Abstract: Report from Commission in Reference to Claims for Loss of Land
Occasioned by the Line Run Under the Treaty of Washington, 1848
In 1842, the Treaty of Washington, also known as the Webster-Ashburton Treaty: Treaty to Settle and Define the Boundaries between
the Territories of the United States and the Possessions of Her Britannic Majesty in North
America, was signed by the United States and Great Britain. As the subtitle suggests,
one of the Treaty's purposes was to settle boundary disputes between Britain's North American
colonies and the United States, one of which was the border between New Brunswick and Maine.
J. A. MacLaughlan and John C.
Allen were appointed to the Commission struck in 1847 to investigate the complaints of
Francis Watson and eleven others. The complainants contended
that as a result of this Treaty, they had lost significant parcels of land in the disputed region and
were petitioning for compensation.
The report of the Commission was very brief and neither reached any conclusion nor
contained specific recommendations. However, it did include significant background
documentation, including descriptions of the lands in dispute and the correspondence between
high ranking officials of the American and British governments.
With the publication of the report, the possibility of a satisfactory resolution for the twelve
complainants was very bleak. They were forced to resort to a court action and hired the services
of a Maine lawyer, John Hodgson. His pessimism about the
complainants' chances of recouping losses was summed up in his statement: "I see no prospect of
making a successful defence, and unless advised to the contrary, I shall not take carry the case to
the Supreme Court."
Sir John Campbell Allen