« AnkstesnisTęsti »
undertake to decide the question in dispute, before the reference is made, nor refuse to have the contention put forward by us and by them, submitted to a competent and impartial tribunal, for adjudication.
If, in the opinion of your Government, your contention is well founded, and if they believe it best comports with the terms of the Convention of 1825, it will be enabled to establish that fact before an International Tribunal, and if such a tribunal agrees with your contention, we must bow to its decision; but should it be found that our contention is well founded, the Government of the United States ought to be equally ready to acquiesce. There is neither reason nor justice, in suggesting a reference of a matter, upon which we cannot agree to a tribunal, that is not permitted to consider the whole question, and to locate the boundary in conformity with the terms of the Convention of 1825.
As I understand the protocols upon this subject, they show that we contend that the boundary line, as set out in the convention, crosses the Lynn Inlet not far from the ocean, being drawn from the crest of the mountains on one side, to the crest of the mountains on the opposite side. The Government of the United States dissents from this view and maintains the boundary passes round the head of the inlet. Now what efforts do the protocols show, were made to reach a solution? We were of opinion that there were two ways in which this difference might be amicably adjusted-by a compromise, or by reference to a properly constituted tribunal. We offered to compromise. We contended that Dyea and Skagway are built in Canadian territory. They are the natural seaports from which sea access, at the present time, can be had into our Yukon country,
part with the concessions which your Government is willing to make. What was it? Nothing beyond this, that they would grant to us the liberty to build a highway in a territory behind the coast range of mountains, beyond which under the convention you have no right to go, upon condition, that we admitted, that the harbour from which we started, and the country through which our road ran, was under the sovereignty of the United States. I ask your people to compare the two concessions, and let them candidly say, which of us is most open to the charge of being unreasonably obstinate. We are most desirous of a fair settlement. The people of the United States are our neighbours, and we are theirs. It is to the advantage of both countries that a feeling of friendship and mutual good-will should prevail amongst the people of each towards the other, but this most desirable object is not promoted by one country appropriating to itself the territory which rightfully belongs to the other.
I have referred to the question of boundary at the Lynn Inlet, which is the place most prominently brought forward in the controversy, but in order to understand the treaty, and the proper location of the limitary line, separating the American territory acquired from Russia from this country, it is necessary to give some attention to the historical circumstances out of which that treaty grew. Before the treaty was negotiated between Great Britain and Russia, disputes had arisen between the Government of the United Kingdom and the Emperor of Russia in regard to the extent of their respective possessions upon the north-west coast of this continent. The Russians had visited the country. They had explored the coast at least as far south as the 54th degree of
vention had been entered into which established a modus vivendi between them, by which each bound itself not to interfere with the settlements of the other; but the question as to their territorial rights, under the convention, was left untouched.
In 1824, the United States made a treaty with Russia, which is modelled on the plan of the one which had previously been entered into by the United Kingdom and the United States. This convention, between the United States and Russia did not undertake to define any territorial limits as an assertion of territorial sovereignty. By Article I., the citizens and subjects of the high contracting parties agreed that neither will disturb or restrain the other in navigating or fishing in these waters, or in the liberty of resorting to the coast to trade with the natives. But where any part of the coast is in actual occupation of the one, resort shall not be had to it by the other, for the purpose of trading with the natives.
By Article II. non-intercourse by the one, with the settlements of the other, is mutually agreed upon, except by the permission of the Governor or Commandant of the place. The United States agreed that they will form no settlement north of 54 degrees 40 minutes of north latitude. And Russia agrees to form no settlement south of that parallel. They further agreed, that for a period of ten years, the ships of both powers, and the ships which belong to the citizens and subjects of each, may without hindrance, frequent the interior seas, gulfs, harbours and creeks upon the coast mentioned in the preceding article. Here there was no division of territory between the parties. There was a modus vivendi provided by which the United States agreed not to exclude