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to give any assurance of an intention to prevent a repetition of such outrages in future.” And secondly, “The barter of the rights of fishing on their own waters, for a period of ten years, in consideration of a possible money payment to be afterwards estimated, in diametrical opposition to their oft expressed desire.”
The opposition on these two grounds was so formidable, that, as the correspondence informs us, the Canadian Ministers thought it hopeless to submit the Treaty for the ratification of the Canadian Parliament, unless something was offered in the way of composition, or equivalent for the sacrifices to be made. And this brings us to, perhaps, the most humiliating feature in the whole of this wretched business. The Canadian people were to be bribed to surrender their rights; and the bribe offered them turns out to be in the shape of a guarrantee of a loan of £2,500,000 towards the cost of constructing a railway to the Pacific, and enlarging the St. Lawrence canals, towards which the American Commissioners refused to contribute. We say that this bribe has been offered by the Home Government, and that it has beert accepted in principle by our colonial brethren. But there are certain conditions of uncertainty still attaching to the bargain, of a sort inseparable from all irregular transactions, in which the executive pretends to exceed its legitimate functions; or, at any rate, to anticipate and pre-suppose the future sanction of Parliament, to arrangements upon which it has not been consulted, but which cannot be carried out
without its consent. It is demanded that Canada shall make the first move, by accepting the Treaty; which done, the Home Government undertake to recommend Parliament to give them the necessary authority to carry out the contemplated guarantee. But suppose the House of Commons should hesitate, as they did in the case of the Turkish loan in 1855, to pass the necessary vote? We should, of course, hear from perplexed Ministers the usual appeals on the ground of national faith, and so forth; and eventually, in all probability, though with reluct
House would find itself compelled to grant a discreditable bribe, as the price of securing an ignoble and mischievous Treaty.
By the latest accounts from Canada, it appears that, after a persuasive speech from Sir John Macdonald, the Attorney General, and one of the Joint High Commissioners, in which he urged the humili. ating suggestion that the Canadian colonies were the cause of great anxiety and weakness to the mother country, and that some concession should be made to lighten the burthen, the Bill was passed for giving effect to the Treaty of Washington, so far as the Dominion' is concerned, on the 17th May. Should the Treaty fail in other points, however, this legislative action will, we presume, prove of. none effect.
THE NORTH-WESTERN BOUNDARY QUESTION. The question of fixing the water line, forming part of the North-Western Boundary between the United States and the British Colonies, although it has been almost overlooked in the midst of more ex
citing contentions, was one of the most important,perhaps, as regards the Sovereign interests at stake, the most important of all the matters referred for negociation to the Joint High Commission. The defence of the national territory has in all ages been the object of the most jealous solicitude with independent peoples; and the Scriptures denounce a curse against him who removeth his neighbour's landmark. There is no matter upon which the Sovereign
. of a state should be more jealously solicitious than in defending the boundaries, and protecting the property and homes of his subjects. It is to be mentioned with regret, however, that as regards the British Colonies in North America the Government has shown itself, during nearly a century, very neglectful, or very inadequate to the occasion in this essential particular; whilst the United States have displayed an energy and a determination to maintain against us to the utmost limits, their territorial boundaries. We are sorry to find Professor Bernard, one of the British High Commissioners, speaking, in the course of his recent lecture at Oxford, in a flippant and unseemly tone upon this subject, which shows that he was very
indifferently aware of the sacred nature of the trust reposed in him in this matter on his recent diplomatic mission. He remarks: “ It must be said I think of the Americans that they have a passion for territory. The acquisition of it has always been pleasing to them, and vast as is the extent of their actual undisputed dominion, the cossion of a square mile of land to which the Repnblic has been believed to have any claim is always pain
ful.” Considering the grand uses to which each acquisition of land has been put by the United States, in the spread and multiplication of industrious populations, the diffusion of civilization, and the accumulation of material wealth, we are not to be surprised at this tendency and purpose. But there is this consideration, besides, that in defending every square mile of territory to which they consider that they can make claim, they also defend the persons of those who occupy it, and so increase the number of the citizens of the great Federation. Great Britain, on the other hand, too little regardful of the value of the lands themselves, and much less so of what was due to her enterprizing sons who had occupied them, with every surrender of territory has severed from her rule and protection worthy men, who would gladly have retained their connection with the mother country.
It is almost impossible to realize the position in regard to the North-Western Boundary Case, now the immediate subject in dispute, and the conduct of the negociations in connection with it, without taking a glance at the earlier question of the Maine Boundary, which was the subject of a discreditable Treaty some thirty years ago, but of which an off-shoot yet remains to be settled, as we shall presently see. This little affair of the Maine Boundary, dates back to the year 1783, when it was stipulated in the Treaty of Versailles, as respects a portion of the boundary line between the mother country and the newly enfranchised States, that it should run eastward from the Rocky Mountains by a line to be drawn along the middle of the River St.
Croix, from its mouth in the Bay of Fundy to its source, and from its source directly north to certain highlands which divide the rivers falling into the Atlantic from those falling into the River St. Lawrence. No steps were taken effectually to lay down this theoretical boundary, until the attention of the two Governments was called to the subject, about the time of the Congress at Ghent, in 1814, by which time the country in the neighbourhood of the sources of the St. Croix had been considerably occupied, and as such had become a disputed territory between the two nations. It was then agreed that a Joint Commission should be appointed to fix the boundary line as described by the Treaty of 1783 : but the Commissioners could come to no agreement on the important point as to which was the head of the River St. Croix ; Great Britain claiming a Western, and the United States an Eastern arm. The result was to refer the point to arbitration, which was decided against us; though many think erroneously so. Then came a new difficulty, as to the mysterious highlands, dividing the rivers which fall into the Atlantic and the St. Lawrence respectively. Great Britain claimed a point situated in latitude 46 degrees 40 seconds, the Americans wanted to go further north, as far as the 48th parallel. Again an arbitration; the King of the Netherlands being appointed judge. So hopelessly incomprehensible, however, were the conditions of
aty, that the King of the Netherlands could make nothing of them, and rejecting both the British and the American lines proposed another line as a compro