The Crisis of 1830-1842 in Canadian-American Relations

By Albert B. Corey | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XI
THE WEBSTER ASHBURTON TREATY

BOUNDARIES

BY 1842 a comprehensive settlement of outstanding disputes between Great Britain and the United States was badly needed. Since 1783 it had been impossible for the two countries to come to an agreement over the northeastern boundary, which included not only the boundary between Maine and New Brunswick but also the line from the head of the Connecticut River to the St. Lawrence. Navigation rights on the St. Lawrence had not been determined in the case of all parts of the river where it formed the international boundary. The line from Lake Superior to the Lake of the Woods had never been agreed upon. Since 1807 there had been no means of securing a mutual extradition of criminals. The diplomatic impasse over the Caroline had never been resolved. There had developed a sharp controversy over the African slave trade, over visit and search, and over impressment The status of the Oregon territory from thirty-two degrees to fifty- four degrees forty minutes remained to be settled.

By one of those fortuitous circumstances, relatively infrequent in the history of modern national states, in 1841, there came into power in both Washington and London governments which were kindly disposed toward liquidating by agreement all sources of conflict between them. The faltering Melbourne and the truculent Palmerston gave way to the more energetic Peel and the conciliatory Aberdeen, while the cautious Van Buren and the Anglophobe Forsyth were replaced by the more forceful Tyler and the Anglophile Webster. Under these circumstances, on December 27 Edward Everett, who had replaced the inept Andrew Stevenson as minister at the Court of St. James was informed by Aberdeen that Alexander Baring, Viscount Ashburton, would proceed to Washington in the spring to enter into negotiations, unhampered by minute and restrictive instructions, for the settlement of all controversies between the two countries. The following month Webster wrote that Ashburton would meet with a

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The Crisis of 1830-1842 in Canadian-American Relations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Introduction ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Contents xv
  • Maps xvi
  • Abbreviations xvii
  • Chapter I - The Setting: Countries and Peoples 1
  • Chapter II - Before the Rebellions 7
  • Chapter III - The Border in Ferment 27
  • Chapter IV - Curbing the Patriots 44
  • Chapter V - Rise of the Secret Societies 70
  • Chapter VI - Crosscurrents of Opinion 82
  • Chapter VII - Military and Naval Problems: Policy and Practice 102
  • Chapter VIII - The Hunters Try Again 113
  • Chapter IX - The Mcleod Case 130
  • Chapter X - National Defense 146
  • Chapter XI - The Webster Ashburton Treaty 158
  • Conclusion 183
  • Bibliography 185
  • Index 193
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