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Webster Ashburton Treaty Notes

NOTE 1

[Her Britannic Minister Plenipotentiary on Special Mission to the Secretary of State]

WASHINGTON 9th August 1842

SIR, It appears desirable that some explanation between us should be recorded by correspondence respecting the fifth Article of the Treaty signed by us this day for the settlement of Boundaries between Great Britain and the United States.

By that Article of the Treaty it is stipulated, that certain payments shall be made by the Government of the United States to the States of Maine and Massachusetts. It has of course been understood that my negotiations have been with the Government of the United States, and the introduction of terms of agreement between the General Government and the States would have been irregular and inadmissible, if it had not been deemed expedient to bring the whole of these transactions within the purview of the Treaty. There may not be wanting analogous cases to justify this proceeding, but it seems proper that I should have confirmed by you, that my Government incurs no responsibility for these engagements, of the precise nature and object of which I am uninformed, nor have I considered it necessary to make enquiry concerning them.

I beg, Sir, to renew to you the assurances of my high consideration

ASHBURTON

The Honble DANIEL WEBSTER

&c &c &c

____________________

NOTE 2

[The Secretary of State to Her Britannic Majesty Minister Plenipotentiary on Special Mission]

DEPARTMENT OF STATE,

Washington, Augt. 9, 1842.

Lord ASHBURTON,

&c, &c, &c

MY LORD: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note of the 9th of August, with respect to the object and intention of the 5tb article of the treaty. What you say in regard to that subject is quite correct. It purports to contain no stipulation on the part of Great Britain, nor is any responsibility supposed to be incurred by it, on the part of your Government.

I renew, my Lord, the assurance of my distinguished consideration.

DANL WEBSTER.

____________________

NOTE 3

[Her Britanic Majesty’s Minister Plenipotentiary or Special Mission, to the Secretary of State]

WASHINGTON 9th August 1842

SIR, By the 3rd article of the Convention which I have this day signed with you there is an agreement for the reciprocal delivery in certain cases of criminals fugitive from justice, but it becomes necessary that I should apprise you that this article can have no legal effect within the Dominions of Great Britain until confirmed by Act of Parliament. It is possible that Parliament may not be in Session before the Exchange of the ratifications of the Convention, but its sanction shall be asked at the earliest possible period and no doubt can be entertained that it will be given. In Her Majesty’s territories in Canada, where cases for acting under this convention are likely to be of more frequent occurrence, the Governor General has sufficient power under the authority of local legislation, and the Convention will there be acted upon, so soon as its ratification shall be known, but it becomes my duty to inform you of the short delay which may possibly intervene in giving full effect to it where the confirmation by Parliament becomes necessary for its execution.

I beg, Sir, to renew to you the assurance of my high consideration

ASHBURTON

The Honble DANIEL WEBSTER

&c &c &c

Source: Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America. Edited by Hunter Miller, Volume 4, Documents 80-121 : 1836-1846. Washington. Government Printing Office. 1934.

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