« iepriekšējāTurpināt »
arbitration, provided the question should be limited to determine whether the line should run through the Haro Channel or through the Rosario Straits. We have here the clue to their repudiation of the Treaty of 1869, which stipulated, that "if the referee should be unable to ascertain, and determine the precise line intended by the words of the Treaty, it should be left to him to determine upon some line which, in his opinion, will provide an equitable solution of the difficulty, and will be the nearest approximation that can be made to an accurate construction of the words of the Treaty." The British Commissioners then proposed that "the Arbitrators should have the right to draw the boundary through an intermediate Channel." The American Commissioners declined this proposal, and also one" that it should be declared to be," the proper construction of the Treaty of 1846, "that all the Channels were to be open to navigation by both parties." In short, the American Commissioners had it all their own way, and Article 34 of the Treaty, after reciting the pretensions of the United States and of Great Britain as to the Haro Channel and the Rosario Straits respectively, agrees that the said respective claims "shall be submitted to the arbitration and award of his Majesty the Emperor of Germany, who, having regard to the Article of the Treaty of 1846, shall decide thereupon, finally, and without appeal, which of those claims is most in accordance with the true interpretation of the Treaty of June 15th, 1846."
Not to urge any objections on principle, the adop
tion of arbitration in such a vital matter as the present, involving the actual sovereign rights of the country over a part of its territory, and imperilling the remainder, the terms of reference are open to great objection. The boundary as originally described in 1846 being, strictly speaking, impossible, it appears equally true that neither of the alternative lines suggested by the opposite parties is the "line most in accordance with the terms of the Treaty," both being far removed from the centre of the suppositious channel between the continent and Vancouver's Island. It would have been reasonable, therefore, that the whole question of selecting the channel "most in accordance" with the Treaty, whether "the middle channel," known as the Douglas channel, or any other, should have been left to the arbitrator. Indeed so palpably inconsistent with the spirit and intention of the Treaty of 1846, is the restriction to two alternative lines, that the arbitrator might, as we consider, feel himself justified in declining to decide between them, "having regard to the Article " of the Treaty in question. Again the refusal of the American Commissioners of the proposal on our part that "all the channels should be open to the navigation of both parties," is obviously at variance with the terms of the Treaty of 1846; and taken in connection with all the other circumstances of the case, justifies most serious apprehensions as to the ulterior objects which the United States may have in view in this matter. There is one consolation, however, in the consideration that, with all their cunning and obduracy, our opponents have not in
terms abrogated the provisions of the '46 Treaty in this particular. The arbitration only goes to settle the line which is to mark the boundary; and the stipulation that "the navigation of the whole of the said St. George's Channel and Straits [of Fuca] south of the 49th parallel of north latitude remains free and open to both parties" cannot be held to be in any way disturbed. In fact, our Commissioners need not have mooted the question, and the answer they received amounts to nothing.
THE TREATY CONDEMNED.
THE Conclusion we feel compelled, though with much reluctance, to arrive at in regard to the Treaty of Washington, of 1871, by denouncing it as the most mischievous, and humiliating that was ever signed by a Minister of this country. Its errors appear in every line, and are such as would operate to the disadvantage of ourselves, and others dependent upon us, in various ways at present little dreamed of. The frantic outcry which has been raised throughout the length and breadth of the land against the demand for "indirect damages," under "what are generically known as the Alabama claims," and which a heated fancy had conjured up to dimensions to be measured by hundreds of millions sterling, has hitherto diverted attention from the other provisions of the Treaty, which do not come for arbitration before the Tribunal at Geneva; and all the power of red tape has. been used to avert that dreadful money involve-
ment, as the only impediment in the way of realising the dispositions of a Treaty considered to be, in all other respects, creditable and mutually advantageous. Delusive vision! The rights of our colonial dependencies, in the fisheries, and the navigation of their waters, have been ruthlessly sacrificed, their just claims for compensation for outrages committed in the Fenian raids, have been unblushingly set aside, but-not abandoned; nay, more, the very strategic security of our North American possessions themselves, as involved in the North-Western Boundary question, has been put into the possibility of peril by being referred to arbitration. Add to this, the humiliating apology, or "expression of regret" for the escape of the Alabama cruisers, "from whatever cause; "the "new rules," imposing intolerable responsibilities upon neutrals, which the United States insist upon "straining" to an extent which must tend to render neutrality more onerous than War itself, by putting neutrals to the responsibility and cost of "keeping the ring" for others to fight in, and eventually, perhaps, calling upon them, under one pretence or another, to pay all the cost of the war; and we think there has been shown enough to make us thankful if, whatever the consequences, we may be saved from the operation of so iniquitous and suicidal an instrument.
WOULD FAILURE OF ONE PART OF THE TREATY AFFECT THE WHOLE?
THE question has naturally occurred, in the course
of these proceedings, whether the breaking down of one part of the Treaty-as, for instance, the reference to arbitration of the Alabama Claimswould destroy the whole. It has been argued by the Government, and some of the leading organs of public opinion that such would not be the case; that the Treaty, being put together like an iron ship, in separate compartments, one may fail, yet the ship survive. We are inclined, however, to hold a different opinion. The preamble of the Treaty states that it is intended "to provide for an amicable settlement of all causes of difference between the countries," and there is no doubt that its various parts were framed with a view to a complete result; mutual—or shall we not rather say, one-sided sacrifices being made upon one point or another, in order to attain the one great object of arriving at a settlement of the whole mass of questions in dispute. On general principles it could not be allowed, that a power having signed a treaty concerning many distinct matters, should be at liberty afterwards to adhere to certain portions of the treaty, which it might consider conducive to its interests, and to repudiate the rest. Moreover, the repudiation of any portion of a treaty is ipso facto a casus belli, which, being acted upon, would destroy the whole treaty. In support of the opposite view of the case the Treaty of Vienna has been referred to, and it has been argued in an influential daily paper, that because the separation of Belgium from the Netherlands, contrary to part of the provisions of that treaty, was not held to destroy the