« PreviousContinue »
immediate cause of the rejection by Massachusetts of the proposal, was the refusal on the part of the State of Maine, to communicate to the State of Massachusetts certain private correspondence relating to this matter, in the possession of the State of Maine, the nature of which private correspondence may be conjectured with tolerable certainty.
PROCEEDINGS OF THE STATES OF MAINE AND MASSACHUSETTS,
BETWEEN THE PERIOD OF THE CONVENTION OF 1827 AND THE RESOLUTION OF THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES REJECTING THE AWARD OF THE KING OF THE NETHERLANDS.
In the year 1827 discussions and correspondence took place between the General Government and the State of Maine, respecting the reference then made, or about to be made, to the King of the Netherlands; and a protest was in that year made by the State of Maine against the General Government assuming the right, under the Constitution, to cede or transfer any portion of the territory of any State; and the General Government was reminded that the State of Maine had already declared their views of the Convention of 1827, the authority of which they never admitted, and that they should not consider themselves bound by any decision under it. (Correspondence, &c. No. 5.)
On the 24th February, 1832, a message was delivered by the Governor of Maine to the House of Representatives of that State, informing them that he had been given to understand that the award of the Arbiter would be eventually adopted by the
General Government, and that it had been proposed that Maine should cede to the United States the claim to the territory which lies northward and eastward of the line recommended by the Arbiter for an ample indemnity, in order that the General Government might make such arrangement with Great Britain as should comport with the interests of the United States. The Governor therefore submitted to the Legislature the expediency of authorizing their Agent at Washington to make an arrangement for an indemnity with the General Government, which would relieve their relations with Great Britain from much embarrassment, and put an end to those collisions with the British authorities, which, if continued, must inevitably prevent the settlement of the territory, and endanger the peace of the nation. It was declared by the Governor that it was the decided and unanimous opinion of the Agent at Washington and of the delegation of the State in Congress, that such an arrangement should be made, by which the State would be amply remunerated in a pecuniary point of view for the loss to be sustained ; and the principle would not be abandoned, in which the State had contended that the United States and the General Government have not the constitutional power to alienate any portion of the territory of a State without its consent. It was at the same time recommended by the Governor, that the State of Massachusetts should be invited to unite in the proposed arrangement. The whole territory of the State of Maine was formerly a part of Massachusetts, which purchased, in the year 1674, the grant of Charles I. of the province or county of Maine to Fernando Gorges ; and that State, by the Act of Separation, claimed the fee simple of a moiety of the wild lands; but the residue, and the entire sovereignty and jurisdiction, were vested in Maine, which was admitted into the Union on the 15th of March, 1820, having been thus constituted a separate State by a cession of a part of Massachusetts.
The Legislature of Maine promptly acceded to the measure recommended by their Governor; but the Legislature of Massachusetts declined to cooperate, as the Governor of Maine refused to communicate some confidential letters received from their Agent at Washington. (Correspondence, &c., No. 40, pp. 66 and 67.)
In the year 1832 the Legislature of the State of Maine passed several resolutions with reference to the decision of the King of the Netherlands upon the north-eastern boundary; and appointed Mr. Preble, who had then recently returned from Holland, to present them to the Senate of the United States. Mr. Preble proceeded forthwith to Washington, where he remained for some time, charged by the State of Maine to protect their interests respecting the boundary between that State and New Brunswick. The proceedings of the secret session of the Council and House of Representatives of Maine, were subsequently disclosed to the public; and it appears that an agreement had taken place, subscribing, under certain conditions, to the decision of the King of the Netherlands.
Those conditions, as given in the Maine newspapers, were, that Commissioners on the part of the United States and on the part of the State of Maine were to be appointed, in order to negociate as to the indemnity to be given by the former to the latter, for the loss which she alleged she would suffer by her acceptance of the Netherland arbitration ;-that the result of this commission was to be laid before the Legislature for their acceptance or rejection. The result of all these proceedings was, as has been already stated, the refusal of the Senate of the United States to recommend to the President to acquiesce in the decision of the King of the Netherlands.