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they were to be considered as British subjects and merchants. All these partners (Astor excepted), with many servants, reached successively the mouth of the Columbia, where in 1811 they erected on the south bank, nearly on the site of Lewis and Clarke's wintering post,' a few houses and a kind of fort, which they called Astoria.
The settlement was very imperfectly established, when, on the breaking out of the war between Great Britain and the United States, its situation became so obviously precarious, that the partners on the spot opened negotiations with the North-West Company for the dissolution of the Pacific Fur Company and the abandonment of the establishment of Astoria. The association was in consequence formally dissolved in July, 1813; and in October the whole establishment, with the furs and stock in trade, was transferred to the North-West Company on a valuation that produced 58,000 dollars: some of the ex-partners of Mr. Astor joined the North-West Company, and the others returned over land to New York. This had hardly been effected when the British sloop of war Racoon, Captain Black, arrived in the Columbia, for the express purpose of capturing and destroying the settlement; but it had already passed into the sole hands of British subjects, and Captain Black had no more to do than to hoist the British flag and change the name to Fort George; and the North-West Company carried on the trade.
In this entirely mercantile concern, in which the majority of the partners were British subjects, who took care to preserve their national character, and who sold the establishment to another entirely British company, there can certainly be no pretence on which to found the sovereignty of the United States : it was undertaken with private means, maintained for private views, and parted with by private bargain.
But if it could have had any political effect, it could not advance the American claim one jot; for, in the first place, as to the general question, England never denied, on the contrary always maintained, the right of any nation to form an establishment on any part of the coast not already occupied, so that England had no right to complain of the settlement, and never did so. But, secondly, as to its practical effect on the present state of the matter, this settlement was on the south bank of the river, and its site is therefore within the territory which England has all along offered to America.
But the moderation and fair dealing of England in this Astoria affair has led to an allegation of the American statesmen that she has solemnly acknowledged the territorial sovereignty of the United States.
nisedre pretended therefore i have Tato
Let us explain this strange pretence.
By the treaty of Ghent (1814) is was provided that all places captured during the war should be mutually restored. Astoria had not been captured : more than half its owners or occupiers were British subjects, who had disposed of it as a mercantile concern to other British subjects; but the United States — who, be it remembered, had not at this time acquired their Spanish title under the Florida treaty-were ansious to obtain a recog. nised footing-a pied-à-terre, as it were—where they had never before pretended to any right or establishment of a national character; and they therefore pressed for the restitution of Astoria. The British ministry might have truly said that it was no affair of either government, and that the Astorians were welcome to settle the matter with the North-West Company, as they might agree; but the British Government, actuated by a spirit of equity and conciliation, decided that, as the Captain of H.M.S. Racoon had intervened in the matter, by taking possession of what was already in British bands, the United States had a fair claim to be reinstated in statu quo-pending negotiations as to the ultimate territorial dominion-and therefore reserving to itself the question of ultimate right to the sovereignty, it directed that Astoria should be formally restored, and it was so in October, 1818, to one or two American agents sent for the purpose, but who did not remain. The North-West Company continued to hold it for some time, but at last, we believe, abandoned it: the Astorians never reappeared; the whole place went to ruin, and became as complete a wilderness as the rest of the country. The last account we bare of it is from an American traveller, Mr. Farnham, who tells us that • Astoria had passed away!' and that its site, overgrown with brushwood, was nominally occupied by the Hudson's Bay Company, in the person of a single clerk, who was a kind of telegraph-keeper of events at the mouth of the river.'
We doubt whether on these facts the United States could now, under the laws of nations, raise any just claim even to the site of Astoria, which they never re-occupied, and have so long abandoned; but to torture the restoration by England, pendente lite, of the possession of that spot of ground into an acknowledgment of the exclusive property of the United States over these vast regions, seems to us what in an individual would be called insanity.
There is one additional circumstance which, though small in itself, is worth notice, as showing accidentally, and therefore the more forcibly, the weakness of this part of the American case. The United States insist with great earnestness on the national character of the Astorian establishment: in our view, we do not think it is of the slightest importance; but if it were, see how
the the following fact disproves it. In 1816 Mr. Astor proposed to the United States Government 'once more to renew the attempt, and to re-establish Astoria, provided he had the protection of the American flag: for which purpose a lieutenant's command would be sufficient for him. He requested Mr. Gallatin to mention this to the President, which he did. Mr. Madison said he would consider the subject; and although he did not commit himself, Mr. Gallatin thought that he received the proposal favourably.' -Mr. Gallatin to Mr. Astor, ap. Twiss, 333.
This proposition for giving to a new Astoria a distinct national character, implies that old Astoria possessed it not—that Mr. Astor would not resume his attempt without guarantee-which the President hesitated to give—which never was given and new Astoria never was founded. Had Mr. Madison or Mr. Gallatin or Mr. Astor at that time any idea that they were exclusive Sovereigns of the whole region, or even of the abandoned spot on the left bank of the Columbia ?
But whatever may be the value of the United States' claim to Astoria, it affords no impediment to a present arrangement. It has been offered by England, and is included of course in Mr. Dargan's proposition.
Having thus recapitulated and, we trust, satisfactorily disposed of the various and inconsistent claims of the United States, let us remind our readers that, under each of the heads separately, Great Britain has an indisputable title to all that she claims.
I. Along the sea-board Drake was the first who saw any part of the disputed territory. Cook and Vancouver were the first who made any public and authenticated attempt at an accurate survey of its coast. Meares was the first to explore, as Barclay was to discover, the Straits which Meares was so generous as to call by the name of the mendacious Greek who declared that he had sailed through them to the Atlantic. He was also the first to discover the bay and the bar, behind which Gray, and almost simultaneously Baker, found the estuary of the Columnbia.
II. Even under the extravagant principle of dominion by watercourses, the British title is by many years and thousands of miles the better, as our former statement and the following sketch will show.
III. As it is also on the plea of discovery and exploration-for
If Gray really was the first to cross the bar and discover the estuary, Broughton was the first who ascertained the existence and course of the river which Gray, having taken the wrong channel,' never saw.
If Lewis and Clarke were the first to explore the Kooskooskee, and about 70 out of 600 miles of the Saptin or Lewis, and about 200 out of 1000 of the Columbia, and a few yards of
Tambia, the uppers between 19 follow from ble
a stream conjectured to be part of the Flathead or Clarke's, which seems to have a course of 500 or 600 miles—Lieutenant Broughton was the first to explore from the anchorage to above 100 miles up the Columbia, the upper waters of which Thomson discovered in its various ramifications between 1800 and 1810, and the whole length of which he was the first to follow from its head-waters to the sea. Still more to the north is the Tacoutchetesse or Fraser's river, discovered at its mouth and explored throughout, not merely first, but solely, by the British. This river drains nearly the whole of the country north of the 49°, to which the United States now pretend an exclusive dominion.
If any inan assert that these indisputable facts can justify the American claim to the sole dominion of the Western World from
further argu runprejudiced me that it is; ac and common order to
42° to 54°, from the Mexican to the Russian boundary, to the total exclusion of the countrymen of Drake, Cook, Vancouver, Meares, Barclay, Broughton, Thomson, and Mackenzie--and the acknowledged possessors of the vast interior north of 49°—we decline all further argument with such a mind;-but, believing that every rational and unprejudiced man must agree that it is a case of mixed claims, we conclude that it is, according to the law of nations and the ordinary rules of society and common sense, a fit subject for compromise and partition. Now, in order to judge how this compromise may be effected, let us review the face of the maps, (pp. 568 and 595).
A treaty between Russia and England establishes their boundary from the sea in latitude 54° 40' northward to the Icy Sea. By the treaty between the United States and Spain, now represented by Mexico, a boundary line has been drawn along the 42nd parallel eastward to the head of the waters running into the Gulf of Mexico. This latter boundary has never, we believe, been acknowledged by Great Britain, and it certainly trenches on the right recognised in the Nootka convention, that all the coast to the northward of S. Francisco should be open for future settlement; but as in any case of partition this intermediate portion would naturally fall to the United States, it is unnecessary for our present purpose to question that arrangement. That boundary is therefore considered as also fixed. The whole territory, then, to which the question of equitable partition now applies is comprised between the latitudes 42° and 54° 40', and between the Pacific and the Rocky Mountains. East of the Rocky Mountains the boundary between British America and the United States, as finally, settled by the treaty of Washington, runs for near 20 degrees of longitude along the 49th parallel.
Both parties have more than once agreed, and the conventions of 1818 and 1827, providing for common occupancy, constitute, as we have before said, a standing acknowledgment and recognition which no sophistry can explain away, that it is a case for an equitable partition. The most obvious line of division is certainly the continuation westward of the existing boundary of 49°, and to that to a certain extent both parties had assented; but where that line was to end became matter of dispute. England had explored between 1800 and 1810, and has since enjoyed for the use of her fur trade, the main Columbia; and adopting the great principle of international law, that rivers should be for the convenience of mankind, she proposed that when the 49° should reach the Columbia, the line should thence proceed southward and westward along the centre of that stream. This proposition had the advantage of giving effect to the strongest VOL, LXXVII. NO. CLIV.
on that all the who applies is pacifica