Report from Commissioners in reference to claims for loss of Land occasioned by the Line run under the Treaty of Washington.

Fredericton, 19th February, 1848.

May it Please Your Excellency,

Our attention having been called by Your Excellency to the claims of Francis Watson and others, settled near the Boundary Line between the Monument and the Maduxnikik River, we have now the honor to state to Your Excellency, that in January last, we proceeded to the vicinity of the Boundary Line, after having notified the parties interested, and received the statements of Francis Watson and eleven others, who claimed compensation for losses sustained by them in consequence of the Line of demarkation between this Province and the United States of America, established by the Treaty of Washington in 1842, which they stated, deprived them of certain portions of their allotments held under Grants from the Government of this Province.

After receiving the claims of these persons, in order to ascertain the correctness of them, as well as the extent of individual loss, we furnished Mr. Garden, Deputy Surveyor, with instructions to make the necessary Survey, which he has completed, and a plan of which is herewith enclosed. In addition however to the information furnished by Mr. Garden, we have introduced into his sketch the relative position of the several Grants, coloured blue, shewing how they are affected by the present Boundary Line.

As Francis Watson and Patrick Daley, two of the claimants, informed us of their having been compelled to employ Mr. Hodgson, an Attorney residing at Houlton, in the State of Maine, to defend actions of ejectments brought against them by the proprietors of Townships in Maine, for the property they held on the American side of the Line, as cut out under the direction of the Boundary Commissioners in 1843; we called upon Mr Hodgson for information respecting the rights of the proprietors of these Townships to the land in possession of the different claimants, which he very politely gave us; but as we considered it essential that it should be in writing, for the information of the Government, we requested that Gentleman to favor us with a written statement of the facts, which he forwarded to us shortly after our return to Fredericton, and which we have now the honor to transmit to Your Excellency.

We also transmit herewith, a Statement shewing the names of the persons in possession of several Lots affected by the Boundary Line, the number of acres mentioned in the Grants under which they claim, and the loss which each one will sustain by having his possession limited by the Boundary Line.

We have, &c.


His Excellency, Sir. W. M. G. Colebrooke, &c., &c., &c.

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Report from Commissioners in reference to claims for loss of land occasioned by the line run under the Treaty of Washington
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New Brunswick. Commission Appointed to Inquire into Claims for Loss of Land Under the Treaty of Washington.
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Report from the Commission in Reference to Claims for Loss of Land Occasioned by the Line Run Under the Treaty of Washington

New Brunswick. Commission to Appointed to Inquire in to Claims for Loss of Land Under the Treaty of Washington.
John Simpson, Printer to the Queen 1848 Print copy consulted: University of New Brunswick Libraries.
Note: In: New Brunswick. House of Assembly. Journals of the House of Assembly of the Province of New Brunswick, 1848, Appendix, p. cix-cx.
Note: See also Annex to the report, and correspondence relating to the work of the Commission.    Prepared by the University of New Brunswick Libraries, in partnership with the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Legislative Library under contract for SchoolNet, with the assistance of the University of New Brunswick Libraries Electronic Text Centre.

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    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."


    J. A. MacLauchlan
    Sir John Campbell Allen

    Résumé: Rapport de la Commission relativement à des réclamations pour perte de terrains occasionnée par la ligne établie en vertu du Traité de Washington, 1848

       En 1842, le Traité de Washington, également connu sous le nom de Traité Webster-Ashburton: traité pour régler et délimiter les frontières entre les territoires des États-Unis et les possessions de sa Majesté britannique en Amérique du Nord, était signé par les États-Unis et la Grande-Bretagne. Comme le sous-titre l'indique, l'un des buts du traité était de régler les différends relatifs aux frontières entre les colonies de l'Angleterre en Amérique du Nord et les États-Unis, l'une de ces frontières étant celle qui sépare le Nouveau-Brunswick et le Maine .

       J. A. MacLaughlan et John C. Allen ont été nommés pour siéger à la Commission créée en 1847 pour enquêter sur les plaintes de Francis Watson et onze autres. Selon les allégations des plaignants, ils avaient perdu, en raison de ce traité, d'importantes parcelles de terre dans la région faisant l'objet du litige, et ils demandaient une indemnisation.

       Le rapport de la Commission était très bref, et il n'est arrivé à aucune conclusion et n'a fourni aucune recommandation spécifique. Toutefois, il comportait de nombreux documents relativement à la situation, y compris la description des terres faisant partie du litige, et de la correspondance entre les hauts fonctionnaires des gouvernements américain et britannique.

       Au moment de la publication du rapport, la possibilité d'un règlement satisfaisant des douze plaintes était très faible. Les personnes concernée ont dû procéder à une poursuite judiciaire et faire appel aux services d'un avocat du Maine, John Hodgson. Son pessimisme au sujet des chances pour les plaignants de récupérer leur perte se résume dans cette observation qu'il a lui-même formulée: "Je ne vois aucune possibilité de présenter une défense fructueuse, et à moins d'avis contraire, je ne porterai pas cette affaire devant la Cour suprême."

    J. A. MacLauchlan
    Sir John Campbell Allen