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1802, published by the Russian quartermaster-general's department, probably Vancouver's charts (either a Russian, English, or French edition), one or more maps by Arrowsmith, and possibly the Langsdortf map of 1803-1805. Other than these publications there is no evidence that any were consulted or examined during the negotiations. Nevertheless the following statement is made in the British Case:
The answer [to what was Vancouver's Portland Canal] must depend on the evidence to be found in Vancouver's book and charts, known to hare been before the negotiators, and the sole, or, at any rate, the main and best sources of information on this head.
No citation is given to substantiate the assertion that Vancouver's book was "known to have been before the negotiators" or that it and the charts were probably the - sole sources of information as to Portland Canal. The fact and the presumption as well are unsupported by any evidence as yet produced by either the C'nited States or Great Britain. An assertion of such importance in the present controversy demands affirmative and conclusive proof. l'pon the establishment of the fact that Vancouver's narrative was read and relied upon by the Russian negotiators rests the entire materiality of the extracts from that work which appear in the Appendix to the British Case.
The L'nited States denies that evidence of any nature whatsoever, from which this assertion can be deduced, has been presented to the Tribunal. On the contrary there is proof that Sir Charles Bagot, the British minister at St. Petersburg, was not familiar with the Vancouver narrative.
The expedition under the command of Captain George Vancouver was sent out to acquire accurate information as to the existence of
any water-communication" between the Northwest Coast and the British territory on the opposite side of the continent " by means of any considerable inlets of the sea, or even of large rivers."I He was instructed especially to survey " the direction and extent of all such considerable inlets, whether made by arms of the sea or by the mouths of large rivers." And he was informed that the discovery of a near communication between any such inlet or strait and any river running into, or from the lake of the woods, would be particularly useful.">
ul. S. (ase, App., p. 127; British
('ase, Atlas, No. 5. C. S (ase, Atlas, Vos, 4 and 5. Ibid., Nos. 8 and 10. " British ('ase, Atlas, No. 7.
British ('ase, p. 50. pp. 139-149. Il'. s. ('ounter Case App., p. 251.
With fidelity and perseverance Vancouver accomplished the task set before him; and in the dedication of his published narrative it is announced that, within the limits of his researches, there was no “navigable communication" with the Atlantic seaboard.
There had existed for many years prior to his voyage the tale of a great river of Northwestern America up which De Fonta was said to have sailed 60 leagues after passing for 260 leagues through the tortuous channels of a vast archipelago. This river, known as “Rio de los Reyes," was placed by English geographers in latitude 53° north. For it Vancouver sought. At the close of his narrative he commented upon this traditional river. He stated that the archipelago did exist between 17o and 57° of north latitude, “ yet the evidence of a navigable river flowing into it, is still wanting to prove its identity; and the scrupulous exactness with which our survey of the continental shores has been made within these limits precludes the possibility of such a river having been passed unnoticed by us, as that described to be Rio de los Reyes.")
Turning now to the amended proposal of Sir Charles Bagot it is found that he opposed the granting of the continental shore below the 56th parallel to Russia, because it would deprive Great Britain of the bay's and inlets between that parallel and 5+' 45' - whereof several (as there is every reason to beliere) communicate directly with the establishments of the Hudson's Bay Company and are, consequently, of essential importance to its commerce."C
Again, in his reply to the observations of the Russian plenipotentiaries, Sir Charles Bagot said: “ The head of Portland Channel may be as there is reason to believe, the mouth of some river flowing through the midst of the country occupied by the Hudson Bay Company, and it is, consequently, of great importance to Great Britain to possess the sovereignty of the two shores thereof."!
Both of these statements show an ignorance of Vancouver's narrative, of the purpose of the expedition, and of the careful execution of its object. But as further proof that the British negotiator was unfamiliar with the text of Vancouver, when he made the above statement in regard to Portland Canal, attention is called to the fact that the explorer in his description of his reconnaissance of that inlet specitically stated that it was found to terminate in lor marshy land, in latitude 55° 45', longitude 230° 6'.
(U. S. Case, App., p. 159.
a L. S. Counter Case, App., p. 250.
Furthermore, it should be noted that throughout the correspondence between the negotiators and in the treaty the astronomical locations are given in longitude west of Greenwich, while in the narrative of Vancouver the longitude given is cust.
On all the English maps referred to in the negotiations the longitude appears as west of Greenwich.
In addition to this evidence that the Vancourer narrative was not a source of information to the plenipotentiaries of Great Britain and Russia, much less one of the main and best sources,” the following pertinent questions may be asked: Would not the negotiators, if drawing the southern boundary with Vancouver's technical description before them, have stated accurately the astronomical locations? Would they not have traced the line from the place of beginning to the head of Portland Canal by landmarks, especially as the field notes of Vancouver did not appear to correspond with any one of the maps before them? Would not some reference to the Vancouver text have been made during the negotiations?
In the light of the evidence produced and in view of the silence of the correspondence upon the subject, the United States asserts that the text of Vancouver's narrative becomes irrelevant and immaterial in interpreting Articles III and IV of the treaty of 1825; and that, unless it can be shown that the representatives of both powers had the narrative as a guide in fixing names and places, allegations and arguments which rest upon Vancouver's text are valueless in determining the intention of the negotiators or the meaning of the treaty.
The chief omissions of Great Britain in the Case presented to the Tribunal are the documents (the majority of which had been made public) which relate to the treaty of April 5 17, 1824, between the United States and Russia. The negotiations which resulted in this treaty were conducted by the same Russian plenipotentiaries who conferred with Sir Charles Bagot and were carried on at the same time as the negotiations with Great Britain, namely during February and March, 1821. While the American negotiation directly affected the trading privileges secured for a term of ten years by Great Britain, it is principally important in determining what the Russian negotiators, in their correspondence with Sir Charles Bagot, intended as the southern line of demarcation on the continent. A consideration of this factor in the negotiations between Great Britain and Russia will be more appropriate when that portion of the boundary is discussed.
a British Case, App., p. 143.
As to the point of commencement of the line of demarcation, the United States understands that Great Britain concedes that it was the intention of the negotiators and it is the meaning of the treaty of 1825 that such point was Cape Muzon.“ It, therefore, deems further discussion of that subject unnecessary. Nevertheless, to the reasoning by which Great Britain reached this conclusion in the Case submitted, and to the deduced interpretation of certain clauses of Article III which appear in the discussion, the United States cannot assent.
The southern boundary was intended by the negotiators to be the parallel 5€ +0', and the clause of Article IV, which states that the island called Prince of Wales Island shall belong wholly to Russia," b was inserted for two obvious reasons- that in case any portion of the island lay below the boundary parallel named it should still form part of the Russian possession, and further that in the event of the eastern point being the most southern, then, even if both headlands extended below 51° 40', the one lying to the westward should nevertheless be Russian territory.
PORTLAND CANAL AND 54° 40' NORTH LATITUDE.
The subject of this southern boundary is directly connected with the location of Portland Canal, for if the parallel governs then the line of demarcation enters the passage sometimes called Portland Inlet. Conversely, if the boundary was intended to pass through that inlet then it would seem to be conclusive that the negotiators intended to draw the line along the parallel 54 10'.
In a consideration of the identification of that portion of Portland Canal lying south and southwest of the eastern end of the channel now known as Pearse Canal, the United States does not deem that it is material to make “inquiry as to what was Vancourrr's Portland Canal”. The Cnited States makes no contention as to “ Lancourpis Portland Canal” or to the question “What was Pimncouver's Observatory Inlet?"« On the contrary it deems the consideration of these questions without profit in the present controversy. It conceives that the real question at issue is, What was the negotiators' Portland Canal ?
a British Case, p. 46.
© British Case, p. 50.
In answering this question it becomes important to determine what geographical material was before Count Nesselrode, M. de Poletica, and Sir Charles Bagot when the negotiations took place, and what was shown therein as to the location of Portland Canal. In addition to this, the expressions used in negotiation or by the governments prior or subsequent to the treaty of 1825, and the understanding by geographers, publicists and officials of either Great Britain or Russia, as to the southern boundary established by the treaty, are material in locating the Portland Canal of the negotiators.
It should be borne in mind that all negotiations concerning that portion of the line of demarcation from the point of commencement to 56° north latitude ceased with the suspension of negotiations at St. Petersburg by Sir Charles Bagot, March 17 29, 1824,4 on which day the Russian plenipotentiaries delivered to him their final decision. From that time forward Great Britain offered no objection to the boundary proposed by Russia, except to that portion north of the 56th parallel as far as mount St. Elias."
The first mention of Portland Canal was in the counter draft of Russia delivered to the British minister February 24, 1824. Thus the negotiations on that subject occupied about six weeks. On the part of Great Britain Sir Charles Bagot was the only one who discussed Portland Canal with the Russians. He does not appear to have communicated with his government during this period; and not having done so he received no specific information in regard to that arm of the sea from the Foreign Office.
The negotiations conducted by Mr. Middleton, the American minister at St. Petersburg, commenced on February 9 21 and continued until April 5 17, 1827. On February 20 March 4 Count Nesselrode proposed 54° 40' as the southern line of the Russian possessions on the Northwest Coast, fixing on that parallel, as he said, so that the lower portion of Prince of Wales Island would belong to Russia. On the 7th Mr. Middleton accepted the proposal.. A week before this the Russian plenipo
aU. S. Case App., p. 153.
• Ibid., pp. 71, 69.
Ibid., p. 83. ! Ibid., p. 84.