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Having for a long period had no other officials in its Indian territories than the factors of the Hudson's Bay Company, having maintained British rule over the aborigines through that company, and having, in fact, delegated to it sovereign rights or at least permitted their exercise in the preservation of " law and order", the British Government cannot now, it is submitted, declare that the company Was in no sense its representative. Having secured the benefits of such relationship, it is too late to repudiate the company's acts and to deny its public character.
At the time when the lease was in contemplation the British Government was earnestly pressing for the payment of the Dryad claim, and must have been in constant communication with the representatives of the Hudson's Bay Company in London. The correspondence between the Foreign Office and Governor Pelly, which is produced in the British Case, appears to end in February, 1836," although the matter was a subject of discussion at St. Petersburg throughout the two succeeding years. It cannot be doubted that the British Gorernment was fully cognizant of the proposed lease, and gave its assent to its execution by the Hudson's Bay Company.
The company, dependent for its privileges upon the will of the British Government, would not have entered into an agreement to obtain control of the territory of another power without obtaining the definite assent of Her Majesty's Government to such a course, especially when such action might involve the political relations of the two powers. Nor would it have entered into such an agreement, which was clearly ultra vires, without first securing governmental sanction. The lease, furthermore, involved the settlement of a claim in the hands of the minister of Great Britain at St. Petersburg, and the Foreign Office must have been notified of the proposed method of its settlement. The governors of the two companies also arranged to meet by reporting to their respective embassies in Berlin.
The United States submits that the presumption that the British Government gave its assent to the lease, is too strong to be dismissed by the statement made in the British Case that “there is no evidence that Great Britain either approved or disapproved the lease." In confirmation of the conclusion, which must be reached from the
known relations existing between the British Government and the Hudson's Bay Company, Mr. R. M. Martin states that, "after negotiations between the two governments, and the two chartered Companies, it was agreed in 1939 that from 1st June, 1810, the Hudson's Bay Company should enjoy for ten years the exclusive use of the continent assigned to Russia by Mr. Canning in 1825."a
Mr. Martin. in his book, was defending the Hudson's Bay Company from the numerous attacks which were in 18+8 being made upon it. He undoubtedly had every facility offered him to confirm his statements. On this account, his assertion carries the added weight of being to all intents endorsed by the company itself.
In any event, the subsequent course of the British Government in offering no objection to the lease, and in recognizing the mutual interests of the two companies by agreeing with Russia in 1854 to preserve neutrality on the Northwest Coast constituted a substantial confirmation of the lease, which described the Russian possessions as extending south as far as 5+ 40' and comprising not only the mainland coast but the “* Interior country" as well.
Moreover, as has been stated, a map showing the Russian territory was before the select committee of the House of Commons, and that territory was pointed out by witnesses. The map was published with the report. In attendance upon that investigation was Honorable William H. Draper, Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas of Upper Canada. He had been sent to London by the Canadian Government to watch the investigation. Thus both Great Britain and Canada were fully notified of the interpretation placed upon the treaty by the Hudson's Bay Company. Yet the following year" the company was permitted to renew the lease without protest or objection by either the British or the Canadian Government as to the extent of the Russian territory and the course of the boundary around the inlets.
The United States, therefore, contends that the Hudson's Bay Company, being from the first the party in interest in the fixation of the boundary and the best informed as to the region, was the most competent British authority to interpret the meaning of the treaty; that the admissions made by that company in the lease and in it: interpretation were made by the only representative of the Brit
al'. S. Counter Case, App., p. 47.
Ibid., p. 18.
(Ibid., p. 15. 1 British Case, p. 87.
ish Government on the Pacific Coast; that the contents of the lease were known to that government at the time of its inception; that the interpretation of it by the contracting parties in regard to the territory leased was brought to the knowledge of both the British and Canadian Governments by the map and evidence published by the House of Commons; and that Great Britain, having failed to reject such interpretation at the time and having permitted it to be made public without reservation, must he deemed to have conceded its correctness.
The positive and strong proofs of the occupation and sovereignty exercised by Russia between 1825 and 1867 over the lisière, submitted in the Case of the United States, would seem to make it unnecessary to add thereto further evidence, but for the doubt sought to be thrown upon such occupation and sovereign acts in the British Case."
It is suggested that no more conclusive proof could be produced to establish the dominion of Russia over the lisière than the lease which was accepted by the Hudson's Bay Company. It has already been
. shown that the limits of the lisière were definitely established before the British parliamentary committee in 1857, and that the operations of the Hudson's Bay Company under the lease extended to the inlets of the mainland and especially to the head of Lynn Canal. A further proof of this latter fact is to be found in the report of the Ogilvie Canadian surveying party of 1887 and the depositions of J. J. Healy, United States Deputy Collector, and others. From these it appears that Ogilvie found it difficult to induce the Chilkat Indians to transport his party across the mountain passes, because of the ill-feeling against the British on account of the killing of some of the tribe by the Hudson's Bay Company during the time of their trading operations in that vicinity.
Reference was made in the Case of the United States to the practice of Russia in conferring upon the native chiefs who signalized their loyalty to that government silver baulges or medals, with such inscriptions as "Allies of Russia." Three of these medals which were presented by the Russian Government to the head chief of the Chilkat tribe, and which have descended through his family and are now the
(U'. S. Case, p. 74.
(1 British Case, p. 85.
property of a Chief resident at Klukwan, have been obtained and photographic reproductions of them will befound in the Appendix to this Counter Case.a
In confirmation of the authority exercised over the inhabitants on the Russian mainland, even during the lease, the statement of Sir George Simpson is herewith submitted." He narrates that in 18+1, as his vessel approached Fort Wrangell, he saw the Russian and British flags flying at half-mast from the Hudson's Bay Post, and in landing he found that the chief trader, Mr. McLoughlin, had been killed by a Canadian in a drunken row, and that the fort was beseiged by two thousand Indians. He was of the opinion that Canadian criminal jurisdiction did not extend to the leased Russian territory, and he decided to carry the murderer to Sitka, although the Russians had no court of criminal jurisdiction in America. He also assembled the native chiefs and warned them that for any overt acts of hostility "they would be most severely punished both by the Russians and by ourselves."
The discovery of gold placers on the Stikine River in 1862 led to a great influx of adventurers, and the Russian Government became alarmed lest it might lead to the loss of its territory in that region, the newspapers at Victoria, B. C., claiming that the mouth of that river should be beld by Great Britain in the interest of the miners. An investigation by the Russian Government developed the fact that the gold fields were “not less than 165 Italian miles from the mouth of the Stikine, far beyond the Russian possessions which extend only 30 miles (52} versts) from the shore.” It was decided that the best way to protect the Russian territory was to renew the lease to the Hudson's Bay Company, a question then pending; and this was accordingly done.
These facts, in rebuttal of the assertions in the British Case, show that Russia exercised control over the native tribes on the mainland, that it exercised and was accorded jurisdiction by the British over the leased territory, and that it knew the extent of that territory and was prepared to enforce its authority therein. Taken in connection with the evidence submitted in the Case of the United States, it is conclusively established that for forty-two years after the treaty of 1825
Hid., App.. pp. 27–31.
a U'. S. Counter Case, App., facing p. 214. 1 Ibid., pp. 35-36.
Russia, under its interpretation of that treaty, held undisputed sovereignty on the mainland which it had publicly demarked upon its official maps, and which it transferred with an unimpaired title to the United States in 1867.
THE PROPOSED BOUNDARY SURVEY OF 1872-1874.
The British Case devotes considerable attention to the correspondence which took place between 1872 and 1878 respecting a suggested survey of the boundary from the head of Portland Canal to mount St. Elias and thence to the Arctic Ocean. The object had in view in discussing this correspondence seems to have been to show “the unwillingness” or “ failure of the United States Congress to provide for [the] Survey.” It is suggested, however, that facts much more pertinent to the issues before the Tribunal are established by this correspondence.
It conclusively discloses the fact that, during the period named, there was no controversy between the two Governments as to the interpretation of the treaty of 1825, nor aş to the general course which the boundary line should follow. The Legislative Assembly of British Columbia of 1872, wbich initiated the suggestion, asked the Dominion Government “to have the boundary line properly laid down."). The action of the succeeding Legislative Assembly of 187+ (which is omitted from the correspondence in the British Case) is more specific as to the line that it desired to have demarked, which it described as "the boundary of the 30 mile belt of American territory running along a part of the seaboard.” It again urged upon the Dominion Government the necessity of having the said boundary established and defined."" The Privy Council of the Dominion of Canada and the Governor General approved of the action of the Legislative Assembly, and asked the British Government to take the necessary steps to have the boundary determined and marked;" and the British minister in Washington was instructed to bring the matter to the attention of the Government of the l'nited States.
Accordingly be inquired of the Secretary of State if his Government would be willing to agree to the appointment of a Commission “ for the purpose of defining the boundary line between Alaska and British
a British Case, p. 29.
CU. S. Counter Case, p. 50.