had been wrongfully settled by the
United States on British territory. Constructively, it proposed a con- ■
donation of the unlawful occupation of British Territory, and the
violation of British sovereignty by, and a consequent cession, without
compensation, of a portion of the territorial domain of Great Britain
in Canada to, the United States.
The British Commissioners declined to consent to such '' a marked
and important departure from the rules of the Venezuelan Boundary
reference," or "that an effect should be given to the occupation by
the United States of land in British territory, which reason, justice
and the equities of the case do not require." The dona ferentes proposal was thereupon jettisoned; but Arbitration unfortunately
suffered shipwreck, and all that survived was a tabula ex naufragio
of protocol sorrows.
And here it may not be unreasonable to surmise how the United
States would have treated such a proposal, had towns and settlements been located by Canada on the United States side of the Treaty
line; and had Great Britain imposed as a condition of arbitration,
that such violation of United States sovereignty should be condoned,
and that the towns and settlements so wrongfully located, should be
declared to be the territory of Great Britain, without compensation.
The United States have acquired their present great territorial
domain partly by Revolution, and partly by the voluntary gift of
Canadian territory from Great Britain;* by purchase from France.
Spain and Russia; and by conquests from Mexico and Spain. Under
what guileless title should be placed their unsanctioned appropriation
of the Canadian Naboth's vineyard, on the British side of the boundary line?   Perhaps as an American sequel to the Fashoda incident.
*The gift was that part of old French Canada, now the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, comprising about 300,000
square miles of the Canadian territory ceded by France to Great Britain in 1763. For it is now established, beyond question, that during the time Great
Britain and Canada were urgently pressing for an expeditious settlement of the boundary line, and protesting against the irritating
treatment of British settlers on Canadian lands, the United States
were making grants of land and otherwise exercising the powers of
sovereignty, within the disputed territory claimed by Great Britain.
As yet, however, there has been no political claim by the executive or
legislative departments of the United States indicating through
AAdiat named localities, or particular meridians, the boundary line between Alaska and Canada is claimed to run (except as to one locality
named in two legislative Acts of 1900, and 1901), which under a decision of their Supreme Court in 1829, would be binding on their Courts,
although not on the Courts of a disputing government.
If the British contention as to the boundary line shall be, ultimately sustained by International Law, and the judgment of an
Arbitral tribunal, the United States cannot invoke, in support of their
present occupation of what shall be found to have been British territory since 1825, any of the rules of that law which are applicable to
military occupation, by right of war; or to insurgent occupation, by
right of revolution; nor can the doctrine of mistake of title avail, for
the British claim was early known, and had the support of conclusive
American precedents.
Questions affecting the civil status and citizenship of persons born
on, or married, or taking oaths of citizenship, Avithin, such territory;
questions affecting the transfer or descent of property, and affecting
titles to land, or personal property, sold or acquired under judicial
sales, or forfeiture laws; questions affecting the administration of civil and criminal jurisprudence, and the imprisonment or
execution of criminals, and questions affecting the exercise of legislative and delegated powers of sovereignty in official appointments and
the incorporation of municipal and trading corporations, and the laws
affecting the civil rights, and public relations, and land titles, of the
inhabitants of the territory which shall be adjudged to belong to the
British Crown, must arise respecting private rights and titles which
cannot be quieted by any International Treaty, and may lead to prolonged and expensive litigation; and also questions respecting public
grants, and sovereignty, which Great Britain, in view of the continued protests made, and passively slighted, cannot justly confirm.
Citizenship is determined by birth on the soil. The only exception to the universality of this rule was made in the cases of children
born in Oregon during its' joint occupation by the United States and
Great Britain, under the Treaty of 1818.    The Courts held that between 1818 and 1846, children born there of British parents were
British subjects; and that children born there of American parents
. were citizens of the United States.
Executive and Legislative Sovereignty and Judicial power over
territory are incident to the national ownership of the soil, and are
only to be exercised within the territorial limits which circumscribe
the sovereign power from which they are derived. The Supreme
Court of the United States has so decided; and has also furnished precedents affecting the rights of property within a similarly disputed
territory. While Spain was sovereign of Florida, and prior to her
treaty with the United States in 1795, her Government had made
grants of land within a certain disputed territory, which grants were
subsequently impeached. In giving judgment, Chief Justice Mar- ;
shall said:—
There was no cession of territory. The jurisdiction of Spain was
not claimed or occupied by force of arms against an adversary power;
but it was a naked possession under a misapprehension of right. In
such a case, the United States, within whose sovereignty the land was
in fact situated, was not bound to recognize the grants of titles by the
Spanish Government. We think the Treaty settling the boundary.
an unequivocal acknowledgment that the occupation of the territory,
now acknowledged to be United States territory, was wrongful. It
follows that the Spanish grants can, have therefore no intrinsic
And in construing the Treaty by Which Great Britain had ceded
the Floridas to Spain, without any description of boundaries, he
Great Britain could not, without breach of faith, cede to Spain
what she had preAdously acknowledged to be the territory of the
United States. No general words in a Treaty ought to be so construed. We think that Spain ought to have so understood the cession,
and must have so understood it, as being only to the extent that Great
Britain might rightfully cede.
These remarks are equally applicable to the Russian-American
Treaty of 1867, ceding Alaska to the United States.
The same Court has also held that grants made by Spain of lands
in Louisiana, after its cession to France in 1800, but which France
did not impeach or annul during its sovereignty, or prior to the purchase of that Province from France by the United States in 1803,
Avere void; although Spain, during that interval had remained in
undisturbed possession as the de-facto government;—the Court holding that until actual delivery of possession to France, Spain's powers
of sovereignty had ceased, except such as were necessary for the
protection of the social and commercial purposes of the inhabitants. As is stated in Hall's International Law:—-
To infringe the rights of others remains legally wrong, however
slight in some respects may be the moral impropriety of the action.
If a State commits a trespass upon its neighbour's property, which
may, or may not be, morally justified, it violates the law as distinctly,
though not so noxiously, as a neighbour would violate it by making a
track through a neighbour's field to obtain access to a high road.
The moral accountability of the Government of a nation to a
kindred nation necessarily involves the moral duty of imposing a
reasonable restraint on its political actions, and of so acting in its
international relations with such kindred nation as it would reasonably expect such kindred nation to act towards it. President
Woolsey has tersely stated one of the rules: "A State is a moral
person capable of obligations, as well as rights, and no acts of its
own can annihilate its obligations to another.'' And Senator Summer
in supporting the Alaska Treaty of 1867 used words specially pertinent to the Anglo-American Treaty of 1892:—
It is with nations as with individuals: a bargain once made must
be kept. I am satisfied that the dishonour of this Treaty, after what
has passed, would be a serious responsibility for our country. As an
international question our act would be tried by the public opinion of
the world.
These principles of national responsibility logically affirm the
general rule that the Government of a nation is morally bound by
the national honour of its sovereignty not to aggressively occupy
territory the title to which is disputed, with some shoAA' of Treaty
right, by another nation. A passive resistance to, or a positive
refusal of, a reference of the disputed claim to what Ex-President
Cleveland designates as "the honourable rest and justice found in
Arbitration,—the refuge which civilization has builded for the nations
of the earth, and from which the ministries of peace issue their
decrees," would warrant the judgment of the tribunal of nations
that the government so resisting, or refusing, was attempting a dejiial
of international justice, and was thereby degrading its national
From the foregoing it is clear that the Congress and Statesmen
of the United States have incurred a grave international responsibility
by their passive resistance to the urgent efforts of Great Britain and
Canada since 1872, to agree upon a fair adjustment of this boundary
dispute, and the ignoring of which fair adjustment, from session to
session, has given Canadians, as one of their leading newspapers admits,
"a just right to complain." Some writers in the United States advise against submitting the
boundary dispute to Arbitration, because the United States "have
nothing to gain and everything to lose;" others because "an adverse
decision would greatly lessen for the United States the present and
the future value of the Alaska lisiere"—a morality which may be
illustrated by the maxim, nous avons l'avantage profitons en. And a
Avriter in an.English periodical, whose notions of international justice
seem equally tainted, has said:—
_ In asking America to submit the whole question to arbitration,
Avith evenly balanced chances of success or failure, we are asking her
to take chances which no democratic Government can afford to take.
One fair inference from these avowals is that international justice and national rectitude are alien principles of action to democratic
Governments. Another logical sequence is that a democratic Government may be the party litigant before itself, as judge and jury, and
on its OAvn view of its one-sided and untested evidence, may adjudicate
against the territorial rights of an mawarned, because a monarchial,
though friendly, Government. The mere mention of such inferences
should ensure their universal repudiation; for the people of the
United States have not, even in their demagogic outbursts against
England, lapsed from the principles of international justice and
national rectitude which form the warp and web of their political
responsibility to other nations, and which have long been consecrated
by the homage rendered to Christian ethics in their churches, and
enforced by the teachings of moral and political science in their
Enough has been shewn—by the facts adduced, the doctrines of
International law illustrated, the legal difficulties foreshadowed, the
discordant interpretations of the Treaty of 1825, the implied admission of the violation of British sovereignty in the proposed condition
for Arbitration, and the ever pre§enfe-faet- that -for nearly thirty-six
years neither the -United States nor Great Britain can, without the
possibility of future challenge, enforce laws, or quiet rights of property, or indicate to their citizens, or subjects, the actual localities
where the territorial sovereignty over Alaska ends, and that over
Canada begins, within the Disputed Territory,—to convince all fair-
minded Statesmen that both nations, in loyality to the principles of
international justice, and national rectitude, and for the profitable
and safe pursuit of the commercial enterprises of the inhabitants,
and the industrious development of the natural resources of this
disputed territory, should agree upon some means of obtaining a final
settlement, by the reference of this International Boundary Dispute, f
to a just and impartial Arbitration, and thereby get rid of the
international dislocation, and legal chaos, which overshadow the
political rights and business interests of the inhabitants.
In the Behring Sea case the United States conclusively shewed
that "there is an International Law by which every controversy
between nations may be adjudged and determined;" that its rules
are moral rules, dictated by the general standard of natural justice,
upon which all civilized nations are agreed; and that,—though there
are differences in the moral instincts, or convictions, of people of
different nations, and no enactments in the ordinary sense of the
term, for all members of the society of nations, nor indeed regulating
the larger part of the affairs of ordinary life,—there are always
existing laws by which every controversy, national or individual,
may be determined.
The United States have made themselves the champions of, and
have declared their national faith in, "the honourable rest and justice found in International Arbitration." Their Congr.ess.has invited
negotiations from "any government with which the United States
has, or may have, diplomatic relations, to the end that any differences,
or disputes, arising between their two governments which cannot be
adjusted by diplomatic agency, may be referred to Arbitration, and
be peaceably adjusted by such means.'' Great Britain has responded
that "Her Majesty's Government will lend their ready co-operation
to the Government of the United States upon the basis of the foregoing invitation.'' At the Hague Peace Conference they Dledged their
nation "to use their best efforts to secure a pacific settlement of International differences;'' and joined with Great Britain and other nations
in affirming that, "In questions of a legal nature, and especially in
the interpretation of International Conventions, Arbitration is
recognized by the Signatory Powers as the most effective, and at the
same time the most equitable, means of settling disputes which
Diplomacy has failed to settle.'' Diplomacy has failed to settle this
boundary controversy, because it proposed what Ex-President
Cleveland has denounced in another case as "extensive spoliation."
After urging Great Britain into Arbitration over the Alabama
claims, and the Behring Sea fisheries; and especially after driving
her into Arbitration over the Venezuelan Boundary Dispute (which
in no way affected their territorial or national interests), will the
United States now refuse to be faithful to their OAvn precedents or to
give effect to their compact with Great Britain and kindred nations,
as expressed in the Hague Peace Convention?    


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