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It has long been known that the coast of this part of Alaska is extremely broken, containing many fiords extending far inland, and that no continuous range of mountains parallels the coast. It was for many years tacitly admitted by both sides that the second alternative of the treaty, that the boundary should follow a line 10 marine leagues distant from the coast and following its windings, should be the one finally adopted when the question of marking the boundary arose. This position was taken by the United States and consistently followed from the time of the acquisition of the territory to the present. All maps, United States and Canadian, agreed on it. Many acts of sovereignty were performed by the United States within this territory, no question being raised by the Canadian authorities, and the claim of the United States to a strip of territory 10 marine leagues in width from the main coast was universally admitted by the Canadian authorities. The discovery of gold in the basin of the Yukon, in Canada, and the fact that the only feasible means of access to this region lay through United States territory, made it extremely desirable for Canada to possess a port or ports on this coast as the starting points of routes to the Yukon mines, and it was only when this necessity appeared that any question arose concerning the interpretation of the definition of limits in the treaty.
The claim made by the British Government, before a joint commission on the boundary, on behalf of Canada, in August, 1898, was that this portion of the boundary, instead of passing up Portland Canal, should pass up Pearse Canal, connecting with Portland Canal, up which it follows to the summit of the mountains nearest to the coast, and then should follow them, regardless of the fact that they do not form a continuous range, crossing all the inlets of the sea up to Mount St. Elias. This, of course, was refused by the United States commissioners. A proposition made by the British commissioners to refer the matter to arbitration was also refused by the United States commissioners, on the ground that there was nothing to arbitrate, since the territory in question was in the possession of the United States, and had been for many years without dispute, such possession being in full accord with the terms of the treaty. The commission was then dissolved, the only outcome being an agreement that the summits of White and Chilkoot passes and a point upon the Chilkat, above Pyramid Harbor, were temporarily adopted as points upon the boundary.
The treaty of January 24, 1903, created an Alaskan Boundary Tribunal, to consist of "six impartial jurists of repute," three to be selected by each of the two parties to the controversy, to attempt a settlement of this boundary question. The United States was represented by Messrs. Elihu Root, Henry Cabot Lodge, and George Turner. The Canadian side was represented by Baron Alverstone, lord chief justice of England, Sir Louis A. Jetté, and A. B. Aylesworth, of
Canada. After argument and discussion the majority of the tribunal, consisting of Baron Alverstone and the three Americans, agreed on a boundary which satisfied the American claims. The boundary thus adopted may be defined as follows: Its commencement is at Cape Muzon. Then it crosses in a straight line to the mouth of Portland Channel, this entrance being to the west of Wales Island, and thence passes up the channel to the north of Wales and Pearse islands, to the fifty-sixth parallel of latitude. Thence the line runs from one mountain summit to another, as shown on the accompanying map (Pl. XV), passing above the heads of all fiords. At the head of Lynn Canal it traverses White and Chilkoot passes. Then by a crooked southwesterly course it reaches Mount Fairweather, and thence follows the higher mountains around Yakutat Bay to Mount St. Elias. It can be clearly described only by a map.
The Republic of Hawaii, comprising eight inhabited and seven uninhabited islands in the Pacific, voluntarily joined the United States in 1898.
PORTO RICO, GUAM, AND PHILIPPINE ISLANDS.
The next accessions of territory made by the United States were the islands taken from Spain following the war of 1898. These were relinquished to the United States by the treaty of peace of December 10, 1898. They were as follows:
Porto Rico and other Spanish West India islands which were ceded to the United States.
The island of Guam, in the Ladrones.
The Philippine Islands, which comprise all the islands lying within the following line, as defined in the words of the treaty:
A line running from west to east along or near the twentieth parallel of north latitude, and through the middle of the navigable channel of Bachi, from the one hundred and eighteenth (118th) to the one hundred and twenty-seventh (127th) degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich; thence along the one hundred and twenty-seventh (127th) degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich to the parallel of four degrees and forty-five minutes (4° 45′) north latitude; thence along the parallel of four degrees and forty-five minutes (4° 45′) north latitude to its intersection with the meridian of longitude one hundred and nineteen degrees and thirtyfive minutes (119° 35′) east of Greenwich; thence along the meridian of longitude one hundred and nineteen degrees and thirty-five minutes (119° 35′) east of Greenwich to the parallel of latitude seven degrees and forty minutes (7° 40′) north; thence along the paralled of latitude seven degrees and forty minutes (7° 40′) north to its intersection with the one hundred and sixteenth (116th) degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich; thence by a direct line to the intersection of the tenth (10th) degree parallel of north latitude with the one hundred and eighteenth (118th) degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich; and thence along the one hundred and eighteenth (118th) degree meridian of longitude east of Greenwich to the point of beginning.
For the Philippines the sum of $20,000,000 was paid by the United States to Spain.
Subsequently the United States purchased of Spain, for the sum of $100,000, a small group of islands lying north of Borneo, known as Cagayan Jolo, which, though a part of the Philippine Archipelago, was omitted by mistake in drawing the limits of the Philippines in the treaty.
For several years the United States, Great Britain, and Germany exercised a joint protectorate over the Samoas. For various reasons it was deemed best to bring this situation to an end. England withdrew and the islands were divided between Germany and the United States, the latter country taking Tutuila and the other small islands of that group lying east of longitude 171° west of Greenwich and the German flag being hoisted over the remaining islands of the group. This adjustment was reached February 16, 1900.
THE PUBLIC DOMAIN AND AN OUTLINE OF THE HISTORY OF CHANGES MADE THEREIN.
CESSIONS BY THE STATES.
At the time the Constitution was adopted by the original thirteen States, many of them possessed unoccupied territory, in some cases entirely detached and lying west of the Appalachian Mountains. Thus, Georgia included the territory from its present eastern limits westward to the Mississippi River. North Carolina possessed a narrow strip extending from latitude 35° to 36° 30′, approximately, and running westward to the Mississippi, including besides its own present area that of the present State of Tennessee. In like manner, Virginia possessed what is now Kentucky, while a number of States, as Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, laid claim to areas in what was afterwards known as the Territory Northwest of the River Ohio, a region which is now comprised mainly in the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. These claims were to a greater or less extent conflicting. In some cases several States claimed authority over the same area, while the boundary lines were in most cases very ill-defined. The ownership of these western lands by individual States was opposed by those States which did not share in their possession, mainly on the ground that the resources of the General Government, to which all contributed, should not be taxed for the protection and development of this region, while its advantages would inure to the benefit of but a favored few. On this ground several of the States refused to ratify the Constitution until this matter had been settled by the cession of these tracts to the General Government.
Moved by these arguments, as well as by the consideration of the conflicting character of the claims, which must inevitably lead to trouble among the States, Congress passed, on October 30, 1779, the following act:
Whereas the appropriation of the vacant lands by the several States during the present war will, in the opinion of Congress, be attended with great mischiefs: Therefore,
Resolved, That it be earnestly recommended to the State of Virginia to reconsider their late act of assembly for opening their land office; and that it be recommended to the said State, and all other States similarly circumstanced, to forbear settling or issuing warrants for unappropriated lands, or granting the same during the continuance of the present war.
This resolution was transmitted to the different States. The first to respond to it by the transfer of her territory to the General Government was New York, whose example was followed by the other States. The cessions were made on the dates given below:
New York, March 1, 1781.
Massachusetts, April 19, 1785.
Connecticut, September 13, 1786.
The Connecticut act of cession reserved an area in the northeastern part of Ohio, known as the Western Reserve. On May 30, 1800, Connecticut gave to the United States jurisdiction over this area, but without giving up its property rights in it.
South Carolina, August 9, 1787.
North Carolina, February 25, 1790.
The following paragraph from the deed of cession by New York defines the limits of its cession to the General Government:
Now, therefore, know ye, that we, the said James Duane, William Floid, and Alexander M'Dougall, by virtue of the power and authority, and in the execution of the trust reposed in us, as aforesaid, have judged it expedient to limit and restrict, and we do, by these presents, for and in behalf of the said State of New York, limit and restrict the boundaries of the said State in the western parts thereof, with respect to the jurisdiction, as well as the right or pre-emption of soil, by the lines and in the form following, that is to say: A line from the northeast corner of the State of Pennsylvania, along the north bounds thereof to its northwest corner, continued due west until it shall be intersected by a meridian line to be drawn from the forty-fifth degree of north latitude, through the most westerly bent or inclination of Lake Ontario; thence by the said meridian line to the forty-fifth degree of north latitude; and thence by the said forty-fifth degree of north latitude; but, if on experiment, the above-described meridian line shall not comprehend twenty miles due west from the most westerly bent or inclination of the river or strait of Niagara, then we do, by these presents, in the name of the people, and for and on behalf of the State of New York, and by virtue of the authority aforesaid, limit and restrict the boundaries of the said State in the western parts thereof, with respect to jurisdiction, as well as the right of pre-emption of soil, by the lines and in the manner following, that is to say: A line from the northeast corner of the State of Pennsylvania, along the north bounds thereof, to its northwest corner continued due west until it shall be intersected by a meridian line, to be drawn from the forty-fifth degree of north latitude, through a point twenty miles due west from the most westerly bent or inclination of the river or strait Niagara; thence by the said meridian line to the forty-fifth degree of north latitude, and thence by the said forty-fifth degree of north latitude.
The deed of cession by Virginia gives no limits, further than to specify that the lands transferred include only those lying northwest of the river Ohio.
The following paragraph from the deed of cession by Massachusetts gives the limits of the area ceded:
* * * We do by these presents assign, transfer, quitclaim, cede, and convey to the United States of America, for their benefit, Massachusetts inclusive, all right,