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In a word, the argument of Lord Salisbury on this point is based upon a geographical impossibility.
But, if there could be any doubt left as to what coast and to what waters Mr. Middleton referred, an analysis of the last paragraph of the 4th Protocol will dispel that doubt. When Mr. Middleton declared that “the United States have exercised navigation in the seas, and commerce upon the coasts above mentioned, from the time of their independence," he makes the same declaration that had been previously made by Mr. Adams. That declaration could only refer to the north-west coast as I have described it, or as Mr. Middleton phrases it," the Continent of America between the 50th and 60th degrees of north latitude."
Even his Lordship would not dispute the fact that it was upon this coast and in the waters washing it that the United States and Great Britain had exercised free navigation and commerce continuously since 1784. By no possibility could that navigation and commerce have been in the Behring Sea. Mr. Middleton, a close student of history, and experienced in diplomacy, could not have declared that the United States had exercised navigation " in the Bebring Sea, and “ commerce upon its coasts,” from the time of their independence. As a matter of history, there was no trade and no navigation (except the navigation of explorers) by the United States and Great Britain in the Bebring Sea in 1784, or even at the time these Treaties were negotiated. Captain Cook's voyage of exploration and discovery through the waters of that sea was completed at the close of the year 1778, and his “Voyage to the Pacific Ocean " was not published in London until five years after his death, which occurred at the Sandwich Islands on the 14th February, 1779. The Pribyloff Islands were first discovered, one in 1786 and the other in 1787. Seals were taken there for a few years afterwards by the Lebedef Company of Russia, subsequently consolidated into the Russian-American Company; but the taking of seals on those islands was then discontinued by the Russians until 1803, when it was resumed by the Russian-American Company.
At the time these Treaties were negotiated there was only one Settlement, and that of Russians, on the shores of the Behring Sea, and the only trading vessels which had entered that sea were the vessels of the Russian Fur Company. Exploring expeditions bad, of course, entered. It is evident, therefore, without further statement, that neither the vessels of the United States nor of Great Britain nor of any other Power than Russia had traded on the shores of Bebring Sea prior to the negotiations of these Treaties. No more convincing proof could be adduced that these Treaties had reference solely to the waters and coasts of the continent south of the Alaskan
Peninsula—simply the “ Pacific Ocean" and the “north-west coast” bamed in the Treaties.
Article III of the British Treaty, as printed in the British State Papers, is as follows:
[See Vol. XII, page 39.] It will be observed that this Article explicitly delimits the boundary between British America and the Russian possessions. This deliinitation is in minute detail from 54° 40' to the northern terminus of the coast known as the north-west coast. When the boundary-line reaches that point (opposite 60° north latitude) where it intersects the 141st degree of west longitude, all particularity of description ceases. From that point it is projected directly northward for 600 or 700 miles without any reference to coast-line, without any reference to points of discovery or occupation (for there were none in that interior country), but simply on a longitudinal line as far north as the Frozen or Arctic Ocean.
What more striking interpretation of the Treaty could there be than this boundary-line itself ? It could not be clearer if the British negotiators had been recorded as saying to the Russian negotiators :
“ Here is the north-west coast to which we have disputed your claims-from the 51st to the 60th degree of north latitude. We will not, in any event, admit your right south of 54° 40'. From 54° 40' to the point of junction with the 141st degree of west longitude we will agree to your possession of the coast. That will cover the dispute between ,us. As to the body of the continent above the point of intersection, at the 141st degree of longitude, we know nothing, nor do you. It is a vast unexplored wilderness. We have no Settlements there, and you have none. We have, therefore, no conflicting interests with your Government. The simplest division of that territory is to accept the prolongation of the 141st degree of longitude to the Arctic Ocean as the boundary : east of it the territory shall be British ; west of it the territory shall be Russian.”
And it was so finally settled.
(See Vol. XII, page 40.] The evident design of this Article was to make certain and definite the boundary-line along the line of coast, should there be any doubt as to that line as laid down in Article III. It provided that the boundary.line, following the windings of the coast, should Dever be more than ten marine leagues therefrom. (1890-91. LXXXII.]
Article V of the Treaty between Great Britain and Russia reads
[See Vol. XII, page 41.]
The plain meaning of this Article is that neither party shall make Settlements within the limits assigned by Articles III and IV to the possession of the other. Consequently, Articles III and IV are of supreme importance as making the actual delimitations between the two countries, and forbidding each to form any establishments within the limits of the other. Article VI of Russia's Treaty with Great Britain is as follows:
[See Vol. XII, page 41.] The meaning of this Article is rot obscure. The subjects of Great Britain, whether arriving from the interior of the continent
from the ocean, shall enjoy the right of navigating freely all the rivers and streams which, in their course to the Pacific Ocean, may cross the line of demarcation upon the line of coast described in Article III. As is plainly apparent, the coast referred to in Article III is the coast south of the point of junction already described. Nothing is clearer than the reason for this provision. A strip of land, at no point wider than ten marine leagues, running along the Pacific Ocean from 54° 40' to 60° (320 miles by geographical line, by the windings of the coast three times that distance), was assigned to Russia by Article III. Directly to the east of this strip of land—or, as might be said, behind it-lay the British possessions. To shut out the inhabitants of the British possessions from the sea by this strip of land, would have been not only unreasorable, but intolerable to Great Britain. Russia promptly conceded the privilege, and gave to Great Britain the right of navigating all rivers crossing that strip of land from 54° 40' to the point of intersection with the 141st degree of longitude. Without this concession the Treaty could not have been made. I do not understand that Lord Salisbury dissents from this obvious construction of Article VI, for in his despatch he says that the Article has a "restricted bearing,” and refers only to "the line of coast described in Article III” (the italics are his own), and the only line of coast described in Article III is the coast from 54° 40' to 60°. There is no description of the coast above that point stretching along the Behring Sea from latitude 60° to the Straits of Behring.
Article VJI of the Anglo-Russian Treaty, whose provisions have led to the principal contention between the United States and Great Britain, is as follows:
[See Vol. XII, page 41.]
In the judgment of the President the meaning of this Article is altogether plain and clear. It provides that for the space of ten years the vessels of the two Powers should mutually be at liberty to frequent all the inland seas, &c., "on the coast mentioned in Article III, for the purpose of fishing and trading with the natives." Following out the line of my argument and the language of the Article, I have already maintained that this privilege could only refer to the coast from 54° 40' to the point of intersection with the 141st degree of west longitude; that, therefore, British subjects were not granted the right of frequenting the Behring Sea.
Denying this construction, Lord Salisbury says :
"I must further dissent from Mr. Blaine's interpretation of Article VII of the latter Treaty (British). That Article gives to the vessels of the two Powers 'liberty to frequent all the inland seas, gulfs, havens, and creeks on the coasts mentioned in Article III, for the purpose of fishing and of trading with the natives.' The espression 'coast mentioned in Article III' can only refer to the first words of the Article, the line of deroarcation between the possessions of the High Contracting Parties upon the coast of the continent and the islands of America to the north-west shall be drawn,' &c., that is to say, it included all the possessions of the two Powers on the north-west coast of America. For there would have been no sense whatever in stipulating that Russian vessels should have freedom of access to the small portion of coast which, by a later part of the Article, is to belong to Russia. And, as bearing on this point, it will be noticed that Article VI, which has a more restricted bearing, speaks only of the subjects of His Britannic Majesty' and of the line of coast described in Article III.?”
It is curious to note the embarrassing intricacies of his Lordship's language and the erroneous assumption upon which his argument is based. He admits that the privileges granted in Article VI to the subjects of Great Britain are limited to "the coast described in Article III of the Treaty.” But when he reaches Article VII, where the privileges granted are limited to "the coast mentioned in Article III of the Treaty,” his Lordship maintains that the two references do not mean the same coast at all. The coast described in Article III and the coast mentioned in Article III are, therefore, in his Lordship’s judgment, entirely different. The "coast described in Article III” is limited, he admits, by the intersection of the boundary-line with the 141st degree of longitude, but the "coast mentioned in Article III” stretches to the Straits of Behring.
Article III is, indeed, a very plain one, and its meaning cannot be obscured. Observe that the “line of demarcntion” is between the possessions of both parties on the coast of the continent. Great
Britain had no possessions on the coast-line above the point of junction with the 141st degree, nor had she any Settlements above 60° north latitude. South of 60° north latitude was the only place where Great Britain had possessions on the coast-line. North of that point her territory had no connection whatever with the coast either of the Pacific Ocean or the Bebring Sea. It is thus evident that the only coast referred to in Article III was this strip of land south of 60° or 59° 30'.
The preamble closes by saying that the line of demarcatiou between the possessions on the coast "shall be drawn in the manner following,” viz.: From Prince of Wales Island, in 54° 40', along Portland Channel and the summit of the mountains parallel to the coast as far as their intersection with the 141st degree of longitude After having described this line of demarcation between the possessions of both Parties on the coast, the remaining sentence of the Article shows that, "finally, from the said point of intersection, the said meridian-line . . . . shall form the limit between the Russian and British possessions on the Continent of America." South of the point of intersection the Article describes a line of demarcation between possessions on the coast ; north of that point of intersection the Article designates a meridian-line as the limit between possessions on the coniinent. The argument of Lord Salisbury appears to this Government not only to contradict the obvious meaning of Articles VII and III, but to destroy their logical connection with the other Articles. In fact, Lord Salisbury's attempt to make two coasts out of the one coast referred to in Article III is not only out of harmony with the plain provisions of the Anglo-Russian Treaty, but is inconsistent with the preceding part of his own argument.
These five Articles in the British Treaty (III, IV, V, VI, and VII) are expressed with an exactness of meaning which no argument can change or perrert. In a later part of my note I shall be able, I think, to explain why the Russian Government elaborated the Treaty with Great Britain with greater precision and at greater length than was employed in framing the Treaty with the United States. It will be remembered that between the two Treaties there was an interval of more than ten months—the Treaty with the United States being negotiated in April 1824, and that with Great Britain in February 1825. During that interval something occurred which made Russia more careful and more exacting in her negotiations with Great Britain than she had been with the United States. What was it ?
It is only necessary to quote Articles III and IV of the American Treaty to prove that less attention was given to their