Imágenes de página

Ashes, indispensable in our bleaching and soap manufactories, can be yielded in any quantities. Shumac, used for dying, can be furnished in abundance; flax-seed, for which the staple of Ireland is now dependant on the United States, Holland, and the Baltic, might be raised and exported to great advantage ;--and great quantities of oil and blubber might be imported from them, if admitted to entry at the same rate of duty, as the oil and blubber from Newfoundland.

A loyal population, increasing in numbers, and diffusing itself over the millions of yet uncleared and uncultivated acres, which yield in fertility, and convenience of site, to no part of the United States, has proved, that Canada has resources within itself, stamina of sturdy prosperity, that need but the fostering aid of the mother country, and her parental protection, to establish an influence on the continent of North America, spreading even in time to the Pacific, and trading from the shores of that ocean with the rich regions of the East.

That we may not again return into a course that has been productive of so much embarrassment, vexation, and injury to our interests; that we may not in future blindly commit ourselves by treaties, which may be the overflowing sources of contention; in. short, that we may not evince hereafter a total ignorance either of the rights or of the boundaries of the two nations, the oversights in our former negociations will be pointed out, and an endeavour made to suggest remedies for such causes of dissention in future.

In concluding a treaty of peace with the United States, not only ought the main feature of the war, the inviolate maintenance of our maritime rights, to be kept in view; but the scarcely less important object, the preservation of the British North American colonies, ought not to be overlooked. To secure this last it is requisite to advert to one grand point, the necessity of the establishment of a new line of boundary, between the British and the American possessions, and to several subordinate objects, which will be noticed in this tract.

Posterity will scarcely believe, though history must attest the mortifying truth, that in acceding to the independence of the States of America, their territory was not merely allowed to them; but

an extent of country, then a portion of the province of Quebec, nearly of equal magnitude to the thirteen provinces or states, which then composed the Union, was ceded to them, though not a foot of the country so ceded was, or could be, at the time, occupied by an American in arms : and this cession is the more remarkable, as, New York and Rhode Island being then in possession of the British army, the surrender of these valuable posts seemed, on the contrary, to require a large equivalent elsewhere, instead of giving, as it were, a premium for getting rid of them.

Yet such was the ignorance of the then minister of Great Britain, and those whom he employed, in regard to the geographical position and local importance of the territory ceded, that when the merchants of London, interested in the Canada trade, waited on Mr. Oswald, the negociator, to represent the impolitic and improvident cession of the upper country, and the posts commanding the same, viz. Michilimachinak, Detroit, Niagara, Presqu'isle, Scholosser, Oswego, and Oswegatchie, &c. and to endeavour to discover, whether some means could not be devised for averting the destructive consequences which might ensue to the inhabitants of Canada, and to the British trade and influence with the Indians, he literally burst into tears, and acknowledged his complete ignorance of such posts being in our possession, and of the country given away being an object in any respect worthy of notice. · Unfortunately, it was too late to retrieve the error, and deeply did British interests and influence suffer in consequence. But its mischievous effects were not solely confined to British subjects: they fell also upon a body of men, whose interests the British negociator had no authority or right to compromise. The ceded country was inhabited by numerous tribes and nations of Indians, who were independent both of us and of the Americans. They were the real proprietors of the land, and we had no right to transfer to others what did not belong to ourselves. This injustice was greatly aggravated by the consideration, that those aboriginal nations had been our faithful allies during the whole of the contest, and yet no stipulation was made in their favor.

Immediately after the treaty of 1789, the American government shamefully evaded or infringed the stipulations respecting the loyal

ists, and British debts, in consequence of which the before-mentioned upper posts were retained as a pledge till the due performance of those articles. Many years after, when appearances indicated that these posts would be surrendered to America, the merchants of Montreal, who were principally concerned in the Indian trade, preferred representations, in which the impolicy of the cession was exposed, and every effort made to procure a new line of boundary or demarcation, compatible with the security of Canada, and the protection of the Indians, but without effect, ás, by Mr. Jay's treaty of 1794, the said posts were agreed to be delivered up on or before the 1st of June, 1796; and the only provision obtained respecting the Indians, was a right of trade from Cabada with them, on the same footing as the Americans, and which had been suggested in those representations as an alternative desirable only in the event of a new line not being procurable. The posts were accordingly given up: but the encroaching character of the Americans was here again manifested, for, notwithstanding the positive stipulations of that treaty, so little regard was paid by the American government to their plighted faith, that by a treaty between the United States and the Indians, concluded at Fort Greenville on the 3d of August, 1795, an article was forced upon the Indians, by which they engaged that no trader should reside at any Indian town or hunting camp, without a license under the authority of the United States."

To remedy this direct breach of the treaty of 1794, an explanatory article was concluded at Philadelphia, on the 4th of May, 1796, between Mr. Bond and Mr. Pickering, on the part of their respective governments. But the evil was merely shifted, not removed. British traders were assailed and harassed in various ways, even passes were enforced, notwithstanding the stipulations of the treaty of 1794, extortions were practised in the duties required to be paid, and wherever any flaw could be discovered, or there was room for any unnatural interpretation, the British were sure to be the sufferers.

In spite of these vexations, the British traders persevered, and

· See the Travels of Pike, Lewis, and Clark.

continued to participate in the Indian commerce, contributing, thus, eminently to preserve to the British nation that attachment of the natives, which recent experience has proved to be of signal inportance to the security of Canada. On the other hand the Ainerican government was pursuing an unrelenting and systematic plan, for despoiling the Indians of their lands, by every species of injustice; and it carried on this plan with such deliberate zeal, that the natives became finally convinced, that their extermination was the real object of that government and its rapacious land-jobbers. To give, therefore, security, and permanency, not only to our boundary line, but to that of our faithful Indian allies, is a most necessary and important point. . The boundary line, as supposed to be fixed in 1783, betrays, at its commencement, in its course, and at its termination, the greatest ignorance of the geography, and of the natural features and utilities of the vast regions through which it runs. · The framers of that treaty, on the part of Great Britain, instead of insisting, according to their instructions, on the river Penobscot being the boundary between New Brunswick and the United States, abandoned that point, and allowed the line to be carried as far as the river St. Croix, giving up an extent of sea coast of nearly fifty leagues, though the Penobscot was the utmost northern point to which the limits of the New England States were before supposed to extend. At the same time the mouth of the St. Croix was uncertain, nor was it settled till 1798 what river was exactly meant by that name.

This river falls into Passamaquoddy Bay, part of the Bay of Fundy, in the latitude of 45° 5' north; and American encroachment has been at work here also, and surreptitious possession has been obtained, by the State of Massachusetts, of three islands in Passamaquoddy Bay, which are of considerable importance to the security and to the trade of the adjacent parts of New Brunswick. These islands, which are the Moose, Dudley, and Frederic, being at the time, and previous to the conclusion of the treaty, of 1783, part of Nova Scotia, come undeniably within the exception made in the treaty, by which the American territory was allowed to comprehend all islands within twenty leagues of the United States, « excepting such as now are, or heretofore have been, within the limits of the said province of Nova Scotia.”

The line then runs up the river St. Croix to its source, and thence in a southerly direction along the height of land from which that river flows, till it strikes the forty-fifth degree of north latitude. And here, again, the ignorance or inattention of the framers of the treaty to the locality and courses of the river, has produced the monstrous absurdity, that there is actually no readily practicable communication between Lower Canada and New Brunswick, without crossing a part of the American territory, now called the province of Maine.

It then proceeds westward along the forty-fifth degree of latitude, till it reaches the St. Lawrence, cutting off, in a most artificial and unnatural manner, the water communications of Lake Champlain and Lake George, with the St. Lawrence; thence along the middle of the St. Lawrence into Lake Ontario, through the water communication between it and Lake Erie, through the . middle of Lake Erie to the water communication with Lake Huron, through that, and then across Lake Huron in a northerly direction, and through the straits of St. Mary into Lake Superior.

That no geographical blunders took place in the drawing of this extensive line from the St. Lawrence to Lake Superior, may be ascribed to the plain direct course, which did not admit of ignorance or inattention deviating either to the right or the left. But the line is thenceforward described to extend through Lake Superior northward to the isles Royal and Philippeaux, to the Long Lake, and the water conmunication between it and the Lake of the Woods ; thence through that lake to the northernmost point thereof, and thence in a due line west to the river Missisippi.

Now there is no water communication at all between Lake Superior and the Lake of the Wouds. A height of land intervenes between them, from which the water flows in north-westerly and south-easterly directions. The line presumed to be meant by these accurate negociators, is that along which the north-eastern fur trade is conducted. There is a small river flowing into Lake Superior, which it is necessary to ascend in canoes, landing frequently at carrying places, to avoid rapids and falls, which are numerous in this

« AnteriorContinuar »