A Compilation of the Messages and Papers of the Presidents: Tyler
Compiled by James D. Richardson

Part 7 out of 11

respect, Lord Aberdeen in the dispatch of the 20th December makes known
to Mr. Everett the nature of the instructions given to the British
cruisers. These are such as, if faithfully observed, would enable the
British Government to approximate the standard of a fair indemnity.
That Government has in several cases fulfilled her promises in this
particular by making adequate reparation for damage done to our
commerce. It seems obvious to remark that a right which is only to be
exercised under such restrictions and precautions and risk, in case of
any assignable damage to be followed by the consequences of a trespass,
can scarcely be considered anything more than a privilege asked for and
either conceded or withheld on the usual principles of international

The principles laid down in Lord Aberdeen's dispatches and the
assurances of indemnity therein held out, although the utmost reliance
was placed on the good faith of the British Government, were not
regarded by the Executive as a sufficient security against the abuses
which Lord Aberdeen admitted might arise in even the most cautious and
moderate exercise of their new maritime police, and therefore in my
message at the opening of the last session I set forth the views
entertained by the Executive on this subject, and substantially affirmed
both our inclination and ability to enforce our own laws, protect our
flag from abuse, and acquit ourselves of all our duties and obligations
on the high seas. In view of these assertions the treaty of Washington
was negotiated, and upon consultation with the British negotiator as to
the quantum of force necessary to be employed in order to attain these
objects, the result to which the most deliberate estimate led was
embodied in the eighth article of the treaty.

Such were my views at the time of negotiating that treaty, and such, in
my opinion, is its plain and fair interpretation. I regarded the eighth
article as removing all possible pretext on the ground of mere necessity
to visit and detain our ships upon the African coast because of any
alleged abuse of our flag by slave traders of other nations. We had
taken upon ourselves the burden of preventing any such abuse by
stipulating to furnish an armed force regarded by both the high
contracting parties as sufficient to accomplish that object.

Denying as we did and do all color of right to exercise any such general
police over the flags of independent nations, we did not demand of Great
Britain any formal renunciation of her pretension; still less had we the
idea of yielding anything ourselves in that respect. We chose to make
a practical settlement of the question. This we owed to what we had
already done upon this subject. The honor of the country called for it;
the honor of its flag demanded that it should not be used by others to
cover an iniquitous traffic. This Government, I am very sure, has both
the inclination and the ability to do this; and if need be it will not
content itself with a fleet of eighty guns, but sooner than any foreign
government shall exercise the province of executing its laws and
fulfilling its obligations, the highest of which is to protect its flag
alike from abuse or insult, it would, I doubt not, put in requisition
for that purpose its whole naval power. The purpose of this Government
is faithfully to fulfill the treaty on its part, and it will not permit
itself to doubt that Great Britain will comply with it on hers. In this
way peace will best be preserved and the most amicable relations
maintained between the two countries.


WASHINGTON, _February 27, 1843_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I transmit to Congress sundry letters which have passed between the
Department of State and the Chevalier d'Argaiz, envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary of Spain near the Government of the United
States, on the subject of the schooner _Amistad_ since the last
communication of papers connected with that case. This correspondence
will show the general grounds on which the Spanish minister expresses
dissatisfaction with the decision of the Supreme Court in that case and
the answers which have been made to his complaints by the Department of

In laying these papers before Congress I think it proper to observe that
the allowance of salvage on the cargo does not appear to have been a
subject of discussion in the Supreme Court. Salvage had been denied in
the court below and from that part of the decree no appeal had been

The ninth article of the treaty between the United States and Spain
provides that "all ships and merchandise of what nature soever which
shall be rescued out of the hands of any pirates or robbers on the high
seas shall be brought into some port of either State and shall be
delivered to the custody of the officers of that port in order to be
taken care of and restored entire to the true proprietor as soon as due
and sufficient proof shall be made concerning the property thereof." The
case of the _Amistad_, as was decided by the court, was not a case of
piracy, and therefore not within the terms of the treaty; yet it was a
case in which the authority of the master, officers, and crew of the
vessel had been divested by force, and in that condition the vessel,
having been found on the coast, was brought into a port of the United
States; and it may deserve consideration that the salvors in this case
were the officers and seamen of a public ship.

It is left to Congress to consider, under these circumstances, whether,
although in strictness salvage may have been lawfully due, it might not
yet be wise to make provision to refund it, as a proof of the entire
good faith of the Government and of its disposition to fulfill all its
treaty stipulations to their full extent under a fair and liberal


WASHINGTON, _February 28, 1843_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

I transmit to the Senate, for its consideration with a view to
ratification, a convention further to provide for the payment of
awards in favor of claimants under the convention between the United
States and the Mexican Republic of the 11th of April, 1839, signed
in the City of Mexico on the 30th day of last month. A copy of the
instructions from the Department of State to the minister of the United
States at Mexico relative to the convention and of the dispatches of
that minister to the Department is also communicated. By adverting to
the signatures appended to the original draft of the convention as
transmitted from the Department of State to General Thompson it will be
seen that the convention as concluded was substantially approved by the
representatives of a large majority in value of the parties immediately


WASHINGTON, _February 28, 1843_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

I communicate to the House of Representatives a report from the
Secretary of State, which, with the documents[91] accompanying it,
furnishes the information requested by their resolution of the 18th


[Footnote 91: Correspondence between the representatives of foreign
governments and the United States relative to the operation of the
tariff laws on treaties existing with foreign governments.]

WASHINGTON, _March 3, 1843_.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In submitting the name of Henry A. Wise to the Senate for the mission
to France, I was led to do so by considerations of his high talent,
his exalted character, and great moral worth. The country, I feel
assured, would be represented at Paris in the person of Mr. Wise by
one wholly unsurpassed in exalted patriotism and well fitted to be the
representative of his country abroad. His rejection by the Senate has
caused me to reconsider his qualifications, and I see no cause to doubt
that he is eminently qualified for the station. I feel it, therefore,
to be my duty to renominate him.

I nominate Henry A. Wise, of Virginia, to be envoy extraordinary and
minister plenipotentiary to the Court of His Majesty the King of the
French, in place of Lewis Cass, resigned.


MARCH 3, 1843.

_To the Senate of the United States_:

In submitting to you the name of Caleb Cushing as Secretary of the
Treasury, I did so in full view of his consummate abilities, his
unquestioned patriotism and full capacity to discharge with honor to
himself and advantage to the country the high and important duties
appertaining to that Department of the Government. The respect which
I have for the wisdom of the Senate has caused me again, since his
rejection, to reconsider his merits and his qualifications. That review
has satisfied me that I could not have a more able adviser in the
administration of public affairs or the country a more faithful officer.
I feel it, therefore, to be my duty to renominate him.

I nominate Caleb Gushing to be Secretary of the Treasury, in the place
of Walter Forward, resigned.


WASHINGTON, _March 3, 1843_.

_To the House of Representatives of the United States_:

I herewith transmit to the House of Representatives copies of the final
report and appendices of the joint commission appointed to explore and
survey the boundary line between the States of Maine and New Hampshire
and the adjoining British Provinces, together with a general map showing
the results of their labors.


_Report of the commissioners appointed by the President of the United
States for the purpose of exploring and surveying the boundary line
between the States of Maine and New Hampshire and the British

[Footnote 92: This report proper and Appendix No. 1 are the only
portions of the original final report which can be found filed with the
archives of the commission. The copy of the report which was transmitted
to the House of Representatives is missing from the files of the House.
A careful search in the Government libraries of Washington warrants me
in asserting that the report has never been printed.--COMPILER.]

WASHINGTON, _January 27, 1843_.


_Secretary of State_.

SIR: The operations of the divisions under the direction of the several
commissioners during the past season have been as follows, viz:


The work remaining to be performed by the division under the direction
of the chairman of the board was as follows:

1. The completion of the survey of the line of highlands around the
sources of the Rimouski, filling up the gap left in former surveys in
the line of boundary claimed by the United States.

2. The survey of the line of highlands rising from the northern side of
the Bay of Chaleurs at its western extremity from the point visited and
measured in 1840 to its connection with the line surveyed in 1841 in the
vicinity of Lake Metis.

3. The astronomical determination of the longitude of one or more points
in the surveyed lines, in order to the compilation of a geographical map
of undeniable accuracy.

The party, which was dispatched at the earliest possible period, having
been recalled by a special messenger as soon as the signature of the
treaty of Washington was made known to the commissioner, no more than
the first of these objects was attempted, and some of the observations
that would have been considered necessary to make this survey useful as
evidence in case of a further discussion of the subject of boundary were
not completed. The expedition has, however, obtained for its results an
accurate survey of the Green River of St. John from its mouth to the
portage between it and the South Branch of the Katawamkedgwick, a survey
of that portage, and a careful chain and compass survey of the highlands
surrounding the sources of Rimouski. The first of these is connected
with the survey of the river St. John made by Major Graham; the last
was united at its two extremities with stations of the survey of 1841.
Throughout the whole of the surveys the latitudes were carefully
determined, by the methods employed during the former years, at a
sufficient number of points. The longitudes have been estimated by the
use of chronometers, but the sudden recall of the party left the latter
part of the task incomplete. Any defect arising from the latter cause
may be considered as in a great degree compensated by the connections
referred to with the work of Major Graham and the surveys of the
previous years.

The party left Portland to take the field on the 18th June, and reached
the Grand Falls of the St. John on its return on the 25th August.

The surplus stores, with the boats and camp equipage, were stored there,
and were afterwards transferred to the parties of the two other

A map of the operations of this division was placed on file in the State
Department on the 27th December.

The distance surveyed along Green River from its mouth to the portage is
57 miles, the length of the portage 5-1/2 miles, the distance measured
in exploration of the remaining portion of the boundary claimed by the
United States 61-1/2 miles, making in all 124 miles.


The parties under the direction of A. Talcott entered upon their field
duties about the middle of September, and completed that branch of the
service by the 5th of November.

During that period the following rivers and streams were surveyed:

1. The "main St. John River" from the mouth of the "Alleguash" to the

2. The "Southwest Branch" to its source at the Metjarmette portage.

3. The "South Branch," or "Wool-as-ta-qua-guam," to 5 miles above Bakers
Lake and near to the exploring line of 1841 along the highlands claimed
by Great Britain.

4. The "West Branch," or "Mat-ta-wa-quam," to its source in the highlands.

5. The "Northwest Branch" to its source in the highlands.

6. The "Big Black River," or "Chim-pas-a-ooc-ten," to its source.

7. The "Little Black River," or "Pas-a-ooc-ten."

8. The "Chim-mem-ti-cook River" as far as navigable.

The character of all these streams is the same--slack water of moderate
depth alternating with rapids. They can never be navigated by anything
larger than a bateau.

The method of survey was to trace the course of each stream by compass,
estimating distances by the eye, or by pacing when the nature of the
margin of the river would permit.

The average distance coursed per day was about 9 miles, and at the camps
formed at night astronomical observations north and south of the zenith
were made to determine their position in latitude, and observations for
the local time to ascertain their differences of longitude.

Meridian observations of the sun were also made at a point intermediate
to the camps whenever they could be obtained.

Thirty-three of these points have been used in the correction of the
paced and estimated distances.

Tables exhibiting these observations, their calculation and results,
will accompany the detailed maps.

With a view to facilitate the operations of the joint commission it was
conceived to be important that the intersection of the parallel of 46 deg.
25' with the Southwest Branch should be ascertained, as also the point
on the Northwest Branch (10 miles from the main St. John) where the
boundary line from the outlet of Lake Pohenagamook intersects the said

It is believed that these points are projected on the map which
accompanies this report so near to their true position that the line
indicating the boundary as drawn on the map may be considered to
substantially exhibit the division of territory as effected by the late

The more thorough knowledge acquired through these explorations of the
character of the territory which has been relinquished by the United
States fully confirms the opinion previously entertained of its little
value, either for its timber growth or for purposes of agriculture.

Bordering on the "Big Black" and "Little Black" rivers the growth of
pine is large and apparently of good quality, and it is believed that
most of the smaller streams falling into the St. John below the "Seven
Islands" will be found fringed with pine, but it is quite certain that
very little will be found included between the lines of boundary and the
highlands as claimed by the United States to the westward of St. Francis

The office work of this party is nearly completed, all the calculations
arising from the astronomical observations have been made, and the
detailed maps (five in number) drawn to the scale of 1:50,000 (or nearly
1-1/4 inches to 1 mile), exhibiting the result of the surveys in 1840,
1841, and 1842, are in such a state of forwardness as to insure their
completion by the middle of February.

These explorations and surveys embrace--

1. The highlands as claimed by the United States, extending from the
northwesternmost head of the Connecticut River to the portage road which
leads from the St. Lawrence River to Lake Temiscouata.

2. The highlands as claimed by Great Britain from the Metjarmette
portage to the source of the Aroostook River.

3. All the principal heads or branches of the Connecticut River north of
the forty-fifth degree of latitude.

4. The St. John and all its principal branches or tributaries west of
the Alleguash River.


The division under the direction of Major Graham has been employed
during the past season in making the following surveys, viz:

1. In prolonging the meridian of the monument at the source of the river
St. Croix.

2. In making a survey of the Little Madawaska River, a tributary to the
Aroostook, from its mouth to its source in the Madawaska Lakes.

3. In surveying the group of lakes lying northwest of the Madawaska
Lakes, known by the appellation of the Eagle Lakes, or sometimes by the
aboriginal one of the Cheaplawgan Lakes, and especially to ascertain if
those lakes, or any of them, emptied their waters into the river St.
John by any other outlet than Fish River.

4. A survey of the portion of Fish River included between the outlet of
Lake Winthrop and the river St. John.

5. A survey of the river St. John between the Grand Falls and the mouth
of the Alleguash.

6. A survey of the Alleguash from its mouth to its source.

7. A survey of the river St. Francis from its mouth to the outlet of
Lake St. Francis.

8. In making astronomical observations for the latitude and longitude of
the Grand Falls and the mouths of the Grand, the Green, Madawaska, Fish,
and St. Francis rivers.

Early in July a party under the direction of an officer of Topographical
Engineers was sent into the field and directed to occupy the most
northern astronomical station fixed the preceding year upon the true
meridian of the monument at the source of the river St. Croix, with the
view of being prepared to complete its trace to the northwest angle of
Nova Scotia before the termination of the season in case the pending
negotiations for a conventional boundary should fail.

The true meridian was in this way prolonged to a point 19 miles north
of the station alluded to of last year, or 13-1/2 miles north of its
intersection with the river St. John, reaching to the summit of the
height immediately south of Grand River, where a permanent station was
fixed. The point thus fixed is 90-3/4 miles north of the monument at
the source of the St. Croix.

This portion of the work was performed by the 15th of August, at which
period it was considered inexpedient to incur the expense of continuing
it any farther.

A party under the direction of another officer of Topographical
Engineers, which took the field also in July was charged with the
surveys of the Little Madawaska River, the Eagle or Cheaplawgan Lakes,
the portion of Fish River from the outlet of Lake Winthrop--one of the
Eagle group--to its debouche into the St. John, of the river St. John,
thence to the meridian of the source of the St. Croix, and finally of
the Alleguash from its mouth to its source.

The Little Madawaska was ascended in bateaux from its mouth to its
source, which is found in the Madawaska Lakes, and a trace of the river
was made by coursing with a compass and estimating the distances, which
were checked by astronomical observations for latitude and longitude.

The position of its mouth had been fixed by the surveys of the preceding
year, and observations for latitude and longitude were made at a point
intermediate between its mouth and its source and also at the junction
of the two lakes which form its source. The trace of the river was
corrected so as to agree with the results of these observations before
being laid down upon the map.

A portage of 5-1/4 miles was cut from the Madawaska to the Eagle Lakes,
which are only 4-3/4 miles apart in a direct line. The party transported
their baggage and boats by this portage and launched them on Lake
Sedgwick, the most southern and largest of the Eagle group.

This group, which is composed of the Winthrop, Sedgwick, Preble, Bear,
and Cleveland lakes, being all connected one with another by water
communications between them, was carefully surveyed by triangulating
them and coursing their shores with the chain and compass, except those
parts which were so straight as to render the work sufficiently accurate
by sketching those portions between consecutive points of triangulation
of no great distance apart. They were also sounded so far as to obtain
their general depths.

The survey was continued from the outlet of Lake Winthrop down Fish
River to its mouth, which was found to be the only outlet from this
group to the river St. John.

Lake Cleveland, the most northern and deepest of the group, was
connected in position with the river St. John at a point 2 miles below
the upper chapel of the Madawaska settlement, by a chained and coursed
line following the portage represented on the map 5-1/6 miles long.

The Alleguash was ascended in the month of October in bateaux and canoes
from its mouth to its source in Lake Telos, a distance of about 94
miles. The river and its lakes were coursed by a compass, the distances
estimated, and the projection resulting therefrom corrected before being
placed upon the map by means of astronomical observations at eight
intermediate points between its mouth and its source. The lakes were
triangulated by means of magnetic bearings as far as was practicable,
in order to obtain their widths and general contour. In the vicinity
of Chamberlain Lake use has also been made of a recent survey of Mr.
Parrott, a surveyor in the employ of the State of Maine, to whom we
acknowledge ourselves indebted for the aid which this portion of his
valuable labors furnished us.

Between the head of Lake Telos and Webster Pond, one of the sources
of the East Branch of the Penobscot, there is a portage of only 1 mile
and a half. This, together with a small cut or canal, made in 1841 to
connect the waters of Lake Telos with those of Webster Pond, enabled the
party which made this survey to proceed with their boats and baggage
down the Penobscot to Bangor, where they and their surplus stores were
disposed of.

A survey of the river St. John was made in the month of September with
the chain and compass from the mouth of Fish River to the intersection
of the meridian of the monument at the source of the St. Croix with the
St. John. This survey was afterwards extended eastward to the Grand
Falls, in order to connect with the astronomical station established
there, and westward to the mouth of the Alleguash, embracing a distance
of 87 miles. The islands were all surveyed, and the channels on either
side of them sounded.

The commissioner, having had other duties assigned him in reference
to the question of boundary, did not take the field in person until
September. Between the middle of that month and the middle of December
he was occupied in performing the field duties assigned him by the
Department of State.

The party conducted by him in person made the astronomical observations
for the determination of the latitude and longitude of the Grand Falls
of the St. John, and of the mouths of the Grand, Green, Madawaska, Fish,
and St. Francis rivers, all tributary to the St. John.

The same party also made a survey of the river St. Francis from its
mouth to the outlet of Lake St. Francis, a distance of 81 miles.

This river was coursed by means of a compass, and whenever the nature
of the shores would permit the distances from bend to bend were either
measured with a chain or paced. Through the greater part of the stream,
however, the impediments offered by the thick and small growth near the
shores rendered this degree of minuteness impracticable and a resort to
estimating the distances by the eye, well practiced by previous actual
measurements, became necessary.

Before putting the trace of the river thus derived upon the map it was
adjusted to correspond with the results of astronomical observations for
latitude and longitude at twelve intermediate points between its mouth
and the outlet of Lake St. Francis. Its three principal lakes, viz,
Pettiquaggamas, Petteiquaggamak, and Pohenagamook, were triangulated and
sounded as exhibited by the maps of detail yet to be handed in of the
operations of this division.

A profile of the river, exhibiting the slope of the country through
which it flows, was obtained by barometric observations made at fifteen
points between its mouth and the bridge where it is intersected by the
Grand portage road.

A connection was made with Long Lake, a tributary to Lake Temiscouata,
by a chained line from a point on the St. Francis 2 miles below the
mouth of Blue River to the western shore of Long Lake, by which it was
ascertained that the shore of this lake approached within 2-3/4 miles of
the river St. Francis.

The outlet of Lake Pohenagamook was reached in a distance of 49-3/4
miles from the mouth of the St. Francis following the sinuosities of the
river on the 18th of October.

A camp was established on the southwest shore of the lake at its outlet
for the purpose of making the necessary astronomical observations to
determine the latitude and longitude of this position. Ten days were
spent here for this object, out of which we had only three nights that
were favorable for observation. These were improved as far as possible,
and the results obtained, combined with those obtained by Captain
Talcott's parties on the Northwest and Southwest branches of the St.
John, have furnished the elements for laying down upon the general map
the straight lines which show the boundary as it is required to run
between the highlands and the river St. John under the treaty of 1842.
These furnish data for an accurate exhibition of the extent of territory
included by this portion of the boundary as fixed by that treaty.

The south shore of Lake Pohenagamook forms an angle of about 100 deg. with
the direction of the stream which flows from it, and marks with great
certainty the point at which, according to the late treaty, the straight
line is to be commenced in running the boundary southwestward to the
Northwest Branch of the river St. John.

The work of this division was connected with that of Captain Talcott's
division of the preceding year by noting the position of a common point
on the western shore of Lake Pohenagamook near its head.

The commissioner and his party reached the Grand portage, or British
military road, where it crosses the river St. Francis on the 2d of
November, and connected their work with that of Professor Renwick's
division of the preceding year at the bridge near Fournier's house.

Observations were also made at this bridge for the latitude and
longitude, when the weather was favorable, between the nights of the
2d and 5th of November, and a connection was made in longitude with
the meridian of Quebec by comparisons of the local time with three
chronometers transported from the first to the last mentioned place
between the 6th and 10th of November.

This comparison was repeated on the return of the commissioner by
observing again at the St. Francis bridge before mentioned on the night
of the 10th of December, with the thermometer ranging during these
observations from 11 to 15 deg. below zero of Fahrenheit's scale, there
being then near 4 feet of snow upon the ground. The commissioner then
proceeded by the Grand portage road, and the road which pursues the
margin of Temiscouata Lake and the valleys of the Madawaska and St. John
rivers, to the mouth of Green River, where on the night of the 12th of
December he again observed at the same point where his observations of
the 29th of September were made while ascending the St. John. These
completed, he proceeded to the Grand Falls, and on the 14th of December
discharged his party, which terminated his field duties for the season.

The distance surveyed along the new line of boundary by this division
the past season is--

1. Along the river St. John from the meridian of the
monument of the source of the St. Croix to the mouth
of the river St. Francis 71-1/2

2. Along the river St. Francis from its mouth to the
outlet of Lake Pohenagamook 49-3/4

Total 121-1/4


A map marked L squared, on a scale of 1:400,000, exhibiting the lines
respectively claimed by the two nations under the treaty of 1783, as
well as that adopted by the treaty of 1842, is herewith presented. By
reference thereto the operations of the several divisions during the
present and previous years will be better understood.

For a more particular view of the surveys and explorations made under
the direction of each of the commissioners, including descriptions of
the face of the country, navigation of streams, etc., the undersigned
respectfully refer to their respective narratives hereto appended, and
to the maps of detail deposited by each in the Department of State.

All which is respectfully submitted.




I.--_Operations during the year 1841_.

1. At as early a period as there was any probability of the country
being accessible two engineers were dispatched from the city of New York
for the purpose of exploring the Rimouski River. This had been crossed
by the commissioner late in the previous season. It had been ascertained
that it took its source much farther to the south than was represented
on any map, and that at its head would be the greatest difficulty in the
intended researches. It was, besides, considered necessary that skillful
boatmen and practiced woodsmen should be engaged in Canada. These it was
believed could be found in Quebec, and the chief of this detachment,
with an appointment as acting commissioner, was directed to perform this
duty on his route.

This detachment accordingly left New York on the 22d May. On reaching
Quebec it was found that the proper persons could only be engaged at
Trois Rivieres. A delay was thus occasioned before this part of the duty
could be performed. The detachment, however, reached Rimouski 4th June,
where the snow was still found upon the ground and the river barely fit
for the access of boats. No time had therefore been lost, and the
reconnoissance of the river was successfully performed. The detachment,
after passing all the establishments of lumberers, extended its
explorations beyond the remotest Indian paths, and leaving its boats
penetrated on foot several miles to the south of the highest point
of the stream in which boats could float. In this progress through
unexplored ground a lake wholly unknown was discovered. The results of
this expedition were embodied in a map, which on examination by parties
furnished with better means was found accurate.

It was found by this party that the Rimouski presented difficulties
which would forbid its ascent by a party provided with stores and
instruments for the prosecution of a survey along the height of land,
and that it would be impracticable even to make it the route of an
expedition to reach its own source. The little knowledge which was
possessed of its upper course and the fact that it had probably never
been explored even by Indian hunters were accounted for by its
difficulty of access, which would forbid the carriage of a sufficient
supply of provisions for consumption during its ascent and descent. On
other streams difficulties of this sort had been and were afterwards
overcome by the use of the bateaux of the Penobscot, of greater burthen
and strength than the birch canoes, but the continual repetition of
portages on the Rimouski forbade the use of any vessel heavier than the

2. The main body of engineers, etc., was ordered to assemble in New York
on the 15th May, for which time a vessel was chartered for the purpose
of conveying them, with stores sufficient for an expedition of five
months and the necessary instruments and camp equipage, to Metis, on the
St. Lawrence. The experience of the former season had shown that the
country was so poor as to furnish little for the support of a numerous
party, and it was believed that even game and fish would be found scarce
at the points where supplies would be most needed. It was therefore to
be chosen between laying in the supplies in New York or in Quebec, and
while the great advantage of conveying all the important instruments
by sea turned the scale in favor of the former place, it has been
ascertained that the decision was in other respects correct, for the
dangers and difficulties of navigating the St. Lawrence might have
frustrated altogether, and would certainly have materially delayed,
the commencement of the main survey.

The sailing of the vessel was delayed, in expectation of the arrival of
instruments from Europe, until the 30th of May, when a sufficient supply
for beginning the operations arrived.

In the meantime Mr. Lally, one of the first assistants, was directed to
proceed to Bangor, in Maine, for the purpose of procuring boats and men
to manage them. These were obtained and brought down the Penobscot to
Castine, where they were on the 8th June embarked in the vessel which
carried the rest of the party, and which had orders to call at that port
for the purpose. The experience of the previous year had manifested the
great superiority of the bateaux of the Penobscot over all other vessels
in the navigation of shallow and rapid rivers. The physical energy and
enterprise of the boatmen of that river had also been known. It was
believed that it was not only essential that a considerable proportion
of the laboring force should be American citizens, but that much good
would result from emulation between the boatmen of the Penobscot and the
Canadian voyageurs. This expectation was in a great degree confirmed by
the result, for although it must be stated with regret that it became
necessary at an early period to discharge some of the Americans,
the remainder were models of intelligence, sobriety, industry, and
perseverance, and entered into the work, not with the feelings of hired
laborers, but with those of men who felt that the interest of their
country was at stake.

3. The commissioner did not leave New York until 30th of June, being
delayed in expectation of more instruments. A part of these only
had arrived, but further delay might have been injurious. Proper
instructions had been given for setting the party in motion in case it
could be organized before he joined it, but these were rendered nugatory
by the length of the vessel's passage. This did not reach Metis till
7th July, so that the commissioner, arriving on the 9th, was in time
to direct the first operations in person. The stores, boats, and
instruments had been landed and partially carried to a camp on the river
above the falls. A heavy rain on the 10th July rendered the roads almost
impassable, and it was not till the morning of the 12th that the first
detachment could be embarked. This was comprised of Dr. O. Goodrich,
the assistant commissary, two surveyors, and an assistant engineer. The
first was in charge of stores sufficient for six weeks' consumption. The
surveyors had orders to survey the river for the purpose of connecting
it with the line of exploration, and the latter was directed to make
barometric observations. The commissioner and the remaining engineers
were detained at Metis by the necessary astronomic observations. These
being completed, the instruments, camp equipage, and a portion of the
stores were embarked, and the main body proceeded up the river about
noon on the 15th July.

4. The river was found to be still swollen by the melting of the snows
on the highlands near its source, and, being at all times rapid, the
progress of the party was attended both with difficulty and danger. One
of the birch canoes, although managed by a skillful voyageur, was twice
upset, and one of the heavily loaded bateaux filled with water in a
rapid. The result of the first accident was unimportant, except as
respected the personal comfort of one of the party, who lost his
clothing when it could not be replaced; the second accident caused the
loss of some valuable stores. A guide had been procured in the person of
a Canadian who was said to have acted in the same capacity to Captain
Broughton, who had descended the river by order of the commissioners
of Great Britain in 1840. So long as the services of the guide were
unimportant he was found intelligent and acquainted with the country,
but on passing beyond the region usually visited by lumbering parties
he manifested a very scanty knowledge. It had been the intention of the
commissioner to ascend to Lake Metis and thence proceed to the height of
land by an old portage said to have existed from that lake to the one
at the head of the Grande Fourche of the Restigouche, which had been
explored by the commissioner in 1840. Lake Metis was chosen because all
former accounts, and particularly those of the surveyors of the joint
commission under the fifth article of the treaty of Ghent, represented
this as the body of water seen to the northwest of the termination
of the exploring meridian line. The guide appeared to confirm this
impression, and held out inducements that led to the belief that he was
acquainted with the portage in question. The nearer, however, it was
approached the less seemed to be his confidence. When there appeared
to be some reason to doubt his competency or his will, a place in the
river was reached where it divided into two branches of nearly equal
magnitude. On inquiry from the guide it was ascertained that the
easternmost of these was the main Metis, the other the Mistigougeche
(Riviere au Foin). Although the latter appeared to be the most direct
course to the boundary, it was still believed, and nothing could be
learned from him to the contrary, that the former led to the termination
of the exploring meridian line. The party of Dr. Goodrich had gone up
the Metis, and it was necessary to communicate with it before any change
in plan could be made. The commissioner therefore entered the main
Metis, and in the evening overtook the surveyors, who had been unable
to keep the survey up with the progress of the boats. An express was
therefore sent forward to stop the boats, and, the party encamping,
astronomic observations were made for the solution of the difficulty in
which it appeared to be enveloped. A detachment was also sent out to
explore to the eastward of the Metis. This reached the Lake of the
Little Red River, and from its banks took bearings to what appeared to
be the greatest mountain of the country. This is known by the name of
Paganet, and lies to the southwest of Lake Matapediac, forming a part of
the highlands which are so obviously described as the boundary of the
Province of Quebec in the proclamation of 1763. Its height was reported
to be probably 3,000 feet, but as it has appeared in the course of the
survey that heights in that region may easily be overestimated, it
can not be safely taken at more than 2,500 feet. The result of the
astronomic observations seemed to show that the main stream would lead
too far to the eastward, and after mature deliberation it was resolved
that the course should be retraced and the Mistigougeche ascended. The
first part of the operation was attended with little delay. Half an hour
sufficed for reaching the forks, whence the party had been six hours in
mounting. The guide also stated that the Mistigougeche was a much less
difficult stream than Metis. Of the comparative facility, except for a
few miles of the latter, no opportunity for judging was obtained; but
these were so difficult as to confirm his statement. On the other hand,
the former was found to be much worse than it had been represented by
him. His knowledge, in fact, was limited to its state in winter, for
it appeared from a subsequent interview with Captain Broughton to be
doubtful whether he had served in the employ of that officer; and it can
be well imagined that the river when locked up in ice should present
an aspect of far less rapidity than when rushing with its springtide
violence. The Mistigougeche was found to be intercepted by a fall of a
few feet, which could not be passed by the boats when loaded, although
the Penobscot men boldly and successfully carried theirs up when empty,
in which feat they were imitated by the voyageurs, who had at first
deemed it impossible. The loads of the boats were carried over a
portage, and in this operation the chronometers were found to deviate
from each other, showing a manifest change of rate in some or all of
them. This may be ascribed to a change in the mode of transportation,
but was more than could be reasonably anticipated, considering the
shortness of the portage (2,000 yards) and the great care that was taken
in conveying them. At some distance above the falls a lake of moderate
size was reached, embosomed in hills and embarrassed at its upper end
with grass. From the last feature it was ascertained that both lake and
river take their epithet of Grassy (Riviere an Foin, and, in Indian,
of Mistigougeche, or Grassy Lake). At this lake the party of the
commissioner was in advance of the loaded boats. A halt was therefore
made and a party sent out to explore to the westward. This party reached
an eminence whence a lake was seen, which the guide stated to be the
head of a branch of the Rimouski, far distant, as he averred, from any
waters of the Restigouche. Subsequent examination has shown that this
party had actually reached the height of land and that the survey of the
boundary might have been advantageously commenced from this point.

On leaving the lake the river was found to have a gentle current for a
few miles. It was then interrupted by a bed of timber, after passing
which it became as rapid as ever. In a short time, however, a noble
sheet of water was reached, surrounded by lofty hills, and of great
depth. At the upper end of this a place was chosen for a stationary
camp, and preparations were made for proceeding to the land survey.
While these were going forward with as much dispatch as possible, Mr.
Lally, one of the first assistants, was detached to reconnoiter the
inlet of the lake. During his absence observations were taken and the
rates of the chronometers worked up. Of the four instruments with which
the expedition was furnished, two had varied from the other two on
the portage. All were of good reputation, and no means existed of
determining on which pair reliance could be placed. From the rates
of two of them it appeared that the camp was situated 12 miles to the
northwest of the tree chosen by the American surveyors in 1818 as
marking the northwest angle of Nova Scotia. Actual survey has shown that
the distance is about 10 miles. The result given by the chronometers was
speedily confirmed by the return of Mr. Lally, who reported that he had
actually reached the marked tree, well known to him by his visit to it
the year before, and that he had pursued for a couple of miles the line
cut out subsequently by Captain Broughton.

6. The preparations being completed, Messrs. H.B. Renwick and Lally were
sent out, each at the head of a sufficient party, with instructions to
proceed together to the west until they reached waters running to the
Restigouche and then to divide, Mr. Lally proceeding to the northwest
angle and Mr. Renwick toward Rimouski. Each was directed to pursue as
far as possible the height of land and to remain in the field as long
as the supplies which the men could carry would permit. They were also
ordered to mark their path in order to insure a safe return, as well as
all the stations of their barometric observations. Bach of the laborers
was loaded with 56 pounds besides his own baggage and ax, and the
engineers and surveyors carried their own baggage and instruments. The
commissioner, with one assistant, remained in the stationary camp for
the purpose of determining the longitude accurately and of making
corresponding barometric observations.

7. In this place it will be proper to state that the lake which was thus
reached was ascertained with certainty to be that seen by the surveyors
of the joint commission in 1818, and which was by them supposed to be
Lake Metis. As it has no name yet assigned to it, it has been called
upon our maps Lake Johnson, in honor of the American surveyor by whom it
was first visited. It is 1,007 feet above the level of the sea, being
more than twice as much as the total fall assigned to the waters of the
Metis in the report of Messrs. Mudge and Featherstonhaugh. So great an
elevation in so short a course is sufficient to account for the great
rapidity of the stream. To illustrate this rapidity in an obvious
manner, the birch canoes, which on the waters of the St. John are easily
managed by one man, are never intrusted on those of the Metis to less
than two. Our departure from Metis in boats so deeply loaded, as was
afterwards learned, was considered there as a desperate attempt, and
although but one of them sustained injury, this is to be ascribed to the
great skill of the boatmen; and to show the velocity of the stream in a
still stronger light, it is to be recollected that, after deducting the
loss of time on the Metis, nine days of incessant labor were spent in
taking up the loaded boats, while the assistant commissary whom it
became necessary to send to Metis left the stationary camp at 2 o'clock
in the morning of the 28th July and reached the mouth of the river
before sunset of the same day, after making two portages, one of 2,000
yards and the other of 2 miles.

8. The first day of the operations of Messrs. H.B. Renwick and Lally was
attended with an accident which had an injurious effect. The surveyor of
Mr. Lally's party, Mr. W.G. Waller, fell from a tree laid as a bridge
across a stream and lamed himself to such a degree as to be incapable
either of proceeding with the party or of returning to the stationary
camp. It became necessary, therefore, to leave him, with a man to attend
him, in the woods, and it was a week before he was sufficiently
recovered to be able to walk. Intelligence was immediately sent to the
commissioner, by whom the assistant he had retained in camp to aid in
astronomic observations was sent to take the place of the surveyor. Two
days were thus lost, and the intended astronomic observations were far
less numerous than they might have been with the aid of a competent

The two parties, proceeding together, reached Katawamkedgwick Lake. That
under the direction of Mr. H.B. Renwick immediately crossed it, while
that of Mr. Lally proceeded along the eastern bank for the purpose of
reaching the source of the stream. This being attained, the party of
Mr. L. pursued the height of land as nearly as possible and reached the
exploring meridian line. Crossing this, some progress was made to the
eastward, when a failure of provisions compelled a return to camp. The
party of Mr. H.B. Renwick, proceeding until the Rimouski was seen,
turned to the south and finally reached the southeasterly source of that
river, a point probably never before pressed by human foot, for it was
found to consist in a series of beaver ponds, in which that animal was
residing in communities and without any appearance of having been ever
disturbed. The low state of provisions in this instance also called the
party back, but not before every anticipated result had been obtained.

9. The party of Mr. H.B. Renwick having returned first, immediate
preparations were made for descending the stream. Before they were
completed Mr. Lally also came in, and both were assembled at Metis on
the 14th, whence the commissioner set out instantly for the river Du
Loup, which had been chosen as the base of further operations.

The circumstances of the operations up the Metis and Metis and
Mistigougeche had been upon the whole favorable. With the exception of
a single thundershower, no rain had been experienced; the country was
still sufficiently moist to insure a supply of water even upon the
ridges. The sun was observed daily for time and latitude, and the nights
admitted of observations of the pole star for latitude at almost every
camp. At the stationary camp, however, the mists rising from the lake
obscured the horizon and rendered the eclipses of Jupiter's satellites
invisible; nor was it possible to observe the only occultation of a star
which calculation rendered probable during the period in question. Much,
however, had been accomplished. A river little known had been carefully
surveyed some miles beyond its junction with a branch unheard of by
geographers. This branch had been explored, its course and length
determined; a path nearly coinciding with the boundary line for an
extent of 86 miles had been measured and leveled, and regions before
unseen visited. One accident of a serious character had occurred, and
one of the laboring men, although an _homme du nord_, seasoned in the
service of the Hudsons Bay Company, had been rendered unfit by fatigue
for further duty in the service; but with these exceptions the health
and strength of the party were unimpaired. All augured well for a speedy
and successful completion of the task in a manner as perfect as had been

10. Instructions had been transmitted to the commissary, as soon as it
was found that a portage to Katawamkedgwick and thence to Rimouski was
impracticable, to have a vessel ready at Metis to transport the stores
to the river Du Loup. One was in consequence chartered, but, being
neaped in the harbor of Rimouski, did not reach Metis till the 19th
August. When loaded, her sailing was delayed by an unfavorable wind, and
its continuance prevented her from reaching the river Du Loup before the
29th August. An entire week of very favorable weather was thus lost for
field operations, and it was not even possible to employ it to advantage
in observations, as all the chronometers but one and the larger
instruments, in order to expose them as little as possible to change of
rate or injury, had been forwarded from Metis in the vessel. With the
one chronometer and the reflecting repeating circle numerous
observations were, however, made for the latitude of the river Du Loup.

11. During the time the main body was engaged in ascending the Metis
and in the other operations which have been mentioned an engineer was
directed to proceed from Metis along the Kempt road for the purpose of
exploring along the dividing ridge between the waters of the Bay of
Chaleurs in the vicinity of Lake Matapediac and the St. Lawrence. This
line forms the continuation of that claimed by the United States, and
is important in its connection with the proclamation of 1763; but as it
falls without the ground which is the subject of dispute, it was not
considered necessary to survey it. The heights which could be reached
were therefore measured with the barometer, and the position of the
points at which the observations were taken referred to existing maps
without any attempt to correct their errors.

In the course of this reconnoissance an eminence 1,743 feet in height,
lying to the southeast of Lake Matapediac, was ascended. Thence was had
the view of a wide, open valley extending toward the southeast to the
Bay of Chaleurs and bounded on the northeast and southwest by highlands.
The former were pointed out by the guide as the Chic Choc Mountains, in
the district of Gaspe; the latter, it appeared beyond question, extended
to the Bay of Chaleurs, and strike it below the Matapediac. At the
latter place a party detached down the Restigouche in 1840 had measured
the height of Ben Lomond, a highland rising abruptly from the western
termination of the Bay of Chaleurs. and found it to be 1,024 feet. Thus
it appears beyond the possibility of doubt that a chain of eminences
well entitled to the name of highlands, both as dividing waters and
rising to the character of mountains, depart from "_the northern shore
of the Bay of Chaleurs at its western extremity_," bound the valley of
the Matapediac to the northeast, and, bending around the lake of that
name, separate its waters from those of the Metis. These are deeply cut
by valleys, whose direction appears from the map of the reconnoissance
and from the course of the tributary streams which occupy their lines
of maximum slope to run from southwest to northeast, or at right angles
to the general course of the highlands themselves. These highlands are
obviously those defined in the proclamation of 1763 and the commission
of Governor Wilmot.

12. As soon as the necessary instruments arrived from Metis at the river
Du Loup a party was detached to survey the Temiscouata portage, a line
known to be of great importance to the subsequent operations, but whose
interest has been increased from the unexpected frequency with which the
line dividing the waters touches or crosses it. Stores for a month's
service were transported with all possible dispatch to Lake Temiscouata,
along with the boats and camp equipage.

Two separate parties were now formed, the one to proceed up Temiscouata
Lake, the other to ascend the Tuladi. The embarkation of both was
completed at noon on the 4th September.

13. Mr. H.B. Renwick, with the party under his command, was directed
if possible to ascend the middle or main branch of Tuladi and form a
stationary camp at the highest point of that stream which could be
reached by boats.

Mr. Lally had orders to enter and follow the river Asherbish, which
enters Lake Temiscouata at its head, until the progress of his boats
should be interrupted. The first party was directed to operate in the
first place toward the west, the second toward the east, upon the height
of land until they should meet each other's marks. The party of Mr. H.B.
Renwick was directed, therefore, to proceed from the head of Tuladi and
reach if possible the head of Rimouski, thus forming a connection with
the line explored from the head of Mistigougeche; that of Mr. Lally to
proceed from the head of Asherbish along the height of land to the
Temiscouata portage. The commissary was then moved up with a large
amount of stores and halted on the summit of Mount Biort, to be within
reach of both the parties in case of a demand for new supplies, and to
receive them on their return.

14. The party of Mr. H.B. Renwick, having passed through Tuladi Lake,
entered the main stream of that name on the 5th September. The head of
it had been seen by that gentleman in September, 1840, and held out the
promise of abundance of water for navigation. This promise did not
fail, but it was found that the stream had probably never before been
ascended, and was therefore embarrassed with driftwood. After cutting
through several rafts with great labor, a place was reached where the
stream spread out to a great width over beds of gravel, and all further
progress in boats became impossible. It was therefore determined to fall
down the stream and ascend the western branch, well known under the
name of Abagusquash, and which had been fully explored in 1840. The
resolution to return was taken on the 6th, and on the evening of the
9th the beaver pond at the head of Abagusquash was reached; here a
stationary camp was established. One of the men had wounded himself with
an ax and three more were so ill as to be unfit for service. The numbers
were yet sufficient for short expeditions, and one was immediately
fitted out for the head of Tuladi with provisions to form a cache for
future operations. This expedition explored so much of the height of
land as would otherwise have been thrown out of the regular order in
consequence of the failure to ascend the main branch of Tuladi.

15. In the meantime Mr. Lally proceeded up Lake Temiscouata and entered
the Asherbish. This stream was also found very difficult, and on the
evening of the 7th no more than 7 miles had been accomplished on it.
At this point a stationary camp was fixed and a detachment sent out to
explore the neighborhood. On the 10th Mr. Lally set out to the eastward,
and struck the lower end of Abagusquash Lake on the afternoon of the
11th September. Being obviously too far to the south, he ascended that
stream and reached H.B. Renwick's camp on the evening of the 12th.
The next morning he proceeded to the height of land, and after twice
crossing it reached his stationary camp on Asherbish at noon on the
21st September.

On this expedition two out of three barometers were broken, and an
assistant was therefore sent to seek a fresh supply from the stores.

16. The expedition sent out by H.B. Renwick to the head of the Tuladi
returned on the 13th September. One of the men came in severely wounded,
and those left sick and wounded in camp were still unfit for service;
others also were taken sick. Of the laborers of the party, one-half were
thus lost for the present to the service. The engineer in command,
who had finished the observations for which he had remained in the
stationary camp, determined, therefore, to proceed to Mount Biort in
order to obtain men. Previous to his departure on the 15th September he
fitted out a second expedition with all the disposable strength for the
purpose of operating between the head of Tuladi and the point in the
height of land where Mr. Lally's line diverged to the southwest. The
newly engaged hands and the detachment on its return both reached the
camp on the Abagusquash on the 19th of September. On the 21st, all
arrangements having been completed, Mr. H.B. Renwick, leaving the
assistant commissary with only one man in the stationary camp, set off
toward the head of Rimouski. This course was pursued for six days, when
it became necessary to return for want of provisions, and the stationary
camp was reached on the 2d October. On this expedition the line of
exploration made in June up the Rimouski was intersected and the ground
traversed in July and August seen and connected with the survey, but
it was found impossible to penetrate along the height of land on the
western side of Rimouski to its head. On reaching the camp snow began
to fall, and the thermometer marked 18 deg. in the morning. All further
operations for the season in this direction were therefore at an end.
A portion of the line which divides the waters falling into the St.
John from those falling into the St. Lawrence remained in consequence
unsurveyed. It can not, however, be said to be absolutely unexplored,
for it was seen from the eastern side of Rimouski, presenting the
appearance of a range of hills at least as elevated as any on the

18. Mr. Lally having received a fresh supply of barometers on the
evening of the 23d, resumed his survey of the height of land on the 25th
September, and reached the camp of the commissary on Mount Biort on the
2d October, having surveyed and leveled the intermediate dividing ridge.
The party of H.B. Renwick descended the Abagusquash and Tuladi, and,
crossing Lake Temiscouata, reached the same rendezvous on the 5th
October. The interval was spent by Mr. Lally's party in clearing a space
for a panoramic view on the summit of Mount Biort.

19. The commissioner, having superintended in person the equipment and
embarkation of the parties of Messrs. H.B. Renwick and Lally on Lake
Temiscouata, returned to the river Du Loup for the purpose of making
astronomic observations. These being completed, he visited and conferred
with the parties of his colleague, A. Talcott, esq., on their way to the
height of land southeast of Kamouraska. Here he made arrangements for
the junction of the two lines on the Temiscouata portage. He then
proceeded to the camp of the commissary on Mount Biort, and there made
provision for the completion of the residue of the line in the vicinity
of the portage. He also selected points of view for the use of the
daguerreotype and camera lucida, and, being unable to do any more on the
ground for the furtherance of the objects of his appointment, returned
to New York, taking with him the earlier records of the field operations
for the purpose of organizing the office work.

20. Under the direction of Mr. H.B. Renwick, a party led by Mr. Lally
set off from Mount Biort on the 7th October, and, proceeding westward
along the portage road to the ridge of Mount Paradis, turned to the
south along the dividing ridge. This being pursued led them back to the
portage at a point about 21-1/2 miles from the river Du Loup on the
10th. The dividing ridge was now found for some distance to coincide
nearly with the portage road and to pass over the summit of the Grande
Fourche Mountain, a fact which had not before been suspected. The source
of the Grande Fourche of Trois Pistoles having been headed, the party
reached a station which the commissary had now established at the river
St. Francis on the 13th October. Departing from this, the basin of the
St. Francis to the north of the portage road was explored, and the
survey finished on the 17th October.

Operating from the St. Lawrence as a base, and within reach of a
cultivated country, whence numerous roads are cut to the height of
land, it would have been possible to have kept the field for perhaps a
fortnight longer. The plans and estimates of the division had been made
with this view, and it was anticipated that the height of land might
have been surveyed 30 miles to the south of the Temiscouata portage.
Although this would have been practicable, it would have been a service
of hardship. The necessity for this was obviated by the progress of the
parties of A. Talcott, esq., which completed their surveys up to the
portage on the same day that the surveys of this division were finished.

22. The circumstances under which the latter part of the survey was
performed from the time of leaving the river Du Loup, on the 3d
September, were far less favorable than had been experienced on the
Metis and its branches. The continual drought had at the beginning of
this part of the duty affected the streams and springs in such a way
as to render navigation difficult and water for drinking scarce on the
heights of land to which the survey was necessarily directed. On the
eastern side of Lake Temiscouata a large fire had extended itself into
the woods. On the Temiscouata portage the persons in charge of that road
had set fire to the brush and wood cut in opening it out to an increased
breadth, and a belt of flame 30 miles in length was at each change of
wind carried in some new direction into the dry forest. The camp and
collection of stores on Mount Biort were thus threatened for several
days, and only saved by great exertions. Serious apprehensions were
entertained lest the return of the parties in the field might be
obstructed by the spreading of their own fires. The smoke of this vast
extent of combustion obscured the heavens and rendered astronomic
observations difficult or prevented it altogether. Finally, a season of
unprecedented drought was closed on the 24th of September by the setting
in of the equinoctial storm, and from this day until that on which the
survey terminated few hours elapsed without rain, sleet, or snow. In
spite of these obstacles, it is believed that the State Department will
have no reason to be dissatisfied with the results of the campaign.

23. The results of the operations of this division are embodied in a map
and profiles, which are herewith presented. The degree of reliance to be
placed on this map will be best understood from a detail of the methods
employed in preparing it.

The river Metis and its branch, the Mistigougeche, were surveyed by an
azimuth compass of Smallcaldus construction, and the distances measured
by a micrometric telescope by Ertil, of Munich. The courses of the rest
of the lines were determined by compasses of similar construction, and
the distances measured by chains of 100 feet constructed by Dollond, of
London, and Brown, of New York. An exception to this general rule exists
in the survey of the eastern side of Rimouski. The courses and distances
thus measured, and corrected for the variation of the compass, were
compared with astronomic observations for latitude and with longitudes
deduced from chronometers. For this reason, as the line on the east side
of Rimouski is almost in the direction of the meridian, it was not
considered necessary to lose time in measuring it when the latitude of
the several camps, determined by observations of the pole star, were
taken nightly.

The latitudes of the courses under the direction of Mr. H.B. Renwick
were determined by a reflecting repeating circle of Dollond; those on
Mr. Lally's by a good sextant. The latitudes and times at Grand Metis,
the river Du Loup, and the stationary camp on Mistigougeche and
Abagusquash were principally determined from observations made with the
Dollond circle. Lunar transits were taken at the river Du Loup, and
distances of the moon for longitude at several places on the line. The
reliance for the longitudes was, however, principally upon timekeepers,
and of these the party was furnished with one box and two pocket
chronometers by Parkinson & Trodsham, one pocket chronometer by
Molyneux, one by French, one by Barraud, and one by Morrice. Thus, while
several could be retained at the station, each party in the field was
furnished with two, and the measured distance furnished a check, which,
in case of discrepancy, that on which greatest reliance could be placed
might be ascertained. It is sufficient to say that the deductions have
been in general satisfactory, although the rough motion to which
these instruments were subjected in passing through pathless woods,
embarrassed by fallen trees and morasses in which the bearers often
sunk to the middle, caused changes of rate and even sudden variations.
Uncertainty arising from these causes was rendered less to be dreaded
from its being possible to refer, as a base of operations, to the
excellent survey of the St. Lawrence River by Captain Byfield, of the
British navy. With the geographical positions given in his charts our
own observations agreed so closely as materially to confirm the
respective accuracy of both.

24. The point which in this part of the survey has been kept in view as
most important is the determination of the heights. For this purpose the
party of Professor Renwick was furnished with the following barometers:

Two loaned by the Superintendent of the Coast Survey, of his own
construction; two portable and one standard, by Neurnan; three of the
siphon form, by Buntin, of Paris; one by Traughton & Simms; one by
Forlin, of Paris; three of siphon form, by Roach & Warner, of New York;
two by Tagliabue, of New York, originally on the plan of Durand, but
which had been advantageously altered by Roach & Warner in such manner
as to admit of the adjustment of the level of the mercury in the

The stations at which the lower barometers were placed were Grand Metis
until the return of the expedition up the river of that name, and the
river Du Loup from that time until the close of the survey. At these
places all the barometers not actually in the field were suspended and
registered at the hours most likely to correspond with the observations
of a traveling party, say at 6, 7, 8, and 9 in the morning, noon, 1, 5,
and 6 in the afternoon, until as the season advanced and the days became
short the earliest and latest of these hours were omitted. Although
several barometers were thus constantly observed, no other use of these
was made but to determine their comparisons with each other, except one
of the barometers of Mr. Hassler, Superintendent of the Coast Survey.
This, from its superior simplicity, being, in fact, no more than the
original Tonicillean experiment, with a well-divided scale and
adjustment of its 0 deg. to the surface of the mercury in the cistern, was
found to be most certain in its results. All the barometers used by the
parties in the field were therefore reduced to this by their mean

The stations at the two above-mentioned places were near the St.
Lawrence. At Metis the height of the cistern of the standard barometer
was determined by a spirit level. At the river Du Loup the height of the
station was determined by two sets of observations of barometers, taken
with different instruments by different observers, and at an interval of
a week from each other. The results of the two several sets, which were
calculated separately, differ no more than 0.5 of a foot from each

On reaching the highest accessible points of the streams on which the
parties proceeded toward the height of land, stationary camps were
established, as has been already stated. At these series of observations
were made at the same hours as at the river stations. The height of
the former was then calculated from a series of observations taken at
noon and at 1 p.m. for the whole of the time the camp was occupied.
The heights of the points at which observations were made by the
traveling party were then deduced from a comparison with the nearest
contemporaneous observations at the stationary camp. An exception to
this rule was made in the observations to the westward of Temiscouata
Lake, which were referred directly to those made at the river Du Loup,
which was sufficiently near for the purpose.

The height of the stationary camp at Mount Biort having been determined
by observations continued for several days, the level of Lake
Temiscouata was thence determined by using a set of levels taken with a
theodolite by Breithaupt, of Cassel, in 1840. The height of the lake
thus deduced is greater than it would appear to be from the barometric
observations taken in December, 1840. It had been imagined that a
difference in level might exist between the St. Lawrence at Metis and
at the river Du Loup. Four days of contemporaneous observations were
therefore made at each with a view to the solution of this question.
The idea of a difference of level was not sustained by the operation.

The heights of the river stations were measured in each case to the
highest mark left by spring tides, and half the fall of that tide as
given by Captain Byfield has been added in all cases as a reduction to
the mean level of the sea. Opportunities were offered in a few instances
for testing the accuracy of the method by different barometers used by
different observers at different days on the same point. No discrepancy
greater than 7 feet has been thus discovered. In other cases the same
observer returned and observed at the same places, and here a similar
congruity of result has been found to exist.

The whole of the calculations have been made by the formulae and tables
of Bailey. Before adopting these their results were compared in one
or two instances with those of a more exact formula. The differences,
however, were found so small as to be of no importance, amounting in the
height of Lake Johnson to no more than 5 feet in 1,007. The original
record of the barometric observations, each verified by the initials of
the observer, have been deposited in the State Department.

25. The paths pursued by the traveling parties were marked by blazing
trees. The position of the barometer at each place of observation was
also marked. The operation was a search for the boundary line in an
unknown country, hence it rarely happened that the path of the parties
has pursued the exact dividing line of the waters of the St. Lawrence
and the Atlantic, but has been continually crossing it. The maps
herewith submitted and the marks by which the line of the survey has
been perpetuated would have enabled a party sent out for that especial
purpose to trace the boundary on the ground without difficulty other
than that arising from the inacessible character of the country.

26. The commissioner can not speak in too high terms of the industry and
perseverance manifested by the engineers and surveyors employed on this
division, and in particular of the skill and intelligence of the two
first assistants. Circumstances had prevented the receipt of portable
astronomic instruments which had been ordered from Paris and Munich, and
an instrument formed by the adaptation of a vertical circle to the lower
part of an excellent German theodolite by Draper, of Philadelphia, was
found on its being opened at Metis to have received an injury which
rendered its accuracy doubtful. The whole reliance for the greatest
accuracy was thus thrown on the repeating circle of Dollond. Such,
however, was the address and skill of the engineer to whom it was
intrusted that he not only fulfilled the object for which it was
intended, of determining the position of the points visited by the
traveling parties, but accomplished the same object at the stationary
camps and at the river stations, without delaying for an hour the
operations of the survey.

The duty which these gentlemen performed was arduous in the extreme. It
has been seen that on the expedition up the Metis a seasoned voyageur
had been worn out by the severity of his labors; on the Tuladi half the
men were sick at a time; and of Mr. Rally's party two Penobscot Indians
of herculean frame were compelled to return by extreme fatigue. The
engineers, while in the field, were even more exposed to fatigue than
the laborers, for they carried their own baggage and instruments, and
were engaged nightly in observation and calculation, while the workmen
could repose.

27. The commissioner to whom the survey of the northern division of the
boundary line was intrusted has to express his acknowledgments for the
politeness and good offices of the authorities of Her Britannic Majesty.
In compliance with his request, permission was granted by the late
lamented Governor-General for the admission of a vessel and the entry of
the stores, camp equipage, and instruments of the party at one or more
ports on the St. Lawrence. Letters were addressed by the principal
secretary of the colony of Canada to all the officers and magistrates,
directing them to give every facility to the operations, and these
directions were obeyed, not as mere matters of form, but with a truly
hospitable spirit. To the officers of the Sixty-eighth Regiment, forming
the garrison of Fort Ingall and occupying the post of the river Du Loup,
as well as to the officers of the commissariat on duty at those places,
acknowledgments are due for numerous attentions.

II.--_Operations of the year 1842_.

1. Of the task originally assigned in the instructions for this division
there remained to be completed--

(1) A portion of the boundary claimed by the United States around the
head waters of the river Rimouski.

(2) The line of highlands forming the south bounds of the Province of
Quebec, extending from the north shore of the Bay of Chaleurs at its
western extremity.

2. Experience had shown that the portion of the boundary which remained
unsurveyed could not be reached with any hope of completing the survey
by any of the streams running into the St. Lawrence nor from the waters
of Lake Temiscouata. The Green River (of St. John) was therefore chosen
as the line of operation. It was known that a portage existed between
its boatable waters and those of the Grande Fourche of Restigouche. The
plan for the work of the season was therefore laid as follows:

To proceed up Green River with a party, thence to cross to the Bell
Kedgwick by the portage, and having, by expeditions from the banks of
that stream, surveyed the remainder of the claimed boundary, to fall
down the stream to the Bay of Chaleurs, and, ascending the highland
measured in 1840, to proceed along the heights in order to reach if
possible the northwest angle of Nova Scotia.

The work being the most remote and difficult of access of any on the
whole boundary, it was necessary to take measures early, and, it being
apparent that if they were not vigorously pressed the whole summer's
work would be frustrated, permission was granted by the Secretary of
State to prepare stores and provisions, and the party was sent forward
toward its line of operations. Care was, however, taken, in conformity
with his instructions, to secure means of communication.

3. The transportation of stores, equipage, and instruments was rendered
unexpectedly easy by a steamboat running from Portland to St. John, and
by the politeness of the British consul at Portland and the collector of
Her Britannic Majesty's customs at St. John free entrance was permitted
at the latter port. These articles were shipped from Portland the 19th
of June and under the charge of the Hon. Albert Smith reached the Grand
Falls of St. John July ----.

4. Mr. Lally, first assistant engineer, with the surveyor, was
dispatched by the way of Bangor and Houlton to the same point of
rendezvous on 18th June for the purpose of procuring boats and engaging
laborers. Mr. H.B. Renwick, first assistant, with Mr. F. Smith, second
assistant, were placed in charge of the chronometers and the necessary
astronomic instruments, with instructions to observe on the meridian
of the St. Croix at Houlton, and again at its intersection with the
river St. John, for the purpose of ascertaining the rate taken by
the chronometers when carried. These preliminary operations being
successfully performed, the party was completely organized at the Grand
Falls of the St. John on the 2d July. The energy and activity of the
persons intrusted with these several duties was such that this date of
complete preparation for the field duties was at least a week earlier
than any calculation founded on the experience of former years rendered
probable. The commissioner, advised of the negotiation in progress, had
made his arrangements to reach the Grand Falls of the St. John on the
10th July. Being directed by the State Department to remain in New York,
he sent orders by mail to the party to halt until further instructions.

5. These orders were not received, for the party, being fully organized,
left the Grand Falls in three different detachments on the 4th, 6th,
and 8th of July. The first detachment was composed of the surveyor,
Mr. Bell, and an engineer having instructions to make a survey of Green
River. The second was in charge of the assistant commissary, and was
composed of three bateaux and fourteen pirogues, carrying stores and
equipage for three months' service. The third was formed by the two
first assistants, who, after performing the necessary astronomic
observations at the Grand Falls and at two points on Green River, passed
the surveying party and reached the portage between Green and Kedgwick
rivers on the evening of the 13th July.

6. Green River has a fall and rapids near its junction with the St.
John, which are passed by a portage of 1-1/2 miles. At 15 miles from its
mouth is a second fall, which is passed by a portage of 82 yards. The
stream for this distance and for 5 miles above the second fall is very
rapid, its bed being in some reaches almost filled with rocks. For the
next 10 miles it has deep still reaches, alternating with gravel beds,
or else the river flows over ledges of rock. It is then interrupted by a
third fall, requiring a portage of 176 yards. Thence to the second fork
of the lakes it has the same character as for the last 10 miles, except
that in some places it flows with a gentle current between low banks
covered with alder. From the second fork of the lakes to the southern
end of the Green River and Kedgwick portage the stream is very narrow
and may be styled one continuous rapid. It is upon the whole the most
difficult of navigation of all the streams running into the St. John
from its northern side, and approaches in its character of a torrent
to the waters on the St. Lawrence side of the highlands.

7. The portage from Green River to the South Branch of Kedgwick is 5-1/4
miles in length, and passes over the summits of two of the highest
mountains in the ceded district, as well as several ridges. No vessel
heavier than a birch canoe had ever before been carried over it. It
therefore became necessary to clear it out before the bateaux and other
heavy articles could be transported. Fifteen extra laborers, who had
been engaged, with their pirogues, to carry some of the stores from the
St. John, were retained to aid in making this portage, which swelled the
number to twenty-seven. This large force was industriously engaged for
eight days in carrying the stores and equipage over the portage, with
the boats and canoes required for the future operations of the party.
In the meantime the portage was surveyed, and a great number of
observations were made, by which the latitude of the southern end of the
portage and its difference in longitude from that of the meridian line
were determined with great accuracy. In addition to the other labors of
the party, a storehouse and observatory were erected.

8. The commissioner, learning that the party had left the Grand Falls
before his letter could have reached that place, addressed fresh orders
to the engineer in command. These were sent under cover to the British
postmaster at Lake Temiscouata, who was requested to send them up Green
River by an express. By these he was directed to stop the progress of
the party and to proceed himself to the river Du Loup, there to await
fresh instructions.

These orders did not arrive in time to prevent the party intended for
the survey of the boundary from setting out. The engineer who had
hitherto been in command returned to the St. John in pursuance of his
original instructions and met the express on his way down Green River.
The commissioner, being advised on the 13th July that the treaty had
been signed, immediately dispatched a special messenger, who joined the
chief of the division at the mouth of Green River on the 24th July.
Measures were now taken for the recall and return of the party in the
woods, and the whole division was assembled at the stationary camp at
the north end of the portage on the 11th of August.

9. The party engaged in the survey of the remaining part of the boundary
line had before the orders of recall reached them successfully
accomplished that duty, having connected their survey with points in the
survey of the previous year and thoroughly explored the culminating
points of the valley of Rimouski. As had been anticipated from the level
of the streams seen in 1841, this portion of the boundary claimed by the
United States is more elevated than any other portion of that line
between the Temiscouata portage and the northwest angle of Nova Scotia.
This survey would therefore have added an important link to the argument
of the United States had not the question been settled by treaty.

The party having received its orders of recall, all the articles of
equipment which could not be carried in the boats which had been
launched on the waters of the Restigouche were transported to the other
end of the portage and embarked in pirogues sent up Green River for that
purpose under the direction of the assistant commissary. The engineers
then set out on their return by the Bell Kedgwick, the Grande Fourche,
and the Southwest Branch of Restigouche. Ascending the latter stream,
this party reached the Wagansis portage on the 21st August, and arrived
at the Grand Falls on the 25th August.

The descent of the Bell Kedgwick was attended with great difficulties
in consequence of the low state of the waters. Until its junction with
Katawamkedgwick, to form the Grande Fourche of Restigouche, it was
necessary to drag the boats by hand.

10. The detailed map of the surveys of this division, exhibiting the
more important points whose altitudes were determined by the barometer,
has already been lodged in the Department of State under date of 27th

Although the interest of this survey to the United States has now passed
away, yet, as it is probable that many years may elapse before this
country shall be again explored, and as it may still possess some
interest to the nation into whose undisputed possession it has now
fallen, it may not be improper to state the methods employed in the
survey, for the purpose of showing to what degree of faith it is

The latitude and longitude of the mouth of Green River were furnished by
Major Graham. The three portages on that river were surveyed by chain
and compass. The courses on the navigable parts of the river were taken
with a compass and the distances measured by a micrometrical telescope
by Ertil, of Munich. This instrument, which had given satisfactory
results on Metis and Mistigougeche in 1841, was still more accurate
in the present survey. The latitude of the south end of the Kedgwick
portage as given by the plot of Green River on the original projection
differed no more than 5" from that given by numerous astronomic
observations, an agreement so close that it might be almost considered
as arising from happy accident. This survey therefore required but
little correction, which was applied from the observations already cited
and from those at two intermediate points.

The survey of Kedgwick portage was performed with chain and compass. In
the woods between the Bell Kedgwick and the boundary and along the whole
line of survey the same method was used, observations for time and
latitude being also taken whenever the weather permitted. As the lines
intersected those of the last year, it can now be stated that every part
of the boundary claimed by the United States, from the height of land on
the Temiscouata portage which divides the waters of the Green River of
the St. Lawrence from those of the St. Francis to the northwest angle of
Nova Scotia, as well as its connections with the St. Lawrence and Lake
Temiscouata by the Temiscouata portage, and with the St. Lawrence a
second time by the Metis and Mistigougeche, and with the St. John by
Green River, has been actually surveyed. This result is one that neither
the Department in its original instructions nor the commissioner on
his first view of the country had contemplated. In stating this the
commissioner feels it his duty to acknowledge his obligations to the
untiring zeal and energy of the gentlemen who have acted under his
orders, and especially to his two first assistants, who, entering upon
duties of an entirely novel character, not only to themselves, but
to the country, have in the course of the operations of two years
accumulated under the most disadvantageous circumstances a stock of
observations which for number and accuracy may compare with those taken
with every convenience at hand by the most practiced astronomers.

In addition to the latitude of numerous points determined astronomically
by the party engaged in surveying the line through the woods, the
latitude of a point near the southern end of Green River and Kedgwick
has been determined by eighty-six altitudes of sun and stars taken with
a repeating and reflecting circle.

The whole number of altitudes of sun and stars taken during the
expedition for time and latitude was 806.


1. The operations of this division during the three seasons which it has
been engaged in field duties have given a view of nearly every part of
the country which has now been ceded to Great Britain to the north of
the St. John River and the Temiscouata portage. During the year 1840
the commissioner proceeded in person by the wagansis of Grand River to
the waters of the Bay of Chaleurs, ascended the Grande Fourche of the
Restigouche to Lake Kedgwick, and then traversed the country from that
lake to the Tuladi by a route never before explored. In 1841 the
Rimouski and Metis were both ascended--the first to the limits of its
navigation by canoes, the latter to the lake in which the waters of its
western branch are first collected. From this lake lines of survey
repeatedly crossing the boundary claimed by the United States were
extended to a great distance in both directions. The operations of the
year were closed by a survey of so much of the boundary as incloses
the basin of Lake Temiscouata and intersects so frequently the great
portage. These latter surveys covered in some degree the explorations
of one of the parties in 1840, which, therefore, are not quoted as a
part of the work of that year. In 1842 the valley of Green River was
explored, that stream was carefully surveyed, and the remainder of the
boundary line dividing the sources of Rimouski from those of Green River
and the eastern branches of Tuladi run out with chain and compass.

In these surveys and explorations the character of the country, its
soil, climate, and natural productions, have been thoroughly examined,
and may be stated with full confidence in the accuracy of the facts.

2. Beginning on the southern side of the ceded territory, the left bank
of the St. John is for a few miles above the Grand Falls uncultivated
and apparently barren. Thence to the confluence of the Madawaska it
presents a continued settlement upon land of good quality, producing
large crops of potatoes and grass. It also yields wheat, oats, and
barley, but the crops are neither abundant nor certain. The Madawaska
River presents but few attempts at settlement on either of its banks.
Its left bank is represented to be generally barren, but some good
land is said to exist on its southwestern side. The shores of Lake
Temiscouata are either rocky or composed of a light, gravelly soil,
which is so poor that it will not repay the labor of cultivation, even
when newly cleared, without the aid of manure. Some tolerable meadows
are found, which are at the moment highly valued in consequence of a
demand for forage by the British troops. The valley of Green River has
in some places upon its banks intervals of level alluvium which might be
improved as meadows, and it has been represented as being in general
fertile. A close examination has not confirmed this impression.

Mr. Lally reports that--

"In the valley of Green River there are some tracts of land capable
of cultivation, but the greater portion of it is a hard, rocky soil,
covered with a growth of poplar and trees of that description. Some
of the most desirable spots for farms had been formerly taken up by
settlers from the Madawaska settlement, but although the land is as
good as that on the river St. John, they were obliged to abandon their
clearings on account of the early frosts and the black flies. It can
hardly be conceived that the latter would be a sufficient cause for
leaving valuable land to waste, but such is the fact, as I have been
informed by some of those who made the attempt to settle, and I can
well believe it from my own experience there."

3. The explorations of 1840, in which the ground lying between the
western sources of Green River and Squattuck, a branch of Tuladi, was
traversed, showed a considerable extent of better land than any other in
the ceded territory. The commissioner traveled for a part of two days
along a table-land of no great elevation, covered with rock, maple, and
a thick undergrowth of moosewood, both said to be signs of good soil;
of this there may be from seven to ten thousand acres, and it is a far
larger body of tillable land than is to be found in any other part of
the country north of the settlements on the St. John.

4. By far the greater portion of the territory in question is composed
of the highlands in which the streams that flow to the St. Lawrence and
the Atlantic take their rise. With but three exceptions no part of this
is less than 1,000 feet above the level of the sea. It is a perfect
labyrinth of small lakes, cedar and alder swamps, and ridges covered
with a thick but small growth of fir and spruce, or, more rarely, of
birch. No portion of it appears to be fit for tillage.

5. In respect to timber, it was found that the pine, the only tree
considered of any value, ceased to grow in rising from the St. Lawrence
at less than 1,000 feet above the level of the sea. Only one extensive
tract of pine was seen by any of the parties; this lies around the
sources of the St. Francis, and may cover three or four thousand acres.
This river, however, discharges itself from Lake St. Francis through a
bed of bowlders, and is sometimes wholly lost to the view. This tract,
therefore, although repeatedly examined by the proprietors of sawmills
on the St. Lawrence and the St. John, has been hitherto found
inaccessible. The pine timber on the seigniory of Temiscouata has been
in a great degree cut off or burnt by fires in the woods. There is still
some timber on the waters of Squattuck, but it has been diminished by
two or three years of active lumbering, while that around Tuladi, if it
were ever abundant, has disappeared. It would, however, appear from
report that on the waters of the North Branch of Restigouche to the
eastward of the exploring meridian there is some valuable timber. This
is the only portion of the district which has not been explored.

6. As to the valley of Green River, the engineer who has already been
quoted reports as follows:

"This river has had the reputation of having on it large quantities of
pine timber, but as far as I have been able to judge it is small and
rather sparsely scattered along the slopes of the ridges. Above the
third falls of the river, which are rather more than 30 miles from its
mouth, there is scarcely any to be seen. Some of the Madawaska settlers,
who have explored nearly every tributary of the river, report that there
is good timber on some of them. Judging from the language that they used
in relation to some that I saw myself, I infer that what they call good
would not be so considered by the lumbermen of the Penobscot. The people
who lumber in this vicinity do it on a small scale when compared with
the operators in Maine. They rarely use more than two horses to draw
their lumber to the stream, so that a tract which would not afford more
than a month's work to an extensive operator would keep one of these
people employed for years."

7. As respects climate, the country would be considered unfit for
habitation by those accustomed to the climates even of the southern
parts of Maine and of New Hampshire. Frosts continue on the St. John
until late in May, and set in early in September. In 1840 ice was found
on the Grand River on the 12th of that month, and snow fell in the first
week of October on Lake Temiscouata. In the highland region during the
last week of July, although the thermometer rose above 80 deg., and was once
above 90 deg., white frost was formed every clear night. Upon the whole,
therefore, it may be concluded that there is little in this country
calculated to attract either settlers or speculators in lumber. The
former were driven to it under circumstances of peculiar hardship and
of almost paramount necessity. Their industry and perseverance under
adverse circumstances is remarkable, but they would have been hardly
able to overcome them had not the very question of the disputed boundary
led to an expenditure of considerable money among them.


[Footnote 93: Pocket veto.]

WASHINGTON, _December 14, 1842_.

_To the House of Representatives_:

Two bills were presented to me at the last session of Congress, which
originated in the House of Representatives, neither of which was signed
by me; and both having been presented within ten days of the close of
the session, neither has become a law.

The first of these was a bill entitled "An act to repeal the proviso of
the sixth section of the act entitled 'An act to appropriate the
proceeds of the sales of the public lands and to grant preemption
rights,' approved September 4, 1841."

This bill was presented to me on Tuesday, the 30th August, at
twenty-four minutes after 4 o'clock in the afternoon. For my opinions
relative to the provisions contained in this bill it is only necessary
that I should refer to previous communications made by me to the House
of Representatives.

The other bill was entitled "An act regulating the taking of testimony
in cases of contested elections, and for other purposes." This bill was
presented to me at a quarter past 1 o'clock on Wednesday, the 31st day
of August. The two Houses, by concurrent vote, had already agreed to
terminate the session by adjournment at 2 o'clock on that day--that is
to say, within three-quarters of an hour from the time the bill was
placed in my hands. It was a bill containing twenty-seven sections, and,
I need not say, of an important nature.

On its presentment to me its reading was immediately commenced, but was
interrupted by so many communications from the Senate and so many other
causes operating at the last hour of the session that it was impossible
to read the bill understandingly and with proper deliberation before the
hour fixed for the adjournment of the two Houses; and this, I presume,
is a sufficient reason for neither signing the bill nor returning it
with my objections.

The seventeenth joint rule of the two Houses of Congress declares
that "no bill or resolution that shall have passed the House of
Representatives and the Senate shall be presented to the President of
the United States for his approbation on the last day of the session."

This rule was evidently designed to give to the President a reasonable
opportunity of perusing important acts of Congress and giving them some
degree of consideration before signing or returning the same.

It is true that the two Houses have been in the habit of suspending this
rule toward the close of the session in relation to particular bills,
and it appears by the printed Journal that by concurrent votes of the
two Houses passed on the last day of the session the rule was agreed to
be suspended so far as the same should relate to all such bills as
should have been passed by the two Houses at 1 o'clock on that day. It
is exceedingly to be regretted that a necessity should ever exist for
such suspension in the case of bills of great importance, and therefore
demanding careful consideration.

As the bill has failed under the provisions of the Constitution to
become a law, I abstain from expressing any opinions upon its several
provisions, keeping myself wholly uncommitted as to my ultimate action
on any similar measure should the House think proper to originate it
_de novo_, except so far as my opinion of the unqualified power of
each House to decide for itself upon the elections, returns, and
qualifications of its own members has been expressed by me in a paper
lodged in the Department of State at the time of signing an act entitled
"An act for the apportionment of Representatives among the several
States according to the Sixth Census," approved June 22, 1842, a copy
of which is in possession of the House.



WASHINGTON, _December, 1843_.

_To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States_:

If any people ever had cause to render up thanks to the Supreme Being
for parental care and protection extended to them in all the trials
and difficulties to which they have been from time to time exposed, we
certainly are that people. From the first settlement of our forefathers
on this continent, through the dangers attendant upon the occupation
of a savage wilderness, through a long period of colonial dependence,
through the War of the Revolution, in the wisdom which led to the
adoption of the existing forms of republican government, in the hazards
incident to a war subsequently waged with one of the most powerful
nations of the earth, in the increase of our population, in the spread
of the arts and sciences, and in the strength and durability conferred
on political institutions emanating from the people and sustained by
their will, the superintendence of an overruling Providence has been
plainly visible. As preparatory, therefore, to entering once more upon
the high duties of legislation, it becomes us humbly to acknowledge
our dependence upon Him as our guide and protector and to implore a
continuance of His parental watchfulness over our beloved country. We
have new cause for the expression of our gratitude in the preservation
of the health of our fellow-citizens, with some partial and local
exceptions, during the past season, for the abundance with which the
earth has yielded up its fruits to the labors of the husbandman, for the
renewed activity which has been imparted to commerce, for the revival of
trade in all its departments, for the increased rewards attendant on
the exercise of the mechanic arts, for the continued growth of our
population and the rapidly reviving prosperity of the whole country.
I shall be permitted to exchange congratulations with you, gentlemen of
the two Houses of Congress, on these auspicious circumstances, and to
assure you in advance of my ready disposition to concur with you in the
adoption of all such measures as shall be calculated to increase the
happiness of our constituents and to advance the glory of our common

Since the last adjournment of Congress the Executive has relaxed no
effort to render indestructible the relations of amity which so happily
exist between the United States and other countries. The treaty lately
concluded with Great Britain has tended greatly to increase the good
understanding which a reciprocity of interests is calculated to
encourage, and it is most ardently to be hoped that nothing may
transpire to interrupt the relations of amity which it is so obviously
the policy of both nations to cultivate. A question of much importance
still remains to be adjusted between them. The territorial limits of the
two countries in relation to what is commonly known as the Oregon
Territory still remain in dispute. The United States would be at all
times indisposed to aggrandize itself at the expense of any other
nation; but while they would be restrained by principles of honor, which
should govern the conduct of nations as well as that of individuals,
from setting up a demand for territory which does not belong to them,
they would as unwillingly consent to a surrender of their rights. After
the most rigid and, as far as practicable, unbiased examination of the
subject, the United States have always contended that their rights
appertain to the entire region of country lying on the Pacific and
embraced within 42 deg. and 54 deg. 40' of north latitude. This claim being
controverted by Great Britain, those who have preceded the present
Executive--actuated, no doubt, by an earnest desire to adjust the matter
upon terms mutually satisfactory to both countries--have caused to be
submitted to the British Government propositions for settlement and
final adjustment, which, however, have not proved heretofore acceptable
to it. Our minister at London has, under instructions, again brought the
subject to the consideration of that Government, and while nothing will
be done to compromit the rights or honor of the United States, every
proper expedient will be resorted to in order to bring the negotiation
now in the progress of resumption to a speedy and happy termination. In
the meantime it is proper to remark that many of our citizens are either
already established in the Territory or are on their way thither for the
purpose of forming permanent settlements, while others are preparing
to follow; and in view of these facts I must repeat the recommendation
contained in previous messages for the establishment of military posts
at such places on the line of travel as will furnish security and
protection to our hardy adventurers against hostile tribes of Indians
inhabiting those extensive regions. Our laws should also follow them, so
modified as the circumstances of the case may seem to require. Under the
influence of our free system of government new republics are destined
to spring up at no distant day on the shores of the Pacific similar
in policy and in feeling to those existing on this side of the Rocky
Mountains, and giving a wider and more extensive spread to the
principles of civil and religious liberty.

I am happy to inform you that the cases which have from time to time
arisen of the detention of American vessels by British cruisers on the
coast of Africa under pretense of being engaged in the slave trade have
been placed in a fair train of adjustment. In the case of the _William
and Francis_ full satisfaction will be allowed. In the cases of the
_Tygris_ and _Seamew_ the British Government admits that satisfaction
is due. In the case of the _Jones_ the sum accruing from the sale
of that vessel and cargo will be paid to the owners, while I can not
but flatter myself that full indemnification will be allowed for all
damages sustained by the detention of the vessel; and in the case of the
_Douglas_ Her Majesty's Government has expressed its determination to
make indemnification. Strong hopes are therefore entertained that most,
if not all, of these cases will be speedily adjusted. No new cases have
arisen since the ratification of the treaty of Washington, and it is
confidently anticipated that the slave trade, under the operation of
the eighth article of that treaty, will be altogether suppressed.

The occasional interruption experienced by our fellow-citizens engaged
in the fisheries on the neighboring coast of Nova Scotia has not failed
to claim the attention of the Executive. Representations upon this
subject have been made, but as yet no definitive answer to those
representations has been received from the British Government.

Two other subjects of comparatively minor importance, but nevertheless
of too much consequence to be neglected, remain still to be adjusted
between the two countries. By the treaty between the United States and
Great Britain of July, 1815, it is provided that no higher duties shall
be levied in either country on articles imported from the other than on
the same articles imported from any other place. In 1836 rough rice by
act of Parliament was admitted from the coast of Africa into Great
Britain on the payment of a duty of 1 penny a quarter, while the same
article from all other countries, including the United States, was
subjected to the payment of a duty of 20 shillings a quarter. Our
minister at London has from time to time brought this subject to the
attention of the British Government, but so far without success. He is
instructed to renew his representations upon it.

Some years since a claim was preferred against the British Government on
the part of certain American merchants for the return of export duties
paid by them on shipments of woolen goods to the United States after the
duty on similar articles exported to other countries had been repealed,
and consequently in contravention of the commercial convention between
the two nations securing to us equality in such cases. The principle on
which the claim rests has long since been virtually admitted by Great
Britain, but obstacles to a settlement have from time to time been
interposed, so that a large portion of the amount claimed has not yet
been refunded. Our minister is now engaged in the prosecution of the
claim, and I can not but persuade myself that the British Government
will no longer delay its adjustment.

I am happy to be able to say that nothing has occurred to disturb in any
degree the relations of amity which exist between the United States and
France, Austria, and Russia, as well as with the other powers of Europe,
since the adjournment of Congress. Spain has been agitated with internal
convulsions for many years, from the effects of which, it is hoped, she
is destined speedily to recover, when, under a more liberal system of
commercial policy on her part, our trade with her may again fill its old
and, so far as her continental possessions are concerned, its almost
forsaken channels, thereby adding to the mutual prosperity of the two

The Germanic Association of Customs and Commerce, which since its
establishment in 1833 has been steadily growing in power and importance,
and consists at this time of more than twenty German States, and
embraces a population of 27,000,000 people united for all the purposes
of commercial intercourse with each other and with foreign states,
offers to the latter the most valuable exchanges on principles more
liberal than are offered in the fiscal system of any other European
power. From its origin the importance of the German union has never been
lost sight of by the United States. The industry, morality, and other
valuable qualities of the German nation have always been well known and
appreciated. On this subject I invite the attention of Congress to the
report of the Secretary of State, from which it will be seen that while
our cotton is admitted free of duty and the duty on rice has been much
reduced (which has already led to a greatly increased consumption),
a strong disposition has been recently evinced by that great body to
reduce, upon certain conditions, their present duty upon tobacco. This
being the first intimation of a concession on this interesting subject
ever made by any European power, I can not but regard it as well
calculated to remove the only impediment which has so far existed to
the most liberal commercial intercourse between us and them. In this
view our minister at Berlin, who has heretofore industriously pursued
the subject, has been instructed to enter upon the negotiation of a
commercial treaty, which, while it will open new advantages to the
agricultural interests of the United States and a more free and expanded
field for commercial operations, will affect injuriously no existing
interest of the Union. Should the negotiation be crowned with success,
its results will be communicated to both Houses of Congress.

I communicate herewith certain dispatches received from our minister at
Mexico, and also a correspondence which has recently occurred between
the envoy from that Republic and the Secretary of State. It must but be
regarded as not a little extraordinary that the Government of Mexico,
in anticipation of a public discussion (which it has been pleased to
infer from newspaper publications as likely to take place in Congress,
relating to the annexation of Texas to the United States), should have
so far anticipated the result of such discussion as to have announced
its determination to visit any such anticipated decision by a formal
declaration of war against the United States. If designed to prevent
Congress from introducing that question as a fit subject for its calm
deliberation and final judgment, the Executive has no reason to doubt
that it will entirely fail of its object. The representatives of a brave
and patriotic people will suffer no apprehension of future consequences
to embarrass them in the course of their proposed deliberations, nor
will the executive department of the Government fail for any such cause
to discharge its whole duty to the country.

The war which has existed for so long a time between Mexico and Texas
has since the battle of San Jacinto consisted for the most part of
predatory incursions, which, while they have been attended with much of
suffering to individuals and have kept the borders of the two countries
in a state of constant alarm, have failed to approach to any definitive
result. Mexico has fitted out no formidable armament by land or by sea
for the subjugation of Texas. Eight years have now elapsed since Texas
declared her independence of Mexico, and during that time she has been
recognized as a sovereign power by several of the principal civilized
states. Mexico, nevertheless, perseveres in her plans of reconquest, and
refuses to recognize her independence. The predatory incursions to which
I have alluded have been attended in one instance with the breaking up
of the courts of justice, by the seizing upon the persons of the judges,
jury, and officers of the court and dragging them along with unarmed,
and therefore noncombatant, citizens into a cruel and oppressive
bondage, thus leaving crime to go unpunished and immorality to pass
unreproved. A border warfare is evermore to be deprecated, and over such
a war as has existed for so many years between these two States humanity
has had great cause to lament. Nor is such a condition of things to be
deplored only because of the individual suffering attendant upon it. The
effects are far more extensive. The Creator of the Universe has given
man the earth for his resting place and its fruits for his subsistence.
Whatever, therefore, shall make the first or any part of it a scene of
desolation affects injuriously his heritage and may be regarded as a
general calamity. Wars may sometimes be necessary, but all nations have
a common interest in bringing them speedily to a close. The United
States have an immediate interest in seeing an end put to the state of
hostilities existing between Mexico and Texas. They are our neighbors,
of the same continent, with whom we are not only desirous of cultivating
the relations of amity, but of the most extended commercial intercourse,
and to practice all the rites of a neighborhood hospitality. Our own
interests are involved in the matter, since, however neutral may be our


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