DOCUMENTS (OTHER THAN MAPS) SHEWING THE GENERAL BELIEF AND REPUTATION AS TO THE EXTENT OF THE JURISDICTION OF THE GOVERNMENT OF NEWFOUNDLAND ON THE LABRADOR PENINSULA.
“MAINE BOUNDARY” DISPUTE.
COLONIAL OFFICE RECORDS 47/27. THE QUEBEC GAZETTE.
Thursday, 17 Dec. 1829.
To the Editor of the Quebec Gazette.
In my last letter I endeavoured to show that New Brunswick could claim no territory west of a line drawn due north from the source of the Ste. Croix as determined upon with the consent of both the parties interested, and that the boundary between Lower-Canada and the United States commences at the north-west angle of Nova Scotia [New Brunswick] where the northern boundary line of that Province strikes its western boundary above mentioned. This is the point to be ascertained and upon which the whole of the differences referred to the King of the Netherlands turns.
The possession of the whole course of the River St. John by Great Britain since the peace of 1783, has however been uninterrupted, as was that of France, the former possessors of Canada, generally, since the arrival of Europeans on this continent. Great Britain, as representing France, had an undoubted right of discovery and possession to the whole of the waters of the river St. John, and whatever might be the inferences drawn from the treaty and the aforementioned documents, by a rigid interpretation, it is not probable that she ever really intended to cede them ; in fact to sever nearly all practical connection by land, between her remaining Provinces, bring a foreign State within a few leagues of her strongest hold in North America, and give that
power a footing between it and the sea, almost on the very shore of the river St. Lawrence.
The equitable interpretation of the treaty would be, that it was intended that when no navigable river could be made a boundary consistently with the previously acknowledged limits of the new States, the high lands separating the waters that fall into the sea, within the limits of each party, should be the boundary between them, that interference might be avoided when it could not be attended with any mutual benefit. This was the proposal of France to Great Britain, respecting the very boundary in question, and I translate it from the Memoire of the Commissioners, dated Paris, 4th October, 1751.
“In such cases the usual and most convenient rule is to extend the inland boundary to the sources of the rivers that empty on the coast, that is to say, that each nation shall have the waters running on its own side : it was this course that was adopted at the peace of the Pyrenees for fixing the boundary between France and Spain : and if the Commissioners of the King knew a more equitable mode, they would readily propose it to the Commissioners of his Britannic Majesty.”
Whether an enlarged or more rigourous view of the subject will be taken by the umpire is uncertain. The result it will be seen is materially important
to Canada ; important as relates to her connexion with Great Britain and the other maritime colonies, and important as it concerns the extension of the settlements of a numerous population now crowded within narrow limits on the southern shores of the River St. Lawrence.
I am, Sir,
Your obedient servant,
Quebec, 15 December, 1829.